Pro Vice-Chancellor (Educational Partnerships and Quality)

Dr Nicolene Murdoch

Nicolene Murdoch commenced her career in higher education at her alma mater, the University of Johannesburg in 2000. Whilst completing her Masters in Adult Education, she worked as a graduate assistant administering student satisfaction and teaching evaluation surveys. This was a key step in igniting her passion for higher education and quality improvement. She progressed over the last almost 20 years from a graduate assistant to lecturer and executive, and recently obtained her doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

She was subsequently recruited to Monash South Africa (MSA), where she worked for almost 12 years. The campus was founded and established by Monash University (Go8) in 2001. It grew from about 200 students when she joined, to over 4000 when she left in 2016. She served MSA in various roles, the last two years as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Her career at MSA provided her with extensive experience managing all aspects of campus life, educational provision from foundation studies, through to internationally recognized degrees and Higher Degrees by Research (HDRs). She also gained extensive experience about the Australian regulatory context, with the challenging task of adhering to both the South African and Australian accreditation requirements, ensuring compliance across different jurisdictions.

Laureate International Universities acquired 75% share of the MSA campus in 2013 and extended this to be the sole shareholder by 2015. This introduced Nicolene to a vibrant, innovative, multinational education company and extended her international higher education management experience beyond South Africa and Australia. She was responsible for 2 rounds of extensive pre-acquisition due diligence and all governance and reporting requirements of a publicly listed company, achieving commercial success and driving quality educational outcomes. She was inducted into the Laureate network in Paris, Turkey and Spain.

After spending more than 15 years in a very vibrant and challenging South African higher education environment, she took on a new challenge for her own professional and personal growth. Laureate afforded her the opportunity to relocate to Sydney in May 2016. She initially held the position of Director (Product Management), guiding innovative course development across the brand entities in Australia and New Zealand.

After a few months in Australia, she was promoted to the role of Program Director of a global Laureate project, responsible for the new Student Information System (SIS) Banner implementation, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and to rethink the digital experience of Laureate students across the network. The systems roll-out was aligned with an extensive process alignment exercise called E2G – Enrolment to Graduation – focusing on the student lifecycle and ensuring a seamless user experience, a quality learning experience and connecting with students on various mobile platforms. She was then promoted to Vice President (Student Administration).

She commenced as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Western Sydney University, The College in July 2018. The College is a wholly owned entity of the University providing high-quality academic pathway programs, complemented by English language courses and proficiency testing, as well as offering a suite of vocational programs to students and clients through its RTO.

After four years at The College, she has now taken up the position of Pro Vice Chancellor, Educational Partnership and Quality (EPQ) at Western Sydney University within the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. As PVC EPQ, she provides high-level advice and counsel to the University’s Senior Executive and will contribute to Western Sydney University’s success by enhancing the suite of quality educational products and lead the implementation of a new whole-of-university approach to Program Quality. The portfolio also provides strategic support for Schools and the essential governance oversight required over our expanding suite of local and international third-party providers and educational partners.