The Turnbull Government has reappointed the board of Australia’s independent national quality assurance and regulatory agency for higher education.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said Chief Commissioner Professor Nicholas Saunders AO, Dr Linley Martin and Professor Clifford Walsh have had their terms at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) extended.

“I am very pleased to announce the reappointment of Professor Saunders AO for a term of three years, Dr Martin as a part-time Commissioner for a term of two years, and Professor Walsh as a part-time Commissioner for a term of four years,” Minister Birmingham said.

“TEQSA plays a critical role in safeguarding student interests and the reputation of Australia’s higher education sector.

“Since 2014, the three Commissioners have ensured providers are held to the highest quality standards while also assisting in the transition to the updated Higher Education Standards Framework, providing outstanding support for Australia’s international education sector and tackling important issues including first year student attrition rates.

“I know they will continue to make sure that the few providers who do the wrong thing are held to account and don’t give the rest of the sector – who overwhelmingly provide high quality, excellent, outstanding education – a bad name.”

Minister Birmingham said in the year ahead TEQSA would play an ongoing role in monitoring threats to academic integrity, in particular the availability of contract cheating services and overseeing provider’s responses to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s report on sexual assault and sexual harassment at Australian universities.

“They will also oversee the sector’s response to improving admissions transparency, following the Turnbull Government’s acceptance of the recommendations of the Higher Education Standards Panel report,” Minister Birmingham said.

“To ensure continuity and stability within TEQSA the Turnbull Government has staggered the appointment durations of the Commissioner’s.

“I thank the Commissioners for their service so far and look forward to continuing to work with them on these and other challenges faced by the sector in the years ahead.”

Professor Nick Saunders AO (Chief Commissioner)
• Professor Saunders was previously Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Bond University, after retiring as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle.
• Professor Saunders holds a medical degree with first class honours from the University of Sydney and has been influential in the advancement of medical education and research.
• His other senior academic roles include: Dean of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University (1998-2003); Head of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Dean of Medicine, Flinders University (1993-1998); Professor of Medicine at the University of Newcastle (1983-1993); and positions at McMaster University, Canada and Harvard University, USA.

Emeritus Professor Cliff Walsh (part-time Commissioner)
• After completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics at the London School of Economics, Emeritus Professor Walsh initially came to Australia in 1969 as a PhD Scholar at the Australian National University. His subsequent career-track has been as an academic economist and public policy analyst.
• Professor Walsh has held professorial appointments at the University of Adelaide and the Australian National University and visiting appointments at universities in Canada, the USA and the UK.

Dr Linley Martin (part-time Commissioner)
• Dr Martin was the Head of University Services and Vice-Principal (Major Projects) at the University of Melbourne, where she had also held the position of Vice Principal and Academic Registrar.
• Dr Martin was Vice President and Council Secretary at Deakin University and has held other senior positions at the University of New South Wales, RMIT University, Flinders University and the University of South Australia.