“It’s a very exciting time to be a part of Torrens University as it establishes its presence as part of a global network of education, which is focused around the business of education and about providing the right environment for our students to flourish.”

Professor Justin Beilby was appointed to the role of Vice-Chancellor of Torrens University Australia in January 2015. Prior to taking on this role, he completed 10 years as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide, which required oversight of all academic, educational and research programs. Responsible for budgeting and resource management (budget $220 million annually) and the management of 750 staff, 1500 Affiliate members and 3500 students across a number of locations within the state, he led the academic development of a new $200 million Medical and Nursing School in the South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct for the last two years. He has demonstrated experience and skills in research, both clinical and policy related, workforce planning, financial and people management, philanthropic funding, leading major capital programs, leading change programs and governance. He is a qualified practising General Practitioner, board member and leader in primary care/general practice reform in Australia over the past 20 years combined with an extensive senior management career at the University of Adelaide.

Justin is an excellent communicator and negotiator, able to inspire and develop staff, affiliates and committee members from diverse backgrounds to achieve the required results. He is enthusiastic, passionate, resilient and dedicated to improving the standard and quality of health care and tertiary education and research both within Australia and internationally.

As a member of the senior management team of the University of Adelaide, Justin was involved in managing extensive change within the University, as the sector adapts to the digital revolution, learning and teaching reform, increased research accountability and complexity, globalisation, and the need to expand the range of quality educational programs to cater for all students’ requirements. In addition to overseeing all academic, educational and research programs in medicine, dentistry, nursing, health sciences and psychology, he has been involved in research, both clinical and policy related, in the areas of workforce planning, primary care financing, chronic illness and the quality use of medicines for almost 20 years, in urban and rural settings. This has led to significant publications in the area of new models of chronic illness management, asthma, diabetes, primary care financing and workforce planning. He has had broad international participation with experience in establishing educational and research partnerships in the United States, Middle East, China, South East Asia and Japan.


  • MBBS
  • Doctor of Medicine
  • Master of Public Health



Helmut has many years’ experience in the academic aspects of design, from a lecturer in 3D Design to Dean, Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology. Helmut led the Faculty (previously the National School of Design) into becoming a significant international force in the field of design, including increasing onshore international student numbers eightfold as well setting up programs in Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore. Successful programs were similarly set up with Billy Blue in Sydney. Helmut led the establishment of the National Institute for Design Research, and the development of new policies and programs for design practice-led research and re-introduced the Swinburne School of Film and Television. Most recently, Helmut was Pro Vice-Chancellor Internationalisation at Swinburne, providing senior academic leadership and advocacy including curriculum developments, staff capability, graduate attributes, and the research endeavour. Previous to this role, Helmut was Pro Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak.

Helmut is a leading exponent in the field of studio furniture and design for wood, having maintained a regular national and international lecture program, including forum, conference and workshop presentations. His work is in the collections of the Australian National Gallery and state collections throughout Australia. He was honoured with a survey exhibition of his life’s work 11 April – 11 June 2015 by the Art Gallery of Warrnambool.




“What you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!’ (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)”

Greg Harper is a highly experienced educator, executive, leader, and consultant. The former General Manager of Swinburne Industry Solutions, Greg has held a number of senior executive positions in the public and private sectors: for example, Chief Executive of a large Queensland TAFE Institute and a Senior Executive in the Queensland Department of Education and Training. He is a highly experienced organisational development consultant having worked with some of Australia’s leading corporations. As a leader, Greg’s focus is on developing people by providing coaching and developmental assignments.

At Torrens, Greg is Pro Vice Chancellor, Business and Entrepreneurship. In this role, he provides educational and academic leadership for Torrens University’s business programs. A key focus is the growth of business programs in Australia by providing programs that ensure students are both very employable and resourceful. These highly valued programs will be delivered in most capital cities and online. A second key focus is developing executive learning and development programs for organisations in Australia. The final key focus is the development of strategies to foster and facilitate industry engagement across the University to enhance the employment outcomes of graduates and to promote industry-engaged research.




Dr Mieke Leppens has 25 years’ experience in the international design arena, having worked mainly in the fields of fashion design, fashion marketing and design education. Her professional design career spans across all levels of the industry from ‘haute couture’ in Paris to ‘design original’ in Belgium, fast fashion and brand fashion labels in Australia. Mieke has extensive design teaching expertise right across the board – in private colleges, universities, design studios, with theory and research subjects, and in writing and implementing new design programs. She was awarded a PhD at the University of Technology, Sydney. Since then, Mieke actively participates and is engaged with furthering the Australian fashion design industry by writing, winning and implementing Federal Government Grants allocated to Australian fashion companies for creative improvements of their businesses culture. In addition, Mieke, in her role as Dean of Design is constantly looking for ways to further the Australian industry through new and improved teaching practices that enhance the students’ capabilities to take up new challenges in a rapidly changing design world.




“Education is a tool for life. Whether you aspire to be a great leader, want to ensure social justice or merely want to learn something new, education is crucial.”

