Professor Marea Nicholson AM to join NCEC

7 December 2020 by

In 2021, Professor Marea Nicholson AM will replace Catherine Slattery sgs as the Commissioner from Religious Institute/Ministerial PJP School Authorities (RI/MPJP) on the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC).

Professor Marea Nicholson AM said:

It is an honour to follow in the footsteps of Catherine Slattery sgs. For many years, Catherine has ensured the voice of Religious Institute/Ministerial PJP School Authorities is heard at NCEC.

Religious Institute/Ministerial PJP Schools make up approximately 19% of all Catholic school enrolments, including a significant percentage of Catholic secondary school enrolments. These schools also witness to the Church’s diversity of canonical stewards and of their educational approaches. I see this diversity as a manifestation of the creative and prophetic presence of the Holy Spirit.

Professor Nicholson’s appointment to NCEC was recently made by the Bishops Commission for Catholic Education following her nomination by the AMPJP.

The NCEC was established by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference to maintain effective liaison with the Australian Government and other key national education bodies. NCEC complements and supports at the national level the work of the State and Territory Catholic Education Commissions.

The NCEC website states that NCEC “seeks to influence national education policy making by:

  • Working towards a national policy consensus between State and Territory Commissions that best reflects contemporary Catholic teaching on the nature and purpose of education;
  • Acting as an effective contributor to the national education policy debate;
  • Maintaining productive links with key members of the Commonwealth Parliament and the Commonwealth bureaucracy; and by
  • Strengthening the work of the Church in education, and the Catholic identity of Catholic schools and universities.”

The NCEC Commissioner role is a significant commitment of at least 12-14 days p/a. The AMPJP expects its nominee to NCEC to possess the:

  1. Ability and commitment to be a conduit of information between RI-MPJP school authorities and NCEC (primarily via membership of Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial PJP School Authorities Australia (CORMSAA)
  2. Comprehensive understanding of the ‘big picture’ of Catholic education in Australia and the benefits of ‘difference’ e.g. RI/MPJP/systemic school and system profiles
  3. Current involvement with schools at a governance level
  4. Understanding and experience of RI and MPJP bodies
  5. Understanding of and commitment to Catholic Education as a powerful conduit for faith formation as well as being centres of academic excellence
  6. Demonstrated ability to contribute effectively in committee structures/processes
  7. Ability and willingness to contribute towards the continuous improvement of NCEC and CORMSAA

Professor Marea Nicholson AM easily met, and exceeded, all of the above criteria. She began her teaching career in 1974. Her move to the tertiary education sector took place in 1987. From 2009-2019 she was Associate Vice-Chancellor (NSW/ACT) and Professor of Teacher Education at Australian Catholic University. Her current commitments include:

  • Chair, Mount St Benedict College Board (Good Samaritan Education) (Company)
  • Member Committee of Religious Institute and Ministerial Public Juridic Person School Authorities Australia (CORMSAA) as an Educationalist member
  • Member of Good Samaritan Education Policy Committee
  • Member, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta Schools Council
  • Member of Federation of RI and mPJP Schools (NSW and ACT) Education Committee