Excelsia College

School of Education

Michael Parzakonis | Excelsia College | School of Education

Associate Lecturer Education

Michael Parzakonis

Master of Teaching (Secondary), Bachelor of Arts (Ancient History & Management) – University of Sydney
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

michael.parzakonis@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Michael is a passionate advocate for the power of education as a tool for change and progression as a society, not only in relation to knowledge and technology, but our collective ideas and cultural values. One of his favourite quotes being, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”  Socrates, Ancient Greek Philosopher (5th Century BC).

As an Associate Lecturer, Michael aims to play a significant role in helping upcoming educators develop their skills and passions to become accomplished educators who can kindle the flames of our future generations.

Profile of Michael Parazakonis

Education

Michael completed a Bachelor of Arts (Ancient History and Management) at the University of Sydney in 2016. He studied a variety of topic areas, including Archaeology, History, Anthropology, Classics, Linguistics, Business Management and Accounting. Additionally, at the University of Sydney, he completed a Master of Teaching (Secondary), specialising in Ancient History, Business Studies and Commerce.

Recent projects

Helped launch an Action Research Project relating to the development of literacy skills for students in Southwest Sydney. This was an initiative he was part of as a committee member of the HPG team within an NSW Department of Education school setting.

Research Interests

• Collective Memory and the Teaching of History

• Literacy Education

• Cognitive Load Theory

• Differentiation for High Potential and Gifted Students

Associations

Member of the History Teachers Association of NSW since 2017.

Member of the NSW Teachers Federation since 2018.

NESA Accredited Proficient Teacher.

Adam Willing | Social Science | Exclesia

Social Science Lecturer

Adam Willing

 Master Social Work Counselling 

Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

adam.willing@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

 Adam Willing is a trauma therapist and social work practitioner, with a Masters in Counselling Social Work. For over 10 years Adam has worked within the contexts of child protection, domestic and family abuse, family therapy, parenting and caregiver support, out of home care, child and adolescent mental health, and complex and developmental trauma. 

 

Outside of Excelsia College, Adam is currently dividing his time working in the non-government sector as a child, adolescent and family counsellor and his own private practice. 

Profile of Adam Willing

Education

 Adam has attained his Masters’ degree in Counselling Social Work in 2020 with an undergraduate degree in Social Work. 

Awards and Honours

 Adam has undergone specialised training in child protection, sandtray therapy, and trauma-informed therapy. 

Research interests

 Adam is predominantly interested in trauma informed practice, attachment-based therapy, and creative and expressive therapies. 

Associations

 Adam is a current member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. 

Nadia Di Martino | Bachelor of Early Childhood Education | Excelsia College

Associate Lecturer and Course Coordinator
Bachelor of Early Childhood Education (Birth to 5)

Nadia Di Martino

Master of Teaching (0-5),
Master of Mental Health Practice,
Graduate Certificate of Education Studies (Research) 
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

nadia.dimartino@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Nadia believes in the power of early childhood education as ‘the great equaliser’ at a time when inequality is spiralling out of control. She believes that some of the hardest challenges in today’s society — including addiction, homelessness, and poor mental health — have their roots in the earliest years of a person’s life. These challenges can be prevented if all children have access to free quality care and education, so they can become happy and responsible future citizens.  

 

Nadia’s teaching experience spans from early childhood education to primary education units. She has supervised, coached and mentored practicum students for Australian Catholic University, Southern Cross University and TAFE. Nadia has worked for Western Sydney University in course development, helping finalise new undergraduate units in early childhood education and multiculturalism. She also has experience working as a learning advisor for Swinburne University. 

 

Nadia is working on her PhD at the University of Newcastle. Her project explores international students’ identities through arts-based research methods and ‘French Theory.’ 

 

As a Course Coordinator, Nadia aims to support preservice teachers find their voice and become creative, passionate and inspiring teachers.   

Profile of Nadia Di Martino

Education

Nadia is a PhD Candidate at University of Newcastle. After completing her Master of Teaching (0-5) at Macquarie University, she decided to study counselling to best support children, teachers, parents and students. In 2020, she completed a Master of Mental Health Practice at University of New England, becoming passionate about group counselling and art therapy.

Recent projects

I am working on my doctoral project on international preservice teachers’ pedagogical subjectivities and culturally informed pedagogies. I am exploring how care pedagogies may differ in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) teachers and how this richness may help diversify teaching approaches while dismantling the false ‘care vs education’ dichotomy.

 

June 2022. Conference presentation at RECE Reconceptualising early childhood education, Toronto. The online classroom as a culturally responsive place.

