In Australia, Wells Advisory partners with clients across the higher education sector, providing advice, guidance and support on strategy, regulation and operations in order to achieve successful outcomes.
Services we provide
For clients in Australia, or investing into Australia, our team combines senior local consultants with highly experienced Principal Advisors drawn from the sector. We have a collective experience and track record in assisting universities and institutes worldwide to find solutions to some of their most challenging problems. A selection of our global service offering is set out below.
We provide M & A and brokerage advice for investment in higher education providers in Australia.
Working on either side of transactions we provide specialist regulatory, strategic and commercial advice and utilise our wide international network to bring motivated investors, buyers and sellers together and then facilitating progress to successful outcomes. We have a deep understanding of the regulatory scope and standing of registered providers, always a key aspect of a higher education transaction. We also understand the business of higher education and can therefore advise on strategy and commercial aspects of the transaction.
Recently, we acted for the China Education Group in arranging a financial and strategic partnership with Richmond the American University in London and we are working with clients on similar opportunities in the UK higher education sector. We also acted for interested parties in the Laureate Australia & NZ transaction.
Regulatory advice, review and audit (TEQSA)
We assist new and established higher education providers and universities in negotiating successful outcomes within the complex regulatory requirements in Australia.
Our team has advised a wide range of clients on most aspects of the Australian regulatory framework (TEQSA, CRICOS, FEE-HELP), including establishing a new higher education provider, re-registration, course accreditation, risk assessment and data reporting, independent governance, partnership reviews, conditions reporting, compliance auditing and board recruitment.
Our team’s collective experience across this area, including as former regulators, is second to none. We bring practical and expert advice and support. We have a long track record of helping our clients achieve successful regulatory outcomes and strong compliance positions, including new registrations, re-registrations and self-accrediting authority.
Governance and leadership
We have in depth understanding and appreciation of the governance structures required to achieve success at a strategic level as well as fulfilling legal and regulatory compliance.
We are able to offer corporate and academic governance reviews, that consider governance structures, terms of reference, Board and Committee effectiveness and culture, delegations and reporting frameworks as well as member profile and and engagement. If the committee structure isn’t working well, the Board of Directors / Council requires strategic alignment or purposeful team building.
We are able to offer leadership review and advice on restructuring, succession planning, and help with the need for achieving cost reduction across the activities of the senior team. We also can provide leadership mentoring and support to tackle issues at an individual or team level. This may involve providing an external review of strategic programmes to achieve change, or providing oversight at a program board level to help drive results.
Strategy and planning
Our starting point as a leading sector specialist is that we understand the unique and fast evolving context that is higher education and research. We understand the academic interface and the commercial realities. Working at the cutting edge, we apply this understanding to create strategy and execution capability.
In the current environment, it is critical that universities and institutes have a clear understanding of their mission, their organisational capability and their markets. We help our clients understand their current position, evolving market structures, map future options, select and build balanced strategies and shared consensus. Good strategy fails without execution capability. We also work with our clients to lift and speed up execution. Our services include strategic planning, financial modelling & evaluation, organisational assessment, market structural analysis and business plans. We work at whole of institution, portfolio and school level.
We help institutions and researchers to identify and objectively assess the commercial potential of their ideas and expertise, framing optimal paths to market and ensuring fair value from commercialisation deals. We have expertise across investment and development life-cycles, from early-stage identification through to commercial life-cycle management.
At Wells Advisory, we believe external strategic advice can help accelerate research commercialisation and innovation at key development milestones, allowing research leaders to determine which ideas to support without missing high-potential disruptors.
Through the combined strategy and management experience of our consulting team and research expertise of our Principal Advisors, we offer access to objective market-linked insights and value assessments similar to those used by investors and private equity firms. Early-stage insight can support institutional and researcher decision-making on collaborations, spin-outs, or further development, putting researchers on a more level footing in commercial negotiations.
Who are we?
