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Senior Management Committee

Professor Robert Somerville AM, FAIM
Chief Executive Officer

Professor Robert Somerville AM, FAIM was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (Director) of Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education on the 02 February 2015. Prior to joining BIITE Robert was in the Western Australian Education system as a senior executive leading their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander provision. He also spent a number of years as a regional Director and Superintendent throughout Western Australia.

Robert is a Martu man from Jigalong in Western Australia with extensive family links throughout the Gascoyne-Murchison region of Western Australia (WA). Robert’s mother and grandmother were a part of the ‘Stolen Generation’ with his mother and her siblings spending most of their lives at Sisters Kate’s Home in Queens Park (Perth).

For more than 30 years, Robert has developed a wide range of policies and programs reflecting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at the community, state and national levels. He was responsible for the development of the two pre-eminent policies that guided national education direction for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from 2003 until 2013. He has an extensive background in education, training, employment and youth development as well as significant experience in leadership and management. In much of this work, he draws on his qualifications including Masters of Education from the University of Western Australia, Bachelor of Education, Diploma of Teaching and a Certificate in Training and Assessment.

Robert is also a Wing Commander and from 2012 until 2014 commanded the RAAF’s Cadet program in Western Australia. In 2015 his Wing was awarded the Air Force Trophy for the most efficient Wing in Australia. He is also a qualified multi-engine pilot and parachutist.

Among his many achievements, he has been recognised for his long-standing work for and on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia by being named an Ambassador for the Dare to Lead program, A QANTAS Reconciliation Ambassador, was inducted into the WA Department of Education’s Hall of Fame for Achievement in Aboriginal Education and named service provider of the year in 2010 by the WA Principals Association. Robert was also named one of the most influential 100 Western Australians in 2005 and 2006.

In June 2003 Robert was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia. He also has been awarded the Australian Cadet Forces Medal, Australian Defence Medal, the WA Cadets Long Service Medal, the Upper Gascoyne Centenary Medal and the WA Government Service Medal.


Mrs Dorothy Morrison
Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Born in Darwin with a large extended family, Dorothy has spent most of her life in the Northern Territory.

She studied in New South Wales where she completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in English and a Diploma of Continuing Education and later completed a Master of Education in the Northern Territory.

She has worked in New South Wales, Queensland and Singapore in various roles and was also heavily involved in the health sector in the Northern Territory as the former CEO of the Heart Foundation (NT). She is also a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course and is currently a member of two boards – the NT General Practice Education Board and the Health Network Northern Territory Board.

As a former Head of School at Batchelor Institute, Dorothy decided to return as she has a strong passion for education and looks forward to again working in the Indigenous education sector. Dorothy believes that Batchelor Institute offers a different and unique experience in the Australian education sector.


Dr Sue Stanton
Elder Executive Advisor: Academic and Cultural Leadership (Elder Academic)

Academic Elder, Dr Sue Stanton - has the dual roles of academic and cultural elder to overview the academic direction at BI, ensuring the embedding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and knowledges within the curriculum and throughout the Institute's broader practices.

Also as Kungarakan Traditional Owner-Custodian to provide appropriate cultural and ceremonial representation to visitors and guests of BI at Batchelor campus.


Ms Naomi Anstess
Executive Director: Strategic and Shared Services

Naomi is an Indigenous woman, born and educated locally in Darwin.

Prior to her role at Batchelor, Naomi held the position of Director of Indigenous Education Policy with the NT Department of Education. Naomi is a teacher by profession.

She has held a number of senior positions in the NT Department of Education and has been responsible for introducing a range of reforms to the education system. Naomi brings to the role an in depth knowledge of the NT Government , Aboriginal education and training and a passion for reform and innovation.


Mr Dave Curby
Executive Director: Further Education

An entrepreneur and adventurer Dave Curby has had a diverse and varied career that spans a number of industry sectors and over 40 countries. His career includes services in many countries including Australia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Europe, Timor Leste and China.

He commenced his career in the Training and Development sector in late 1980’s and has served in the Academic and Vocational Education and Training sectors.

Dave received his Executive MBA from the University of Melbourne followed by other Masters in Professional Education and Training, Business Administration and Education. He also holds numerous vocational certificates and diplomas to prove his interest in continuous learning and development.

Dave believes that no single approach is right for every individual or situation, which is why he has been developing and training himself in a wide range of skills in order to become a better person, both privately and professionally. Knowing that building resumes is not the only option for a professional to grab opportunities, Dave is continuously developing his personal skills and experiences.


Dr Peter Stephenson
EdD, MEnvStud; BAppSc(EnvHlth)
Executive Director: Higher Education and Research

The Institute appointed Dr Peter Stephenson in 2007 to lead the development of its research strategy and operations. In 2011 the role was expanded in 2013 to incorporate Teaching and Learning and again in late 2013 the Institute’s higher education and research portfolios came together under a single operational unit.

Peter initially moved to the Northern Territory in 2004 to steer the implementation of a newly accredited Environmental Health degree at Batchelor Institute. He is an experienced teacher, consultant, researcher and project manager with professional interests at the intersection of environment and health policy and practice; Indigenous communities’ capacity building; and professional education and curriculum development. He has been a consultant to the United Nations in Fiji and Cambodia and a manager of national research and development programs for Indigenous Australian environmental health practitioners.

Peter has a record of representation on national grant review panels, course advisory and professional accreditation committees, journal and press editorial boards and non-government organisation/not-for-profit boards.

In his current role at Batchelor Institute, Peter has strategic leadership and operational responsibility for development and implementation of the Institute’s Research Plan and for ensuring the Institute’s strong contribution into its higher education teaching partnership with Charles Darwin University through the Australian Centre of Indigenous Knowledges and Education (ACIKE).