Research Interests

• International students’ pedagogical identities 

• Placements as transformative spaces

• DeleuzoGuattarian philosophy

• Culturally informed care pedagogies

• International comparative ethnographic studies of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC)

• Creative arts therapy approaches used to enhance inclusion and student wellbeing

Associations

I am a trained member of the Society of Transnational Academic Researchers (STAR) and a member of Equity Practitioners in Higher Education Australasia (EPHEA).

Selected publications

Liu, R., & Di Martino, N. (2022). Non-verbal interaction in the early years: Case study of Mandarin learning in Australia. Journal of Silence Studies in Education, 1(2), 1-11. 

Dr Kofi Awuviry-Newton | Excelsia

Social Science Lecturer

Dr Kofi Awuviry-Newton

 PhD, BA, Graduate

Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

kofi.awuviry-newton@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Dr Kofi Awuviry-Newton is a social worker and social gerontologist with expertise in applying mixed methods into studying the healthy ageing. Kofi has spent 7 years in practising social work in the areas of correctional services, ageing, disability, family wellbeing and gerontological education. Kofi has extensive experience teaching in public health, social work and gerontology from the University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University, University of Newcastle, and Acknowledge Education in Australia. Kofi sees issues in a multidirectional lens and apply critical thinking in research and educating students. 

Profile of Dr Kofi Awuviry-Newton

Education

Graduate Certificate in University Teaching, Federation University, 2022, Australia. 

PhD Gerontology and Geriatrics, University of Newcastle, 2021, Australia. 

Bachelor of Social Work, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, 2015, Ghana. 

Awards and Honours

Kofi is a recipient of the University of Newcastle Postgraduate Research Scholarship and University of Newcastle Research Scholarship. He is also a receiver of travel grants from the Center for Education and Population and Ageing Research (CEPAR) and the Emerging Researchers in Ageing in Australia. Kofi received a research grant in an amount of $25,000 with some researcher of the University of Wollongong to conduct research on the integration of refugees’ migrants in the communities. 

Research interests

 Social work education; Long-term care; Health systems research; Disability Ageing 

Associations

Australian Association of Gerontology 

January 2017-till date: A member 

Canadian Association of Gerontology 

October 2019-till date: A member 

Selected publications

1. Awuviry-Newton, K., Tavener, M., Wales, K., & Byles, J. (2022). Using ethics of care as the theoretical lens to understand lived experiences of caregivers of older adults experiencing functional difficulties. Plos one, 17(5), e0267658. 

2. Asiamah, N., Lowry, R., Khan, H. T., & Awuviry-Newton, K. (2022). Associations between social support provided and walkability among older adults: health self-consciousness as a moderator. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 104691. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.archger.2022.104691. 

3. Awuviry-Newton, K., Amoah, D., Tavener, M., Afram, A. A., Dintrans, P. V., Byles, J., & Kowal, P. (2022). Food Insecurity and Functional Disability Among Older Adults in Ghana: The Role of Sex and Physical Activity. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2022.01.065 

4. Gyasi, R. M., Abass, K., Frempong, F., Obodai, J., Asamoah, E., Obeng, B., & Awuviry-Newton, K. (2022). Food insecurity and geriatric functional limitations: Observational analysis from the AgeHeaPsyWel–HeaSeeB Survey. Experimental Gerontology, 111707. 

5. Awuviry-Newton, K., Ofori-Dua, K., Deku, C. S., Abekah-Carter, K., Awortwe, V., & Oti, G. O. (2022). Prevalence and determinants of care needs among older people in Ghana. PloS one, 17(2), e0263965. 

6. Janssen, H., Awuviry-Newton, K., Simpson, D., Denham, A., Bird, M. L., Haracz, K., … & Bernhardt, J. (2021, October). Exercising, Socialising and Thinking: Environmental Enrichment Model (ESTEEM) After Stroke: Preferences of people living with stroke for a model of environmental enrichment to continue peer-supported stroke recovery in the community. In INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF STROKE (Vol. 16, No. 1_ SUPPL, pp. 14-14). 1 OLIVERS YARD, 55 CITY ROAD, LONDON EC1Y 1SP, ENGLAND: SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD. 

7. Asante, E. A., Awuviry-Newton, K., & Abekah-Carter, K. (2021). Social Networks in Limbo. The Experiences of Older Adults During COVID-19 in Ghana. Front. Public Health, 9, 772933. 

8. Awuviry-Newton, K., Nkansah, J. O., Newton, A., & Abekah-Carter, K. (2021). Older people’s long-term care experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana: a qualitative descriptive study. International Journal of Care and Caring. 

