Thank you and farewell, Professor Marea Nicholson

ACU thanks and farewells Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW/ACT) Professor Marea Nicholson, who retires this week following 32 years of service to the University.

For more than three decades Professor Nicholson has played a key role in the development and growth of ACU in New South Wales and the ACT.Photo of Professor Marea Nicholson cutting cake at retirement celebration.

Through her continuing support for students and staff, her innovative ideas and her dedication, Professor Nicholson has made a big impact on ACU.

Professor Nicholson’s journey with ACU began when she became a Lecturer and Course Advisor at the Catholic College of Education Sydney at Castle Hill, which later became part of ACU.

She went on to become Senior Lecturer in the School of Education in Sydney and then, in 2005, was appointed Head of the School of Education.

Professor Nicholson continued studying and completed her PhD, with her thesis providing a base for later work in the area of child protection.

A prolific researcher, Professor Nicholson’s many projects and publications focused chiefly on improving educational outcomes for the marginalised and underprivileged.

In 2009 Professor Nicholson was appointed the inaugural Associate Vice-Chancellor (ACT/NSW).

Throughout her various roles Professor Nicholson has contributed in many ways to the development of the University.

She was instrumental in the introduction and delivery of targeted pre-graduate programs in child protection for students intending to work as teachers, and in 1991, received the NSW Police Commissioner’s Award for Contribution to Child Protection.

Professor Nicholson also initiated the Collaborate Plus project – a free co-working space and business incubator in North Sydney and Strathfield.

Professor Nicholson managed the project from the beginning, writing the proposal and securing a NSW government grant, steering the project through implementation and watching it grow from strength to strength.

She has also shown great persistence in leading the Strathfield Campus underground carpark project, which has been eight years in the making and is now nearing completion.

Among her many achievements, Professor Nicholson has always had a very strong focus on our students. Her dedication has ensured many of our students have gone on to have successful careers and have left ACU aiming to give back to the community.

Likewise, Professor Nicholson has been an advocate for staff development and life-long learning and has always had a strong sense of work community.

She quickly became involved with the Castle Hill social club when she began working at the Catholic College of Education Sydney and then did the same when she moved to Strathfield and North Sydney.

Professor Nicholson has been a trusted mentor, advisor and colleague to many staff.


Executive Assistants in the Office of the Associate Vice-Chancellor Mrs Anne Dacey, Mrs Anne Foubister and Mrs Victoria Hayman, Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW/ACT) Professor Marea Nicholson and former ACU staff members Mr Nicholas Warren, Ms Belinda Lynch and Ms Colleen Malone.


Always willing to contribute, throughout her time with ACU Professor Nicholson has served as a member of Senate, NSW Chapter and Academic Board and has been a member of countless other boards and committees.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven said without Professor Nicholson’s dedication and leadership ACU would not be the University it was today.

“It is rare these days for people to stay working with one organisation for three decades. One suspects the reason this has been possible for Marea is that the University’s Mission is so closely aligned with her own personal values,” Professor Craven said.

Professor Craven thanked Professor Nicholson for her tireless work over the past 32 years.

“You will be missed for your professionalism, your enthusiasm, your wide-ranging interests within the University, the contributions you have made to teacher education and to the built environment at our campuses,” Professor Craven said.

“Most of all, you will be remembered for the care and compassion you have shown for all those around you.”

It’s expected Professor Nicholson will continue her good work in retirement, volunteering her time to boards and advisory committees, particularly in the not-for-profit sector.

She’ll also enjoy travelling with her husband Norm and spending more time with her children and grandchildren.

Congratulations to Professor Nicholson on 32 inspiring years of service to ACU. We wish you well for your retirement and thank you for your service and contributions to the University.


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