The William Byrd Fellowship was created to further strengthen the research profile of Excelsia College. It connects the academic community with opportunities to engage with professional choral and vocal musicians, nationally and internationally. The Fellowship will be primarily research-focused with seminars, masterclasses and public performances each semester. The aim is to undertake international and national competitive and high-quality research that will be featured in Tier 1 research journals and publications. This will contribute to music research and scholarship within a Christian worldview. These Tier 1 publications are peer-reviewed as falling within the top 25 percentile ranking based on the real-world impact of the research.


The Fellowship also enables world-class musical practitioners with a passion for improving the performance and understanding of sacred music to understand better the relevance of their music and music-making to local, regional, national, and international communities.


Together with academics and performers, the Fellow will identify and explore mutual interests in Christian sacred music; as well as develop and leverage professional, academic, and technological networks and other resources to generate benefits to music-making in concert and in worship, research, and the wider world.


The first William Byrd Fellow is Antony Pitts, who takes up the newly inaugurated Fellowship in 2023 in honour of the 400th anniversary of the death of the great composer William Byrd. Antony has worked in broadcasting as a Senior Producer for the BBC, as a Senior Lecturer in creative technology at the Royal Academy of Music and was the Artistic Director of Australia’s national vocal ensemble The Song Company for seven years. His music has been commissioned, performed, and recorded on several continents, most notably by his award-winning British ensemble TONUS PEREGRINUS.


As part of the William Byrd Fellowship, Antony Pitts has been commissioned to compose a piece of music for Excelsia Choir that will be performed at the College graduation ceremony in 2025. Through this work, there will be opportunities to mentor students and staff.

Switching careers is a significant decision, but it can be a highly rewarding one. If you’re contemplating a shift to teaching, here are some key insights to consider.


Why Choose a Career in Teaching?

Becoming a teacher holds numerous motivations. Here are some common reasons:


Creating an Impact

For those seeking fulfilment in their professions, teaching offers an exceptional chance to leave a lasting impression on students and, in turn, the world. By imparting knowledge, values, and life skills, you can aid students in developing their understanding, principles, and practical abilities.


Continuous Learning

Teaching is a dynamic field that constantly challenges educators to stay updated with the latest educational techniques, technologies, and trends. If you’re looking for ongoing personal and professional growth, teaching provides the ideal environment. Given the ever-evolving nature of our world, you might even find yourself learning from your students.


Job Stability and Security

The demand for qualified teachers in Australia continues to rise, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that geographical constraints are minimal, allowing you to work in any part of the country. Projections by the New South Wales Teachers Federation say that we will need over 11,000 more teachers by 2030, a number which is set to grow in the following years.


Pursuing a Master’s Degree in Teaching

Enrolling in a master’s degree program in teaching can significantly facilitate your career transition. Such a degree equips you with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel as a teacher. It also readies you to handle classroom challenges and keeps you abreast of the latest educational trends. Excelsia College provides a master’s degree in teaching designed to support your career shift. The program combines rigour with flexibility and offers the chance to learn from experienced educators. The practical classroom experience is also integrated into the curriculum.


Transferable Skills

For both secondary and primary Master of Teaching programs at Excelsia College, your prior bachelor’s degree and non-academic experiences can bolster your application and future career prospects.


Hands-On Experience

Excelsia’s Master of Teaching programs incorporate practical teaching opportunities within real classrooms. These hands-on experiences offer invaluable real-world exposure, allowing aspiring educators to apply theoretical concepts in actual teaching settings. Current teachers supervise these experiences, offering their insights and feedback.


Professional Networking

Pursuing a master’s degree at Excelsia enables you to connect with seasoned educators, professors, and fellow students. This network serves as a valuable support system and provides mentorship opportunities, smoothing your transition into the teaching profession.


Navigating the Transition

Shifting to a teaching career may seem daunting, but it’s entirely achievable. With dedication and hard work, you can realise your dream of becoming a teacher. Tips shared by previous career switchers include:

Research various educational paths. This is particularly relevant for secondary school teachers who specialise in specific subjects and teach across grade levels.

Gain volunteer experience before commencing your course. Volunteering at local events and schools can offer insights into the teaching experience. Excelsia’s program also incorporates hands-on experience through placements in different schools.

Be prepared for long hours and flexibility. Teaching demands dedication, involving preparation beyond classroom hours, including lesson planning, material gathering, and grading.

Persevere through challenges. The journey may present difficulties, but persistence is key. Achieving your goal of becoming a teacher requires dedication and determination.


Frequently Asked Questions

What educational background is required for a master’s in teaching?