9. Aregbeshola, B. S., Onifade, O. M., & Awuviry-Newton, K. (2021). Prevalence and correlates of anaemia among children aged 6 to 59 months in Nigeria. World Nutrition, 12(3), 58-74. 

10. Asiamah, N., Vieira, E. R., Kouveliotis, K., Gasana, J., Awuviry-Newton, K., & Eduafo, R. (2021). Associations between older African academics’ physical activity, walkability and mental health: a social distancing perspective. Health promotion international. 

11. Asare-Doku, W., Donnir, G. M., Ae-Ngibise, K., Peprah, J., Awuviry-Newton, K., & Acquah, F. (2021). Psychiatric Disorders among the Military in West Africa: A Systematic Narrative Review. Behavioral Sciences, 11(10), 138. 

12. Newton, Abraham; Awuviry-Newton, K; Nkansah, Jacob Oppong & Abekah-Carter, Kwamina (2021). Understanding older adults’ functioning and health-seeking behaviour during COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana: A Qualitative Descriptive Study, Health and Social care in the community. doi: 10.1111/hsc.13452 

CRICOS Provider Code: 02664K | ABN 50 360 319 774 

13. Awuviry-Newton, K; Wales, Kylie; Tavener, Meredith; Kowal, Paul & Byles, Julie (2021). Functional difficulties and toileting among older adults in Ghana: evidence from the World Health Organisation Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Ghana Wave 1. Ageing and Society, 1-23. doi:10.1017/S0144686X21000453 

14. Awuviry-Newton, K., Tavener, M., Wales, K., Denham, A. M., & Byles, J. (2021). A meta-synthesis of care and support for older adults in Africa. Journal of Family Studies, 1-22. 

15. Awuviry-Newton, K., Ofori-Dua, K., & Newton, A. (2021). Understanding Transportation difficulty among older adults in Ghana from the perspective of the World Health Organizations (WHO) Healthy Ageing framework: Lessons for Improving Social Work Practice with Older Adults. British Journal of Social Work. 10.1093/bjsw/bcaa247. 

16. Nkansah, B; Awuviry-Newton, K; Gyasi, Moses; Newton, Abraham & Boateng, Akosua Serwaa-Adomako (2021). Who doesn’t have challenges? I have a lot of challenges”: Exploring the challenges and coping strategies of neglected older adults in Ghana, 1-12, Journal of Cross Cultural Gerontology. 

17. Awuviry-Newton, K., Ofori-Dua, K., & Newton, A. (2020). Correlates of older adult inpatients’ personal care provision to people with functional difficulties in Ghana. PloS one, 15(10), e0238693. 

18. Awuviry-Newton, K., Tavener, M., Wales, K., & Byles, J. (2020). The roles and capacities of social workers in the lives of older adults seeking healthcare and their caregivers in Ghana. Health and Social Care in the Community https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13121 

19. Awuviry-Newton, K; Kylie, Wales, Tavener, Meredith & Byles, Julie (2020). Do factors across the World Health Organisation International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework explain perceived caregiver availability for community-dwelling older adults in Ghana? Plos One 

20. Awuviry-Newton, K., Tavener, M., Wales, K., & Byles, J. (2020). Interpretative phenomenological analysis of the lived experiences older adults regarding their functional activities in Ghana. Journal of Primary Care and Community Health https://doi.org/10.1177/2150132720931110 

21. Awuviry-Newton, K., Nkansah, J.O, & Ofori-Dua, K. (2020). Attributions of elder neglect: A phenomenological study of older people in Ghana. Health and Social Care in the Community, DOI:10.1111/hsc.13028. 

22. Ampofo, A. G., Adumatta, A. D., Owusu, E., & Awuviry-Newton, K. (2020). A cross-sectional study of barriers to cervical cancer screening uptake in Ghana: An application of the health belief model. PloS one, 15(4), e0231459. 

23. Barnie, A. J., Nyarko, A. S., Dapaah, J. M., Appiah, S. C. Y., & Awuviry-Newton, K. (2017). Understanding Youth Violence in Kumasi: Does Community Socialization Matter? A Cross-Sectional Study. Urban Studies Research, 2017. 

Jessica Ghali | Social Work | Excelsia

Social Science Lecturer

Jessica Ghali

Master Counselling and Psychotherapy 

Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

jessica.ghali@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

 Jessica Ghali is a therapist who is passionate about working with youths and refugees in crisis. She has worked in a range of settings with children who have experienced traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, their carers and communities. 

