Award for Academic Leadership

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Background Prize Criteria Judging
Past winners Eligibility/Conditions Annual timeframe How to nominate




English Australia and IELTS would like to recognise and celebrate those who make an outstanding contribution to quality in ELICOS through their work as an academic manager with the Award for Academic Leadership.

English Australia and IELTS recognise the key role that academic managers play in the overall quality of ELICOS programs. Academic managers are responsible for curriculum and program development and management, teacher employment, support and development, as well as student outcomes, support and satisfaction. A good academic manager has a combination of skills, knowledge and personal qualities that can have a major impact on an ELICOS institution and to the student experience there.


What is outstanding academic leadership?

There are many excellent academic managers in ELICOS but not as many people who are able to lead effectively, let alone lead in a way that can be said to be outstanding.

When needed, a good leader can be directive, authoritative, democratic and a coach, among other things. In his plenary address at the 2011 English Australia Conference Andy Hockley offered two definitions of leadership:

‘Management works in the system; leadership works on the system’ (Stephen Covey)
‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things’ (Peter Drucker)

Click here for a summary of Andy’s exploration of the qualities and characteristics of academic leadership and here for his complete conference presentation, ‘Seeing both the wood and the trees: Leadership & management in challenging times’.

English Australia and IELTS see an outstanding academic leader as someone who goes beyond their job description to inspire and support their staff and students to achieve their goals within the ‘system’ of their college and also within the local and/or national context of ELICOS.



The winner receives:

  • a certificate;
  • an engraved trophy;
  • up to $1,500 to cover return economy flights, accommodation and expenses for the winner(s) to attend the English Australia Conference and accept their award at the English Australia Conference gala awards dinner.

The winner will be profiled on the English Australia and IELTS websites and will be eligible to use the award logo on their email signature.

All nominees receive a Certificate of Nomination from English Australia.



The winner shows outstanding academic leadership through:

  • demonstrating skills, knowledge and qualities that underpin academic leadership;
  • leading and inspiring others within their college as well as in the broad context of ELICOS;
  • contributing to the enhancement of ELICOS student outcomes.

These criteria can be evidenced in the nominee's approach to the following areas:

  • academic culture;
  • quality curriculum;
  • management of staff;
  • student support;
  • operational management;
  • strategic relationships.


The winner is selected by a panel comprising the English Australia Executive Director, a representative of IELTS and an industry expert. 


Past winners

2017 - Barbara Craig, Acting Head of Centre, Macquarie University English Language Centre and Jennifer Coster, Deputy Director English, Monash University English Language Centre.

2016 - Lynda Beagle, Director, RMIT English Worldwide, VIC

2015 - Sheree Millen, Director of Studies, Curtin University, WA

2014 - Stephen Heap, Director of Studies, ICTE-UQ, QLD

2013 - Karen Benson, Director of Studies, Strathfield College, NSW

2012 - Ruby Biscuit, National Manager, Ability English

2011 - No award was conferred this year. 

2010 - Paulo Vieira, Director of Studies, Bond University English Language Institute, QLD

Click here for details of past winners.



The Award is open to an academic manager/Director of Studies/Assistant Director of Studies/Head Teacher/ Senior Teacher/Program Manager at any organisation registered on CRICOS to deliver ELICOS. The nominee has been working at the nominating centre for at least one year prior to the time of nomination.

The nomination for the Award is proposed by any staff member (other than the nominated academic manager) and the application must be supported by the Director, or another authorised representative, of that organisation and signed by the nominee as accepting the nomination.

Current members of the English Australia Board are not eligible for consideration, however staff working for colleges represented by English Australia Board members may apply. Winners of other English Australia awards are welcome to apply for this award. Previous winners of this award are eligible to apply for this award however cannot nominate projects or initiatives that have already won an English Australia Award.


Annual time frame

Nominations open (3 April)

Nominations close (2 June)

Winner announced (English Australia Conference 2018)


How to nominate

To nominate for this Award in 2018, complete the application form and supporting information.


Nominations must be received by COB Tues 5 June. Please email them to the PD Manager at English Australia at


Questions? Contact Sophie O'Keefe at or ph. (02) 9264 4700


English Australia thanks IELTS for its ongoing support of this Award.