Applicants typically need an accredited bachelor’s degree to be eligible for the Master of Teaching program. For specific requirements and admission without prior study, refer to the pages for Master of Teaching (Primary) and Master of Teaching (Secondary).


How long does it take to become a teacher in Australia?

Completing the Master of Teaching program at Excelsia College takes two years of full-time study.


What is the ideal age to pursue teaching?

While individuals starting their careers directly after university are usually around 23, there’s no age limit for becoming a teacher. People of all ages and backgrounds are encouraged to embrace teaching.


Can you teach in NSW without a teaching degree?

To teach in NSW public schools, completion of teacher education studies at a recognised Australian university or tertiary institution is required.

Excelsia College is excited to announce its newest program, ELICOS (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students).


Dr Daisy William is the ELICOS Program Director at Excelsia College. Daisy’s experience spans from management, teaching, lecturing, course coordination, business management and development, private consulting, and ministry. She has a PhD in Financial Management and Corporate Governance from the University of New England, a Master’s in Education (TESOL) from Deakin University, as well as a Bachelor of Theology from the Bible College of Malaysia. As a Christian Program Director, Daisy William is a relational leader that focuses on individuals’ holistic experience. She places importance in relationships by caring and helping students reach their highest potential and be successful in life.


So why should you consider undertaking ELICOS? ELICOS courses at Excelsia College prepare students for living, studying and working in Australia. Languages aren’t just words and grammar, they are a living representation of the culture and the people of a country. It can be difficult to express yourself and be successful in higher education, career and assimilating into your community in Australia without English language skills. Beyond obtaining entry into a course, students not only learn English but also form new connections, discover Australian culture and develop their sense of belonging in Australia. Being a Christian college, we see our students as individuals and not just a number.


The ELICOS courses at Excelsia College also help international students to develop learning strategies and critical thinking skills that can be applied to higher education contexts, as well as in the workplace. International students will develop the ability to better understand language nuances and subtexts, and high proficiency in English could lead to other opportunities that exist locally and globally.


The College offers three levels of English for Academic Purposes (EAP) and five levels of General English (GE). Besides having a multi-level course structure, the ELICOS program will be delivered by highly experienced TESOL teachers with postgraduate qualifications. Students will be placed in their proficiency level and the program is designed to continually assess students’ progress and adjust according to their needs. Excelsia College seeks to equip students to be successful in their higher education studies and we collaborate with academics to provide the best support so that they can seamlessly transition from ELICOS to their degree program.


If you want to find out more, please visit School of ELICOS | Excelsia College

Dr Lex Akers, lecturer in Integrative Studies at Excelsia College, is also a pastor and church leader in the Wesleyan Methodist Church (WMC) of Australia. With 25 years of leadership and pastoral ministry, he is able to provide his unique insights in teaching the Christian message to students across all faiths and denominations. As Father’s Day approaches this Sunday 3 September, Lex shares his thoughts about the relevance of fathers from a Christian perspective.


Father’s Day evokes a spectrum of emotions. For many, it’s an occasion to commemorate and cherish our dads, filling our hearts with family love and joy. For some, it stands as a painful reminder of their inability to have children. Yet for others, it’s a day they’d rather avoid, shielding themselves from memories of a father who brought them pain.


Navigating certain Scriptures on this topic can elicit a similar range of emotions. So, how do we embrace the joys of Father’s Day without overshadowing the pains that some might feel? How can we remain sensitive to everyone’s experiences, while still honoring the essential role of fathers?


For me, the answer lies in the teachings and life of Jesus. In John 14:9b, Jesus proclaims, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.’ This is as if to say, ‘To understand God, observe me. I’m the purest reflection of the Father.’ Basing our notions of Father’s Day solely on our earthly fathers or just the Old Testament might lead us to a skewed perspective of fatherhood. However, looking to Jesus, the God/man, reveals a richer image. We witness a figure embodying love, compassion, tenderness, and care; someone who uplifts the downtrodden but corrects the proud. Delving into the Gospels, we see Jesus continually shining a spotlight on the nature of His Father – a journey that’s both enlightening and heartening.


While it’s crucial to recognise the sorrow some associate with Father’s Day, Jesus’ example serves as a beacon of hope, nudging us to continually strive for better. Reflecting on Jesus’ portrayal of the Father, here are some fatherly attributes we can all aspire to:


  1. Unconditional love: Fathers should love their children selflessly and unconditionally, independent of their actions or decisions.
  2. Mercy and forgiveness: It’s essential for fathers to forgive readily, avoiding resentment. Being understanding of their children’s errors and granting them another chance reflects divine mercy.
  3. Compassion: Fathers should show empathy and understanding, prioritising support and guidance over judgement.
  4. Desire for relationship: A deep and open relationship with their children is paramount, mirroring Jesus’ closeness with the Father.
  5. Righteousness and justice: Instilling values of morality, integrity, and justice in their children is a father’s responsibility, both within the family and in the world at large.
  6. Teaching and wisdom: Through guidance, shared experiences, and wisdom, fathers play a vital role in shaping their children’s lives.
  7. Humility: Demonstrating humility, acknowledging mistakes, and showing readiness to apologise can leave a lasting impression on children.
  8. Inclusivity: Fathers should foster values of inclusivity, teaching children to respect and love all, irrespective of differences.