Profile of Jessica Ghali

Education

 Jessica has attained her Masters’ degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2018 with an undergraduate degree in Medical Science, majoring in Human Bio-science. Hence her interest in neuropsychology and psychosomatic modalities. 

Awards and Honours

 Jessica has undergone specialised training in suicidal ideation, mental health emergency intervention, trauma-informed therapy and addictions. 

Research interests

 Jessica is currently pursuing a number of research interests including culturally sensitive practice and psychosomatic therapeutic integration. 

Associations

 Jessica has a PACFA certified degree in counselling and psychotherapy. She currently teaches at Western Sydney University. 

Selected publications

 Jessica has written and facilitated a number of psychoeducational programs and intervention strategies addressing issues ranging from addiction, homelessness, mental health and wellbeing. 

Field Education Liaison Officer

Nicky Golan

Bachelor of Social Work, Master of Social Work with Merit, Master of Public Health
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

nicky.golan@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Nicky has over 25 years’ experience in clinical practice, research, academia, and public and private health management. She has extensive experience consulting to human service agencies, not for profit organisations and small businesses. 

Nicky has had a diverse career including specialising in clinical work in the acute care, primary care, community, and private sectors. She has worked in executive management and senior quality improvement roles across a range of settings. She has diverse experience teaching across multiple Universities and Higher Education facilities and Colleges in both undergraduate and postgraduate in Social Work and other human services courses and degrees. 

She is a specialist in Social Work workplace learning and is particularly skilled in imparting Social Work theory and concepts in a way that students can connect with meaningfully and personally. 

Profile of Nicky Golan

Education

 Her qualifications include a Bachelor of Social Work, A Master of Social Work with Merit and a Master of Public Health. 

Awards and Honours

Nicky has received the ACHS Quality Award for developing a Public Hospital and Community Services Staff Peer Support Model. 

She has received a Better Practice Award by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency for The Advanced Care Planning Project for a group of residential aged care facilities. 

Nicky has been invited to be a panel member on a number of the NSW / Vic Field Education Series, CUFEG NSW. 

She has been invited to be on several course advisory groups at various Universities. 

She has presented research and conceptual papers at various professional conferences throughout her career. 

Research Interests

Nicky has several research and interest areas; she is particularly interested in supporting International Students to transition successfully to the Western Social Work post graduate context and required expectations. Through the field education program, she supports International Social Work students to work closely with agencies and complete a thorough and complex research project culminating in a detailed business case / service proposal. In this capacity, students learn and develop the full scope of qualitative research and project management and in doing so, also contribute meaningfully to agencies. 

The research projects are focused within Nicky’s areas of interest and commitments; supporting and empowering women, naming, voicing and addressing social injustices and using methodologies, theories and approaches that are empowering, deconstructing of the dominant discourse and supportive of the marginalised and disenfranchised. 

Associations

Nicky is a member of the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association, the Higher Education Management Group, LeadX, a Leadership and Development Program and the Emotional Intelligence & Diversity Institute. 

She is a member of the Small Business & Independent Consultant Network and of the Innovation Management Group. 

She is also a member of the Cross-Cultural Coaching & Counselling Group and the Learning, Education, and Training Professionals Group. 

She is a member of the Grief and Loss Professional Network, The Narrative Practice and Discussion Group, The Trauma Informed Educators Network and the Trauma Informed Professionals Collaboration Network. 

Mona Luxton | Excelsia College | Master of Social Work

Social Work Lecturer

Mona Luxton

Master of Social Work (Professional Qualifying), Master of Counselling, Diploma of Community Services, Advanced Diploma Counselling and Family Therapy
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

mona.luxton@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Mona Luxton commenced teaching at Excelsia College school of counselling in 2019. Mona has been working as a professional counsellor and psychotherapist since 2002 and has attained a vast range of experience in various types of therapies and modalities for counselling issues. Mona has had a particular interest in working with victims of Domestic and Family Violence. She founded the Bay City Care Community Support and Counselling Centre in 2010 where she continues to work as the service manager. 

Mona has a Master of Social Work (professional qualifying) at Southern Cross University. In 2022 Mona joined the Social Work team at Excelsia as a Social Work lecturer. 

Profile of Mona Luxton

Education

Mona completed a Master of Social Work (professional qualifying) at Southern Cross University a Master of Counselling at Wesley Institute in 2012, a Diploma of Community Services also in 2012 and an Advanced Diploma Counselling and Family Therapy Australian Institute of Family Counselling. 