Managing Director, Australia and UK
BA LLB (Melb)
M Marketing (Melb)
Michael Wells, Founding Director, is one of the leading advisors on higher education in Australia. Michael advises public and private clients on mission-critical issues including institutional strategy, license to operate, and partnerships. He has a strong reputation and network within the higher education sector in Australia and internationally. Over the last 25 years, Michael has worked at the cutting edge of higher education, with senior roles spanning government, university and private sector. He was appointed a Commissioner to help design and set up Australia’s national regulator TEQSA, he was a member of the senior executive at the University of Melbourne leading planning, QA, finance and risk, and prior to that spent a decade in the private sector advising (including universities) on brand strategy, valuation and defence. Michael holds degrees in law, economics and marketing, and is admitted to legal practice.
+61 400 904 926
Dr Paula Kelly
Practice Lead, Regulation & Quality
BA (Hons) (Mon)
Grad Cert Quality Assurance (Melb)
Dr Paula Kelly is the Practice Lead of our Regulation and Quality practice. She advises on higher education policy settings, quality assurance, regulation and accreditation. Paula understands the complexities of the higher education environment including the regulatory and legislative frameworks that govern it. Prior to joining Wells Advisory, Paula held an academic position at the University of Melbourne and a regulatory role at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA).
+61 427 318 362
Dr Guy Edwards
Practice Lead, Strategy and Planning
BA (Hons) Melb
DipGrad (Econ) Lond
Guy is an experienced strategy consultant and project manager across higher education, global health-care and the interfaces between the two. He has particular expertise in university strategy and the analytics to underpin it, research strategy, and commercialisation, with a focus on medical innovation, pharmaceuticals, and biotechnology. His consulting experience includes working with global pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, private equity and investors, and government clients.
Prior to joining Wells Advisory, Guy held roles in strategy consulting firms in the UK and Australia, was a senior advisor and project manager for the University of Melbourne, and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Cambridge, during which time he taught at both undergraduate and graduate level.
+61 473 216 388
Michelle Lee leads our business operations team managing our finances, human resources, communications, marketing, technology and internal projects.
Her focus is to align our strategic direction with our practices here in Australia.
She has over 20 years’ experience utilising her commercial business acumen to augment the operations of organisations to facilitate growth and expansion. She has worked with large to medium organisations in various industries including banking and finance, building and professional services.
+61 400 904 926
Emeritus Professor Janelle Allison
Emeritus Professor Janelle Allison has over 25 years’ experience in higher education and most recently was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Community, Partnerships and Regional Development) and Principal of University College at the University of Tasmania.
Janelle has a background in Geography and Regional Planning. She has worked with regional communities and in regional development in Australia, (particularly Queensland) as well as overseas in Africa, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia and Indonesia. Janelle has taught in a range of settings including planning/ design studios, rural community development, short courses and training for regional development in provincial governments in Indonesia and more recently into the Bachelor of Regional Resource Management on Cradle Coast Campus. In this role Janelle has introduced students to intensive mode delivery and problem based learning.
More recently Janelle has focused her interest on alternative participation strategies and entry pathways to learning – a critical issue for the North West of Tasmania. She led the establishment and development of University College and its innovative curriculum model for two-year associate degrees designed to provide new and alternative pathways for Tasmanians into higher education.
Janelle’s career has had a long-term focus and impact on workforce development and local and regional economic development. Her work has been pursued within an applied and reflective research model. She is a Business Member of the Joint Commonwealth Tasmania Economic Committee (JCTEC).
Janelle partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+61 408 452 548
Emeritus Professor Mike Calford
BSc(Hons) Monash University
PhD, Monash University
Emeritus Professor Mike Calford is one of Australia’s most experienced and outstanding university leaders with over 15 years of serving senior leadership roles in the Australian higher education industry. In his most recent appointment as the Provost of Australia National University, Mike took the responsibility for driving the delivery of the ANU Strategic Plan, including reforming student admissions and budget processes. Prior to this, Mike was the Provost at the University of Tasmania for four years where he helped win government funding for a campus relocation project that was focused on harnessing the power of education to change lives, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Newcastle for five years where he led the growth in its research capacity to a top-10 ERA showing in 2012, and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Medical Research) at the University of Wollongong in 2013.
In addition to his university leadership career, Mike is a leading researcher in the field of neuroscience. After receiving a doctorate at Monash University, Mike held research and teaching roles at the Universities of Queensland and Melbourne, and at ANU. He also worked overseas at the University of Oxford, the University of California Irvine and City University of New York.