Professor Mick Grimley is Dean of Education at Torrens and is an experienced educator with over 30 years of experience in Education. He holds the position of Treasurer for the Victorian Council of Deans of Education (VCDE), is a member of Academic Board for Eastern College and an active member of the Australian Council of Educational Research (ACER) course development and quality committee.

Mick was previously the foundational Chair of Education at Swinburne University of Technology, having established and led Education as an online and face-to-face discipline across Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary teacher education. Mick is the recipient of two Vice Chancellors awards for Teaching and Inclusion and a Dean’s Award for Teaching.

Prior to joining Swinburne University Mick was Associate Professor of Education at Canterbury University where he was instrumental in the merger between the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch College of Teacher Education holding a number of leadership positions in the areas of research and course development.

In 2015 Mick led the development and implementation of the World’s first Autism MOOC approaching Autism through the lens of inclusivity, fostering understanding and equipping participants with the skills and knowledge to solve practical issues for individuals with Autism.

Prior to entering higher education, Mick was a school teacher in the UK and taught across Primary, Secondary and Further Education. He is an experienced PhD Supervisor with research interests in innovative methods of teaching and learning, new technologies, online and blended learning, engagement, motivation and experiential learning utilising both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.




Cath is a registered nurse and a health education and research leader with a national reputation for balancing ‘heart and head’. Building from her nursing background plus her bachelor’s studies in psychology, Cath’s PhD focused on rural women’s resilience in the face of breast cancer, Cath has continued her focus on resilience as an emotional strength which has application for nurses and other health care professionals, as well as for those living with illness. Her PhD students have extended this focus to include explorations of the health-related experiences of frail elderly people accessing health care, women with postnatal depression, university students and cancer survivors who have found strength through spirituality and connections to the land.

Before commencing at Torrens, Cath led the USQ nursing and midwifery school for over a decade, and oversaw its significant expansion including new campuses, new programs and new pathways for nurses and midwives.

Cath has contributed strongly at the national and state level to a health professional clinical education strategy, including working with Health Workforce Australia and chairing the Southern Queensland Clinical Education Regional Training Network. She was instrumental in the establishment of one of Australia’s newest University Departments of Rural Health (Southern Queensland Rural Health). She held the Sr Elizabeth Kenny Chair in Nursing, including the role of Director of the Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Evidence Based Practice (ACRREBP) for five years.

Cath was honoured for her contribution to the University of Southern Queensland and to health education and research, with the honorary award of ‘Professor Emeritus’ in 2018.

Cath is excited to be part of Torrens, an emerging, dynamic university which is disruptive in intent and focused on establishing a national reputation as a leader in health professional education and targeted research including positive ageing




‘Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.’ (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Dr Elizabeth O’Brien is an Associate Professor and Dean of the Hospitality vertical at Torrens. Dr O’Brien has been involved in the education sector for over 32 years, with 25 years in the tertiary education sector. Dr O’Brien has worked at various universities in Queensland and nationally (including UQ, QUT, ACU and JCU). Whilst her passion has always been associated with the actual teaching of university students, Dr O’Brien has also held many administrative positions at those universities, as she has progressed her academic career, including Course Coordinator; Assistant Head of School; and Associate Dean. She has also served as a representative on numerous Faculty and University wide Boards and Committees, and has volunteered as a staff and student contact for issues relating to all aspects of diversity and inclusivity.

Dr O’Brien has also worked in the Government and private sectors and has consulted with large private sector companies, for example, large banking and retail companies (as part of a Government and university funded research project into downsizing in Australia). Her areas of expertise are leadership and human resource management. Dr O’Brien’s PhD topic examined the role of women in management and diversity programs (including related legislation) in Australia. Dr O’Brien has been involved in the hospitality sector (formally and informally for over ten years) and has a growing interest in the role and position of women in management and leadership, in the service industries.

Dr O’Brien has been a member of the Australian Resource Institute (AHRI) for the past 25 years and has served as an elected representative on the AHRI Queensland State council. She is also currently on the Board of the Council of Private Higher Education Providers (COPHE). Dr O’Brien has been very active in all HR processes across many levels of academic and administrative staffing, and has assisted in the formulation and review of many HR policies and procedures in the education sector, the Government sector and in various private organisations.

Dr O’Brien has had considerable experience in senior leadership roles, most recently in the role of Executive Dean (for over two years) for a newly established Higher Education Provider (HEP). It is this diverse background across both private and public tertiary education institutions; her knowledge and experience of TEQSA legislation and HESF requirements; her passion for learning and teaching; and her knowledge and understanding of complex human resource issues that face all large organisations, that will enable Dr Elizabeth O’Brien to continue to drive growth, culture and employability for the Hospitality vertical.


  • PhD in Management (University of Queensland)
  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Australian Catholic University)
  • Masters of Business Administration (University of Queensland)
  • Graduate Diploma in Teaching – Secondary (QUT)
  • Bachelor of Arts (UQ)