Awards and Honours

 Mona has received the Bayside Citizen of the Year – 2018 award for her contribution to Domestic Violence Prevention; The Local Women of the Year – 2014 for her contribution to Domestic Violence Prevention and the Local Volunteer of the Year – 2013 for contribution to Domestic Violence Prevention. 

Research Interests

Mona’s research interests include the complexities of working with Domestic Violence and the current issue of gender inequality as a long-standing root cause of domestic violence. 

Associations

 Mona is a graduate member of the AASW, a Clinical member and registered supervisor of the CCAA and a level 4 member of the College of supervisors with the ACA. 

Academic staff | Bonny Cotter | Excelsia College

Field Education Supervisor

 Bonny Cotter 

 social work supervisor and practitioner 

Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

Amy@actingmanagement.page

Biographical details

 Bonny Cotter is a social work supervisor and practitioner, with over twenty-five years’ social work experience in both government and community organisations. She is currently working as Program Manager at Bridging the Gap in Western Sydney, delivering services to vulnerable and disadvantaged children and their families within the local community, promoting partnerships and developing organizational policy. Bonny has also trained and worked as a music therapist within the disability and aged care sector and delivered group music therapy programs to parents and children to strengthen attachment and address trauma. 

Profile of Bonny Cotter

Education

 Bonny completed her Bachelor of Social Work at the University of New South Wales in 1985. She also obtained a Graduate Diploma in Creative Music Therapy (Nordoff-Robbins) in 2003. Bonny also holds a Diploma in Community Service Co-ordination and a Graduate Certificate in Developmental Trauma (Australian Childhood Foundation) 

Research interests

 Bonny is particularly interested in trauma informed practice, creative and expressive therapies, human rights and ethics. 

Associations

 Bonny is a current member of the Australian Association of Social Workers. 

Academic staff | Amy Lee | Excelsia College

Casual Lecturer

Amy Lee

FCPA, Exe MBA (AGSM), BCom (UNSW)
Contact Details

Telephone Number: 02 9000 9604

LinkedIn: Amy KW Lee

Email

amy.lee@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

A Doctorate candidate in Business Administration (International Management) with Geneva Business School in Switzerland, I hold an MBA from AGSM, a Fellow of CPA Australia, and graduated at UNSW with a Bachelor of Commerce (Merit). I am an entrepreneur as I found two CPA Public Accounting Practices – Acting Management and Cohort Partners. Before that, I was the Commercial Director at Medacs Healthcare Group and Director of Finance, the Asia Pacific with Odgers Berndtson.

 

In my executive capacity, I have over 15 years of qualified financial and management experience in strategies implementation, change management, due diligence, management and financial reporting, cash flow management, business development, and business expansion, especially in the Asia Pacific.

 

I have a long teaching history and am very passionate about passing my skills and knowledge to the next generation. I am currently a Professional Year Trainer with Navitas Professional and Lecturer at La Trobe University, Federation University, and Sydney University.

Profile of Amy Lee

Education

Geneva Business School, Switzerland

Doctorate candidate in Business Administration, 2022

 

University of New South Wales

Executive MBA 2013

Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Finance 1994

 

CPA Australia – Fellow

Leadership

Hong Kong Australia Business Association

Immediate Past President 2020 | President 2019

 

Liberal Party NSW

Candidate – Member of Legislative Council 2019

Candidate – City of Ryde Council 2016

Dr Lex Akers | Excelsia College

MAR. Associate Lecturer

Dr Lex Akers

Certificate IV in Civil Engineering, Certificate IV in Training and Assessing, Bachelor of Ministry, Bachelor of Business, Doctor of Ministry
Contact Details

Telephone Number

02 9000 9604

Email

lex.akers@excelsia.edu.au

Biographical details

Rev. Dr. Lex Akers is a pastor and church leader in the Wesleyan Methodist Church (WMC) of Australia. He currently serves as the District Superintendent of the WMC for NSW/ACT as well as the assistant National Superintendent. Dr Lex has had experience in Civil Engineering, Business and Management before becoming a pastor. Dr Lex joined Excelsia in 2017. With 25 years of leadership and pastoral ministry he brings unique insights to teaching the Christian message to students of all faiths.

Profile of Lex Akers

Education

Dr. Lex holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena California. He also holds a Bachelor of Ministry Degree from Kingsley College in Melbourne and a Bachelor of Business (Management and Human Resource Management) from Queensland University of Technology. Additionally Dr. Lex has Certificate IV qualifications in Civil Engineering and Training and Assessment.

Research Interests

Discipleship, Practical Religion

Awards and Honours

• QUT Faculty of Business Northern Corridor Community Achievement Award

• Australian Institute of Management Prize