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Our people

Embedding cultural competence nationwide

Meet our team of academic leaders and professional staff changing the cultural competence agenda at the University and beyond.

Dr Jennifer Barrett


Professor Jennifer Barrett

Professor Jennifer Barrett is Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous (Academic) (PVC-I) and Director of the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC). Professor Barrett is of Dunghutti heritage from the Macleay River region in northern NSW and has worked in various roles in the University of Sydney since 2000, becoming Professor of Museum and Heritage Studies in January 2020, and serving as the Director of the University’s Culture Strategy, and Pro Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS).

Core to her professional history has been involvement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, colleagues and leaders, in teaching, research, external engagement and leadership roles in the arts and cultural sectors. Professor Barrett’s work supports the development of protocols, repatriation issues, and contribute to a comprehensive approach to curriculum.

Assistant Director and Education Lead

Associate Professor Gabrielle Russell

Associate Professor Gabrielle Russell leads the Centre’s work in progressing a deeper understanding of the theory and practice of cultural competence and has been instrumental in creating effective resources and research to cultivate cultural competence at the personal and organisational level.

Associate Professor Russell undertakes multi-disciplinary research which explores how to develop cultural competence from diverse perspectives and positions and how to facilitate a deeper and sustainable understanding and practice of individual, systemic, and organisational leadership, and transformative change.



Academic staff

Academic Facilitator

Amy McHugh Cole is an Academic Facilitator and Lecturer for the National Centre for Cultural Competence. Working towards her PhD in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning through the University at Buffalo, Amy also teaches intercultural communication online for the State University of New York at Oswego.

Amy brings her years of teaching experience and research in the area of Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) and its effects on cultural competence to the NCCC. She is interested in how technology and motivation play a role in our ongoing journey towards cultural competence.

Academic Facilitator

Dr Matthew Tyne is an  Academic Facilitator at the National Centre for Cultural Competence (NCCC). He comes to cultural competence following 20 years of working in international community development, especially in South East Asia and the Pacific, and sexual health promotion with diverse communities in Australia. 

He previously worked at the NCCC as a project officer. He has recently completed his PhD, a performance ethnography that investigates how gay men in Colombo, Sri Lanka, might use theatre as a mode of advocacy and site of discussion for issues important to them.

Professional staff

Business Program Manager

Erin is the Business Program Manager at the National Centre for Cultural Competence and works across the NCCC and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Strategy and Services portfolio. Erin supports University strategic efforts towards commercialising the NCCC and related intellectual property.

She brings a wealth of experience in the areas of finance and program management from the faculties within the University. Erin seeks to develop, deliver, and advise to position the NCCC as a leading provider of cultural competence education and research with industry partners.

Through her work she plays a part in reframing the cultural narrative of Australia including coordinating the implementation and delivery of activities and tasks in order to meet established milestones and deliverables. She also works collaboratively with the portfolio on the One Sydney, Many People strategy.

Senior Administration Officer

Nadia is the Senior Administration Officer with the National Centre for Cultural Competence, working across the team to manage administrative support for the centre. Prior to joining the NCCC, Nadia worked across various portfolios at the University of Sydney, as well as in the not-for-profit sector.

Nadia has long been passionate about social justice and human rights, and she is keen to support and grow the important work being done at the NCCC. She is looking forward to continuing her professional development and is proud to work in an environment that fosters real change.

Senior Administration Officer

Viv is an Executive Assistant and part of the Executive Administration Team within the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Indigenous Strategy and Services portfolio. She provides professional executive support and administration services to Professor Jennifer Barrett in her dual roles as Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous (Academic) (PVC-I) and Director of the National Centre for Cultural Competence.  

Viv has worked in the university sector for over 20 years, primarily supporting senior leaders at the University of Sydney and Western Sydney University. She has comprehensive administrative experience and is passionate about her role. She wholeheartedly believes in working collaboratively and congenially to support the whole team. 

Header image: Gadi tree and University of Sydney logo (by Iman Irannejad).