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.

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

Listed below are current members of Academic Board:

Emeritus Professor Jenny Stewart

Academic Board Chair

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.

Dr Gregory Harper

Academic Board Member (Deputy Chair)

Dr. Gregory Harper is a highly experienced executive, leader, consultant and academic. Currently, Pro Vice Chancellor with Torrens University, Greg has held a number of senior executive positions in public and private sectors. He also operated a successful workforce development consulting business. Greg has completed post graduate qualifications in learning and development and economics, and has a doctorate in leadership development.

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.

Professor Harvinder Singh

Program Director – Agribusiness (Exofficio)

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.

Dr Sharelle Simmons

Program Director – Accounting (Exofficio)

Dr Sharelle Simmons is the current Program Director for the Accounting course. She has over 34 years of experience in higher education, is the coauthor of the Australian edition of “Accounting: Information for Business Decisions”. She was Academic Director at the Charles Stuart University Study Centre in Brisbane from 2016-2018 and has lectured in accounting and tax at Griffith University, University of Queensland and Avondale College of Higher Education.

Professor Grant Pitman

President (Exofficio)

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

Ms Susma Rumba

Student Representative

Ms Susma Rumba is a student of Bachelor of Agribusiness and is the nominated Student Representative for Leaders Institute for Academic Board. She is from the picturesque landscape of mountains of Nepal and has been studying with Leaders since March 2020. Ms Rumba is also a nominated member for the Leaders Institute Students Association (LISA).