Academic Board

The Academic Board is a committee of the Governing Board of Leaders Institute and is the peak body responsible for assuring academic quality and ensuring academic integrity and high standards in teaching, learning, and scholarship. Underpinning these functions is the role Academic Board has in academic policy development and review. It carries out its significant functions in affiliation with (but independently of) the Institute’s executive management..

Academic Board

The membership of Academic Board is comprised of external experts (on invitation by the Chair, Governing Board), along with ex officio and elected members.

Emeritus Professor Jenny Stewart

Academic Board Chair (Exofficio)

Jenny Stewart is Professor Emeritus at Griffith University. She has 35 years experience in academia along with being the Deputy Head of the Department and the Discipline Head for Accounting. She was also the Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Auditing and she has served on the editorial boards of several top-tiered journals including Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory, Accounting Horizons and International Journal of Accounting.

Professor Grant Pitman


Professor Grant Pitman is the president of the Leaders Institute. He has held senior leadership roles in government and private higher education institutions. He has a Ph.D. and Master of Administration from Griffith University. He is a well-versed researcher and has published numerous articles and journals.

Professor Denise A. Austin

Vice President Academic

Professor Denise A. Austin is Vice President Academic at Leaders Institute, Australia. She formerly served as Deputy Vice President Research and Standards at Alphacrucis College (2009-2021) and was project manager for its successful Self-Accrediting Authority (2016) and University College applications (2022). She was also Director of the Australasian Pentecostal Studies Centre for almost a decade. Denise has published widely in the areas of Chinese business history, Chinese philanthropy, and Pentecostalism in the Asia Pacific region. Her books include ‘Kingdom-Minded’ People: Christian Identity and the Contributions of Chinese Business Christians (Leiden: Brill, 2011) and an edited volume on Asia Pacific Pentecostalism (Leiden: Brill, 2019).

Bruce Alchin

Academic Board Member

Bruce is a consultant with over 40 years experience in rangeland management and restoration across Australia. He combines robust science with a pragmatic approach to deliver innovative, cost-effective programs in grazing management and land rehabilitation in both the agricultural and resource sectors. This work includes management of woody plant encroachment and the role of fire. Bruce has a strong background in providing adult education at land manager, under-graduate and post-graduate levels in the areas of rangeland ecology and management, including training workshops on the use of Landscape Function Analysis (LFA) monitoring, fire management/control and soils.

Professor John Sands

Academic Board Member

Professor John Sands has an extensive academia experience especially in the accounting field with various universities. He is currently associated with the University of Southern Queensland. He has completed valuable research in the areas of Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement, Management Accounting and Sustainable Accounting and Reporting.

Ms Tamara Ali

Student Representative

I am Tamara Ali, a Lebanese student, currently residing in Australia. I am proud to serve as a student representative at the Leaders Institute, where I am pursuing my studies in Agribusiness. Being in a new country has opened up incredible opportunities for me to broaden my understanding of the agricultural industry and its impact on global economies. Prior to my journey in Australia, I had the privilege of graduating from the esteemed American University of Beirut with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I also spent several years living in Saudi Arabia, working as a dedicated math teacher for high school students in a reputable school in Jeddah from 2010 to 2022

Dr Ben Arachi

Accounting Program Director (Undergraduate)

Dr Ben Arachi is LI’s Accounting Program Director. Nominee for the Australian University Teaching award, his online learning study was published in Economics for Today (Cengage 2022).

Dr Anoma Ariyawardana

Agribusiness Program Director (Undergraduate)

Dr Anoma Ariyawardana is LI ‘s Agribusiness Program Director. Formerly a Program Coordinator at University of Queensland, she has published widely in the field of agribusiness.

Professor Harvinder Singh

program director (postgraduate studies) (Deputy Chair)

Professor Harvinder Singh has been an academic for nearly two decades with strong teaching and research expertise in informatics, traditional and molecular plant breeding approaches for the improvement and management of cereal crops, and medicinal plants. He has published over 50 research articles in peer reviewed journals, books and conference proceedings. He also presented his research at national and international conferences. He has successfully secured and completed many research grants. Additionally, in his current role as Program Director, he has demonstrated strong academic management and higher education compliance knowledge and capability. Prof Singh also has a strong Research and Higher Degree supervision experience.