On behalf of Excelsia College, we would like to wish all the wonderful fathers and father figures in our lives a happy Father’s Day.

Have you been considering a career in counselling or wanting to integrate counselling skills and mental health knowledge into your current profession? There is set to be a strong job growth in the counselling sector, with positions rising to 27,800 counsellors by 2026, according to Jobs and Skills Australia Employment Projections to 2026. So there’s no better time to consider studying counselling at Excelsia College in 2024. With flexibility in the way you study and the ability to work while you learn, you can fit your studies to suit your lifestyle.


For those curious to see whether counselling could be a suitable career path, Excelsia College offers a Graduate Certificate in Counselling. Students will undertake foundational subjects such as ‘Approaches to Mental Health’ and ‘Counselling Theories and Models’ over six months full-time study. For those set on practising as a counsellor, there is a Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Master of Counselling. Excelsia’s counselling courses are taught from a Christian framework and look at not only the emotional and psychological wellbeing of individuals but also spiritual wellbeing.


Graduate Diploma of Counselling applicants may be admitted if they have previously successfully completed a relevant bachelor degree or bachelor honours degree, but applicants without such undergraduate qualifications can apply for admission via the work and life experience pathway which includes experience in relevant paid or volunteer work or contribution to church life. Graduates can go on to the Master of Counselling and build on their theoretical knowledge. Within the Master’s program, students will undertake 100 hours of placement involving direct client contact hours, undertake 25 hours of clinical supervision, and have free personal counselling. Real-world experience gives graduates the confidence to practise as counsellors within their selected area, including agencies, community health centres, hospitals or in private practice.


Both the Graduate Diploma of Counselling and Master of Counselling are formally accredited by the Australian Counselling Association (ACA), and the Master’s program is also accredited by the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA).


Excelsia College is also pleased to introduce our new senior lecturer in counselling Lauren Poole. Lauren holds a PhD in Psychology and a Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education Practice from Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. She also holds a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy from the Australian College of Applied Professions (ACAP) and is a PACFA Certified Practising Counsellor. With over 10 years’ experience in higher education teaching across four institutions in the disciplines of psychology and counselling, as well as experience in curriculum design and course coordination, Lauren is ready to use her experience and expertise to help train and equip our counselling students.


Our students have been deeply impacted by our counselling courses, just ask Anna Greenwell. The 2022 Valedictorian shared in her graduation speech, ‘I am grateful for having chosen Excelsia College. The task of forming courageous, competent and compassionate mental health practitioners is critical for our society and Excelsia has prepared us well. The “Excelsia” approach lifted our gaze and taught us to see our clients beyond a set of behaviours, and beyond the mere need to adapt to an environment or situation, to truly receive the unique individual in front of us.


I am encouraged, inspired, and humbled to be part of my new profession and I hope you, too, share my excitement and sense of privilege, in getting to be a “holder of hope” and witnessing the healing and restoration this brings to people’s lives.’


If you feel inspired to make a positive difference in the lives of others like Anna and want to learn counselling within a Christian framework, why not explore Excelsia College’s counselling courses today?

George Zhao studied the Bachelor of Dramatic Art at Excelsia College and graduated in 2015. He’s been determined to pave a way in the acting industry and landed his breakout role as Andrew Law in SBS TV’s drama-comedy series The Family Law in 2016.


He also won the Rising Star Award at the Casting Guild of Australia (CGA) in 2018 and an MEAA (Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) Best Ensemble Cast for comedy for his role in The Family Law. He’s also acted in the film Runaway Millionaires in 2019.


For George, it was a chance encounter in even finding out about Excelsia College (then Wesley Institute), after coming across the campus during a visit with a chaplain he was working for at the time. After deciding that Excelsia was the right fit for him, George enrolled in the Bachelor of Dramatic Art and was able to develop an in-depth insight into acting within a supportive and caring environment. ‘My lecturers didn’t shy away from the harshness of the industry that I would be going into.’