During his academic career, Professor Calford has received numerous prestigious research fellowships, medals and awards, including a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 1984 and a Distinguished Service Medal from the Hunter Medical Research Institute in 2013.
Mike partners with Wells Advisory’s clients in the higher education sector nationally and internationally, drawing on his extensive experience in research, education strategy and management. Mike will have a particular focus on research- and innovation-related reviews, university budget model reviews, faculty and organisational reviews, and growth strategy.
+61 439 421 781
Professor Hamish Coates
BA (Hons) (Melb)
Professor Hamish Coates contributes to the field of higher education through research, leadership and development. Over 20 years he has led over 70 influential projects, worked across 50 countries, authored over 200 publications, procured over AU$25 million in funding, conducted hundreds of workshops, given over 270 keynotes and presentations, and generated ongoing revenue streams. He has an h-index of 35, more than 5,500 citations, and is sought internationally as a speaker.
Hamish is a Tenured Professor at Tsinghua University’s Institute of Education and also Deputy Director of its Global Research Centre for the Assessment of College and Student Development. He was Professor of Higher Education at the University of Melbourne, Founding Director of Higher Education Research at the Australian Council for Educational Research, and Program Director at the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Leadership and Management.
Hamish concentrates on improving the quality and productivity of higher education. Considered an authority in several areas, areas of expertise include large-scale evaluation, tertiary education policy, institutional strategy, assessment methodology, learner engagement and success, and academic work and leadership.
Hamish partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+96 187 0158 3083
Dr Carolyn Daniel
BA (Hons) (VU)
Dr Carolyn Daniel, Senior Consultant, brings substantial contemporary experience in higher education regulation, policy and quality assurance. Carolyn has held senior roles in both Commonwealth and Victorian Government within the education portfolios, most recently in a senior regulatory role at TEQSA. Combined with a background in educational policy and academic research, Carolyn has a strong knowledge of the Australian tertiary education sector including higher education and vocational training. As Senior Consultant, Carolyn provides strategic regulatory advice based on her expertise and technical knowledge of the tertiary education sector, in particular higher education entry and quality improvement for colleges and universities already registered.
+61 417 431 600
Professor Andrew Flitman
PhD, Warwick Uni, UK
Prof Andrew Flitman, who is currently Principal of iMORSE (an analytics and higher education consultancy firm), has extensive higher education leadership and governance experience and has worked across both public and private sectors.
Andrew held leadership roles in the Australian higher education industry for over a decade including Deputy VC (Research) at Swinburne University (2007-2012), Dean of Science and Technology at Deakin University (2005-2007), and Head of School (Business Systems) at Monash University (2000-2005). He was first promoted to Professor at Monash in 1997.
In addition to his university leadership career, Andrew is an internationally recognised expert in financial (corporate and market) and strategic computer modelling with extensive commercial consulting experience serving senior positions at Deloitte Haskins and Sells (UK), Coopers and Lybrand Deloitte (UK), and Price Waterhouse (Melbourne).
Since obtaining his PhD in Operations Research from Warwick University UK, Andrew has published well over 100 research publications and has authored a number of commercial reports. He is also a Fellow of both the Australian Computer Society and the Operational Research Society.
Andrew partners with Wells Advisory’s clients in the higher education sector nationally and internationally with a particular focus on education and research strategy, and governance and performance analytics.
Sendur Kathir is a highly experienced leader in information technology, especially the rapidly evolving digital landscape in education markets. He has over 20 years’ experience in education, government and telecommunications.
He started his career in consulting and progressed to senior vendor-side roles. In 2005 he took on the role of CIO at The University of Melbourne, later styled Executive Director Digital. Over a decade in this role, Sendur led one of the largest and most diverse IT portfolios in Australia. In 2015, he was awarded Education CIO of the Year. In recent years, his digital leadership has delivered key initiatives in mobility, analytics, business intelligence, social media integration, 3D printing and cloud adoption. He has a significant transformation track record underpinned by financial and cultural turnarounds. He is expert at visioning, strategy formulation and execution to enable business growth.
Sendur has strong commercial acumen, having held full P&L responsibility for up to $500 million and leading teams of up to 12 direct reports and 600 indirect reports. Sendur has served on several Boards including Victorian Education and Research Network (VERNet) and various Commonwealth and State Government initiatives.