Dr Jurg Bronnimann
Head of School Higher Education and Research

Dr Bronnimann joined Batchelor Institute in 2011 as Manager of Learning & Engagement.

He has worked in the tertiary education sector for more than 20 years; in New Zealand, the Middle East and Australia. Before moving into the field of Teaching and Learning and curriculum development, he was a senior lecturer in German language and literature and the Program Director for the Bachelor of Arts at Unitec NZ with majors in German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and English. . Before entering the academic life Dr Bronnimann was an Air Traffic Controller in Geneva, Switzerland.

In his current role as Head of School, he is responsible for liaising directly with the four Heads of School at Charles Darwin University associated with Batchelor Institute’s involvement in the delivery of ACIKE courses and programs, plus key counterparts in the CDU Office of Learning and Teaching. As Head of School, he manages the Higher Education lecturing staff and ensures the Institute’s commitment to quality and performance is achieved in undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs at ACIKE.

Dr Bronnimann also has the overarching responsibility for implementation and review of Batchelor’s Training, Teaching and Learning Plan, with particular emphasis on building organisational capacity, and promoting and supporting the achievement of excellence in higher education teaching, learning and student engagement.


Dr Stephen Hagan
Director: Infrastructure, Land and Environment

Dr Hagan, a Kullilli man from far south-west Queensland, is a multi-award winning film maker, award winning author, former national NAIDOC Person of the Year, former diplomat, senior public servant and businessman.

He recently completed his Cert IV TAE to add to his PhD, MBA and BA (Further Education) qualifications.

Dr Hagan is an internationally renowned First Nations Peoples’ advocate and a passionate promoter of education as the pathway to enhanced employment outcomes and is a welcomed addition to the Batchelor Institute leadership. In his time at Batchelor Institute Dr Hagan has proven as an advocate for staff, as well as an advocate for Batchelor principles and values.

Sean Callanan
Director: Arts and Humanities

Sean Callanan is a dual sector education and training specialist. His skills and experience include consulting, operational and contract management in education strategy and national project work. Sean is a graduate from Swinburne University and Charles Sturt University with post graduate research studies in Social Policy and Indigenous community narrative. He brings both a commercial and social policy perspective to Batchelor Institute with his proven leadership capabilities and a depth of experience in the national VET regulatory space.

Dr Melodie Bat
Director: Alliance Management

During her time with the Institute Melodie has worked across both Higher Ed and VET sectors and has built a strong network across jurisdictions and stakeholders.

Melodie’s career began in school-based education and her first teaching post in the NT was at N’taria in 1994. She has moved between teaching, research and management, but the common thread has always been her ability and desire to create systems and connections and she brings this expertise to this role in VET.

Melodie’s Masters degree in education was one of the first early literacy research projects undertaken in remote Northern Territory Aboriginal communities; and her Doctoral research into teacher education at Batchelor Institute provided a timely contribution to the national conversation on quality in Indigenous tertiary education. Melodie’s work as a private consultant has included course evaluations, curriculum design and thinking work in tertiary education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across both VET and Higher Ed sectors, a knowledge base which she has brought into her current VET management role in Health, Education and Early Childhood Education & Care.


Mr Cameron Wilson
Chief Financial Officer

Cameron has a Bachelor of Commerce (hons) and brings more than 15 years of experience in a number of financial management and policy roles across both the Commonwealth and State/Territory Governments in the Northern Territory and Victoria.


Mr Ken Cunningham MBE
Director: Human Resources and Work Health and Safety

Ken is an accomplished Human Resources Practitioner with 20 years’ experience working in business and the military. He received his grounding in personnel management while servicing in the Royal New Zealand Air force. Prior to this Ken was an adult trainer, specialising in military studies, law, outdoor education and organisational behaviour.

Ken has a Master’s in Business Administration from Massey University NZ, gained while working as the HR Manager HRHfor Bridgestone. He is currently doing further academic studies in employment law and dispute resolutions. After successfully completing his MBA Ken with his wife Julie started up an HR consultancy providing specialist support to businesses both in NZ and Australia covering; workforce planning, WHS, HR practices and employment disputes. The business supported 42 organisations across industries and in the Not for Profit Sector.

During his time with the Royal New Zealand Air force Ken saw active service in the Middle East and the Pacific as well as operational tours with the United Nations in the former Yugoslavia. Ken was recognised in 1995 for is his leadership during peacekeeping operations and was awarded the MBE.


Ms Eike Pakeha
Director: Performance Monitoring and Review

Ms Pakeha joined Batchelor Institute in 2011 to implement the restructure of Student Services. She moved to Australia in 1983, and she has worked in the VET and Higher Education Sector since 1989.

Prior to taking on the role at Batchelor she worked as:
  • Executive Officer in a large University faculty
  • Manager of Student Services (18,000 students)
  • Process Architect
  • Manager of Higher Education Course Accreditation
  Key achievements included:
  • Managing the administration of several faculty mergers;
  • Chairing the review of Student Administration at the University of the Sunshine Coast;
  • Centralising Student Services at CDU from a decentralized model;
  • Overseeing the administrative implementation of the Higher Education Support Act (HESA 2003) and introduction of a Summer Semester at CDU;
  • Review of Batchelor Institute’s Student Management System ensuring Commonwealth/NT legislative compliance.
Her professional interest is currently focused on building seamless pathway within the VET sector and to improve study options for students to improve their opportunities to complete qualifications leading to careers of their choice.

In her current role, she is responsible for the
  1. Administration of students including:
    • Enrolment
    • Recording of results, credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning
    • Issuance of full and partial qualifications
    • Graduations
  2. Student Data provision
  3. Management of course targets
  4. Student Management System (Callista) database and compliance.