top of page


EPHEA Lifetime Member awards recognise significant and long-term contributions to equity in universities and TAFE across Australia and New Zealand. The award also seeks to recognise specific contributions to work within EPHEA over the years.


As well as celebrating dedication and achievements, lifetime member awards enable our organisation to maintain a formal relationship with our esteemed colleagues who are no longer officially engaged in the sector, and to highlight the continued important work of existing equity practitioners in higher education. 

Lifetime Members are announced at the biennial EPHEA Conference, with nominations made by EPHEA members before the event.

Tracie Conroy
Tracie Conroy.jpg

Tracie Conroy

Tracie’s career in as an equity practitioner in higher education spans over 12 years. After joining the UTS Accessibility Service team in 2005, Tracie joined the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion team in 2010 and hasn’t left since. From manager in 2010 to director in 2015, Tracie has consistently shown an unwavering commitment to making UTS an accessible, inclusive and equitable community for all students and staff.

Over the years Tracie has worked on:

  • outreach and access programs to encourage students from all backgrounds to study at UTS;

  • overseen leading practice gender equity initiatives;

  • supported students and staff with disability;

  • introduced LGBTQIA+ awareness programs and cultural diversity initiatives;

  • and been a key supporter of UTS Indigenous employment programs.

Tracie’s leadership has been critical in creating sustainable cultural change both within UTS, and in the Australian community more broadly.

Tracie has recently announced that she will be leaving UTS to pursue new opportunities, and her colleagues have noted that “her advice and assistance in ensuring that everyone at UTS lives up to standards we expect of our staff and students has proved invaluable, and her empathy in supporting those who have unfortunately been on the receiving end of poor behaviour, is a great asset and one we will very much miss.”

We have been so fortunate to have Tracie's insights and knowledge generously with the sector as Vice-President of EPHEA over the past 3 years. She is an outstanding advocate for the importance of access to education for everyone.

Prof Julia Coyle.jpg

Professor Julia Coyle

Professor Coyle was appointed Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at the University of Wollongong in 2017 bringing to the role 30 years practice, research and leadership experience in the Health and Higher Education sector.

Since 2017, Julia has led the equity agenda at UOW and has been instrumental in maximising student success, and fostering student engagement, retention, satisfaction and exceptional student outcomes. She has led the development and implementation of the UOW Enabling Equity Framework, as well as the Enabling Equity Action Plan (from 2018 to 2023), while directing the reframe of the UOW Disability Services to a strengths-based model, culminating in the relaunch of the service as the Student Accessibility and Inclusion Team from June 2022.

Aside from being a voice for equity students at UOW, she has led and collaborated on sector leading research including the NPP funded research article The influence of disability, socioeconomic status and regionality on higher education access and participation: Practical advice for stakeholders working with students with disability.

Professor Coyle has been a committed advocate for equity students at the University of Wollongong for the past 6 years, providing programs and services that drive social change by widening access, participation, and success for equity group students.

Profesor Julia Coyle
Kate Flynn ROP.jpg

Kate Flynn

Kate has worked in higher education for over 20 years and is currently the Acting Director of Equity at the Queensland University of Technology. She is an experienced equity practitioner and copywriter, her understanding of providing access to tertiary education for underrepresented groups has been vital in her everyday work. She strongly believes that to create better learning environments universities need to know who their students are; and with her wealth of knowledge and experience she has been an important thought leader in widening participation sphere for many years.

Kate has had held key roles leading QUT’s widening participation agenda including membership to the unique and long-running Queensland Consortium on Widening Tertiary Education Participation. She has been a long-term member of the Consortium which encourages all public universities in Queensland to take a collaborative approach to attracting students to tertiary education through meaningful, student-focused, and practice-led activities.

Kate has contributed to many learning and design programs to support schools, teachers, and students. These programs are aimed at ensuring students feel supported and use their cultural capital to make the choices suitable to their goals for future study; creating a space where students feel they belong; and allowing students to use their imagination, curiosity and to question the learning they embark on.

Kate’s contribution to equity and inclusion is well recognised by her staff and colleagues in the equity and diversity space. Her passion and collaborative approach includes her contribution to national projects of significance through the NCSEHE, as EPHEA Executive Board Member since 2017, her work as an Associate Fellow through the Higher Education Academy in 2016, and recognition as a ‘Champion for Change’ through the EPHEA/NCSEHE awards in 2021.

Kate Flynn

Darlene McLennan

Darlene has been a strong advocate and leader for people with disability in tertiary education sector for almost two decades. She is currently the manager of the Australian Disability Clearinghouse for Education and Training (ADCET) and the National Disability Coordination Officer (NDCO) for Tasmania.

During her time at ADCET (hosted at University of Tasmania) Darlene has led a dedicated team of experts to establish ADCET as Australia's leading resource on disability in tertiary education. She is passionate about supporting people with disability to find success in their studies and supports disability practitioners nationwide in their practice.

Through her leadership in bringing different stakeholders and people with lived experience together, Darlene has nurtured significant projects in areas such as online professional development modules, practice guidelines, workshops, webinars, podcasts and up-to-date web-based resources.

Recent projects of significance include a range of free eLearning packages for disability practitioners including Disability Awareness, Universal Design for Learning (UDL), and Supporting Students with Disability in VET for educators and practitioners; NDCO resources for students; guidelines for online learning for students who are Blind/vision-impaired or Deaf/hard of hearing; and Accessible ICT Procurement guidelines.

In addition to this work, Darlene has been a strong advocate for disability practitioners through her ongoing dual role as ADCET Manager and National Disability Coordination Officer, her role as President of ATEND (Australian Tertiary Education Network on Disability) from 2012 to 2015 and ongoing involvement on the ATEND National Committee, and State Convenor for EPHEA in Tasmania.

Darlene Mclennan

Veronica Sanmarco

Veronica's work in the higher education sector over the last 15 years has been impactful both at an institutional and sector level.

As Manager of Access and Diversity at the University of Sunshine Coast, Veronica has successfully implemented the Pathways and Access Strategy - concerned with the pre-enrolment component of the domestic, undergraduate, and student journey.

Veronica has been instrumental in providing focus and guidance to those engaged in widening participation and pathways to enrolment, avoiding duplication, assisting in better targeting resources, and maximising benefit for dollar expended. Her background in careers and expertise ensured that as widening participation programs were developed, at the core, they embedded a career development approach, which is scaffolded, resulting in an offering from years 4-10 from Fraser Coast through to the Moreton Bay region.

Her leadership and expertise have resulted in her team developing several key institutional Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategies for UniSC:

  • The Inaugural Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

  • The Inaugural Gender Affirmation guidelines and system changes

  • Coordination of pathways, including successfully leading a review of several former attempts to introduce equity-based early entry schemes and the successful implementation of the Early Offer Guarantee.

Outside of UniSC, Veronica made significant contributions to maintaining and extending the Queensland Widening Participation Consortium operations through considerable upheaval as she stepped into the role of Chair in July 2020 and led the efforts with Deputy Chair Kate Flynn and Project Manager Geoffrey Mitchell through to August 2022. She led the Consortium through two VC review presentations, several funding applications and two practitioner seminars. This initiative continues to bring together the State's public universities with the common goal of supporting equity students since 2009. She served as an Executive member of EPHEA between 2020-2021.

Veronica Sanmarco
bottom of page