Sendur partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+61 404 007 557
Dr Tom Kennie
BSc, MAppSCi, University of Glasgow; PhD, Imperial College, London; MBA, Roffey Park Management Institute, University of Sussex
Tom is the Founding Director of Ranmore Consulting group, UK. His practice focuses on the higher education and research sectors and also in the professional service sector. Tom is a leading expert in designing tailored leadership programmes, coaching executives, consulting organisational development and change management projects as well as conducting research and evaluation work for his clients. Tom has extensive experience in working with Vice-Chancellors and their top teams in helping them to navigate change and deliver success.
Prior to moving into consultancy, Tom held Executive roles within the Human Resource function in several international companies across the property and engineering industries. He has also been a full-time academic spending 8 years as the Head of Surveying in the School of Engineering at the University of Surrey, UK and 4 years at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. Tom’s academic background is in geography and topographic sciences, remote sensing and GIS and business management.
He holds Visiting Professorships in Nottingham Business School, UK the School of the Built Environment at the University of Salford, UK and he is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. He is also a Key Associate of The Leadership Foundation for Higher Education and has recently completed a period of 8 years as one of three Vice Presidents of the International Federation of Surveyors.
Tom is an Associate of Wells Advisory in Australia.
+ 44 (0) 7956 677860
Emeritus Professor Peter Lee
LLD (Monash, Honoris Causa)
PhD, (ChemEng) (Monash)
B.E. (ChemEng) (RMIT)
Emeritus Professor Peter Lee is an experienced senior executive of large organisations that have complex stakeholder environments. Peter’s unique combination of technical excellence and understanding of human and stakeholder psyche means he has regularly been called upon to guide corporate, government and non-government organisations.
He was the Vice-Chancellor & CEO at Southern Cross University for seven years after having held senior positions at the University of South Australia (DVC Academic), Curtin University of Technology (Executive Dean of Engineering, Science and Computing) and Murdoch University (Foundation Dean of Engineering). He has served on a number of corporate, university, research and government boards, including the peak body, Universities Australia, for which he was Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee. Peter is an expert in corporate and academic governance of higher education institutions.
Peter is one of the most highly distinguished engineers in Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering; and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia. He has been repeatedly named as one of the most influential engineers in Australia and has been awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Australian society. Emeritus Professor Lee has authored four books and 270 journal papers.
Peter partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+61 419 941 175
Dr Ione Lewis
Grad Dip ContEd UNE
BSocStud (Social Work) USYD Dip Psychotherapy ANZAP (professional qualification)
Dr Ione Lewis, Regulatory Consultant, is an experienced higher education quality assurance expert. With twenty years of experience in senior academic roles across the higher education sector Ione has acquired in depth knowledge of the sector including the regulatory environment in which it operates.
Ione has developed a track record of working successfully with prospective and currently registered higher education providers to implement internal quality assurance processes and prepare for external regulatory application processes.
Ione has expertise in the development and review of policy suites aligned to regulatory requirements and tailored to the individual context of each provider; the review of corporate and academic governance arrangements in higher education; compliance audits; and course review.
Ione publishes on the topic of quality assurance in higher education in peer-reviewed journals and is passionate about diversity in the higher education sector.
Dr Michelle Mosiere
GRAD DIP ED (Mon)
BA (Hons) (Mon)
CERT IV TAA (RMIT)
Dr Michelle Mosiere, Consultant, advises independent higher education providers (HEPs) on course accreditations, initial registrations and quality frameworks. A highly experienced corporate trainer, Michelle specialises in compliance training and professional development workshops. Prior to joining Wells Advisory, Michelle held a regulatory role at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA), senior communication and stakeholder engagement roles in the Victorian government, compliance and auditing roles at RTOs, teaching roles at RMIT University and Swinburne University, and a national broadcasting role at SBS.
Bachelor of Arts (UBC)
Master of Arts (GUELPH)
Chris has over 30 years’ experience in the higher education sector in both Australia and Canada including roles at UBC, UoG, SFU, UOW, La Trobe, UNE, SCU and Navitas and is currently Principal and Founder of McKay Patton Advisory Pty Ltd. As vice president at UNE and SCU for 10 years he was responsible for substantial enrolment growth in both domestic and international students.
Chris has detailed experience launching, leading or controlling several third party arrangements from both the for-profit and public university provider perspective, both on-shore and internationally. He has been involved in scoping, negotiating and successfully launching other innovative education venture partnerships such as launching SCU Online with Keypath Australia. Based on this complex exposure over almost two decades to market forces facing higher education in Australia, Chris is at the forefront of understanding the challenges and the emerging risks faced by public and for-profit Australian education providers as they compete to remain relevant in a dynamic market.
Chris specialises in the areas of business development, student enrolment growth strategy, the application and operation of entrepreneurial public private ventures to harness growth opportunities and the improvement of providers’ operations and compliance with regulatory requirements in Australia.
Chris partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+61 408 283 679
Kha Yen Prentice
Kha Yen Prentice, Regulatory Consultant, has strong regulatory expertise having spent the last 20 years of her professional career working with Federal and Victorian government agencies across diverse sectors. Through her experience with regulatory frameworks in the telecommunications, energy and, finally, the higher education sectors, she is highly adept at reading, interpreting and applying legislation. Kha Yen also has strong report writing skills, developed over years of experience preparing reports for the public as well as senior government officials.
Prior to joining Wells Advisory, Kha Yen was part of a team at the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency reviewing applications from entities wanting higher education provider registration. This involved reviewing evidence against the Threshold Standards, particularly around the corporate and academic governance requirements, and making recommendations on whether registration should be granted. She therefore has a sound understanding of what TEQSA requires.
+61 488 318 008
Professor Sue Savage
B ARCH (HONS) UQ
M ARCH (RESEARCH) UQ
DIP ADULT+VOCATIONAL ED GRIFFITH
Professional Roles and Awards:
- Chair, Board of Architects of Queensland (2003-2018)
- Principal Fellow, Higher Education Academy, UK
- Life Fellow, Australian Institute of Architects
- Australian Learning and Teaching Council Discipline Scholar Architecture 2010-2011
- Member (and Director at times) Architects Accreditation Council of Australia (2003-2018)
- Architect (registered in Queensland 1983-current)
Sue has a long history in the higher education sector, most recently providing consultancy services to universities, private providers and accreditation bodies. Prior to this she chaired the Board of Architects in Queensland for 15 years. Sue had a distinguished career at Queensland University of Technology spanning 19 years including as Director of Learning Futures in the Chancellery and as Assistant Dean Learning & Teaching of her cognate faculty for eight years. Sue has significant experience leading integrated curriculum design across disciplines, modernising work-integrated learning and course accreditation.
Sue has continued her education in recent times, completing the Harvard Business School Executive Education course ‘Launching new ventures’ in 2018 and in 2011 completing the Cranlana Program ‘Cultivating wisdom in leadership’. She is currently completing an Executive MBA at QUT.
Sue focuses on working collaboratively with clients to develop solutions that are in the interests of learners. She listens carefully to client’s stories ensuring she gets to heart of the problems they are encountering. Sue is recognised for fusing deep knowledge of the context and practice of learning and teaching in higher education, and in other post-secondary settings, with imaginative problem-solving capability focused always on the benefits that can accrue to a client’s learners.
Sue partners with Wells Advisory on key projects.
+61 416 137 578
Dr Glenn Swafford
PHD, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY
M POL LAW, LA TROBE UNIVERSITY
BA(Hons), University of Wellington
Dr Glenn Swafford is a senior manager with strong interests in policy analysis and development as well as research strategy and advice. Glenn has a 20+ year track record of significant achievement in research management and administration particularly at University of Melbourne where he held senior management roles in its Research and Innovation Office for 15 years and at Oxford University, UK as the Director of Research Services for 10 years. Both offices respectively raked in top rankings for service quality and customer satisfaction under Glenn’s direction and leadership.
Glenn continues to be a strategic advisor of the Research, Innovation and Commercialisation at University of Melbourne and has international experience at board/committee levels. In addition to his university career, Glenn is an executive consultant to a number of international clients and is highly involved in community volunteering and sports.
Glenn partners with Wells Advisory’s clients in the higher education sector nationally and internationally, drawing on his extensive experience in research strategy and management.
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