Through the guidance of his peers and teachers, George undertook a lot of self-discovery. ‘I learned a lot about myself and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Excelsia was the perfect place to cultivate crafts.’ Excelsia College endeavors to know its students by name and not by number and George appreciated this close-knit community. ‘The classes were small and frequent and allowed me to develop strong relationships with my classmates. Eventually I saw my classmates as more than my family; they shared my worries, joys and passions.’


George describes Excelsia as ‘hopeful, community and love’. He continues, ‘The fact that Excelsia still stands as a recognised beacon of creativity and faith is a testament to the passion and care of those working in the institution.’


There’s no doubt George has worked hard to carve out roles for himself as he explains, ‘I am still in the acting industry, but with more bruises, scars and a grizzled adventure beard. Joking. I’m Asian, I couldn’t grow a beard if I paid for it.’ Most recently George starred in Gold Diggers, an ABC show set in Australia during the 1850s where he plays the love interest of the younger sister. He also performed in a one-man show at the Opera House called Yong by Monkey Baa Theatre Company.


If you’re curious about exploring a career in the creative and performing arts industry and want to learn from industry professionals, why not explore our Bachelor of Dramatic Art? You never know the foundations it could set for you like it did for George.

Excelsia College News | George Zhao – Acting his way to the top

Riley Clemmons is a 23-year-old American Christian musician who plays Christian pop style contemporary worship music. Originally from Nashville, Tennessee, she is known for her Christian radio hits ‘Keep on Hoping’ and ‘Broken Prayers’. Across the globe, over 527.5 million people have streamed Riley’s music and she has had 85 million YouTube video views since starting her music journey a decade ago. Riley skyrocketed onto the scene with her 2017 Capitol CMG debut single ‘Broken Prayers’, which has generated over 56 million global streams since its release.


The talented musician will be performing ‘Fighting For Me’ which has received over 147.5 million streams, as well as ‘For The Good’ and ‘Loved By You’ at The Gathering next Wednesday 30 August. On top of this, the rising star will be running voice talent and song-writing workshops for those interested. Attendees will also have the chance to ask any questions they may have.


All Excelsia College staff, students, alumni and the community are welcome to attend this free event. Seating is limited so make sure you secure your spot at the following Eventbrite link

Gordon Bobin, Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Quality at Excelsia College is responsible for quality and strategy across the College. Having worked previously in secondary education and educational administration for over a decade, Gordon is taking the next step in educational leadership as a Board Member of The McDonald College. ‘What attracted me to The McDonald College was their unique model for learning and teaching, where students have the opportunity to pursue a range of different pursuits and explore their various talents while still maintaining a high-level of focus on their academic development. The college takes a collaborative approach to achieve this, working with parents and students to understand how they learn best, and supporting them in the areas they feel most passionate about.’


Gordon originally had no specific intentions to work in the higher education sector. God changed Gordon’s heart after he felt inspired by the College’s vision of becoming Australia’s first multi-denominational Christian university. ‘It was about wanting to be part of that journey and something greater than myself that really inspired me. Since then, it’s probably been the best decision of my career,’ explains Gordon.


Through taking that first uncertain step, Gordon has learned to trust the path before him and develop the patience for God’s plans for him, even if they aren’t obvious straight away. God was also able to use Gordon’s understanding of education and relating to students in his role. ‘Developing and applying emotional intelligence is something you need to have when you’re dealing with adolescents and students that are going through difficult times.’


Gordon believes the best way to demonstrate his beliefs and values is by example and by being the best person he can be. ‘I like to show people my values through my actions rather than through my words. I hope people would find me to have good morals and ethics by my actions and the way I interact with others. It’s about trying to live that as best I can.’ It is this kindness which Gordon imparts to all that he engages with in his daily life, and he has learned to always try to speak and act with kindness. ‘I was brought up to always be respectful of others, and in my career, I have always done my best to demonstrate this with my team and colleagues.’


When people share a common set of values like staff and students at Excelsia College, including a desire to be Christ-like, innovative and creative, as well as lifelong learners, it is amazing what can be achieved. At Excelsia, Gordon has been blown away at the levels of what people are capable of. ‘Throughout my time at Excelsia, I’ve witnessed a number of achievements in the life of the College, including seeing the College expand from three to five schools, increase its number of courses, and grow significantly in student numbers. None of these things happen without God and without a great group of people all working as one team.’


Reflecting on Excelsia’s 40 years of Christian higher education, Gordon says, ‘The College has come a very long way in these past few years, but I think that even greater things are still to come. This year’s fortieth anniversary celebrations are a perfect opportunity for us to reflect on where we’ve come from and celebrate where we are, but also look to the future and move forward with great optimism.’


If you want to be a part of a workplace where you can grow and develop in your career, why not visit our website for job opportunities?

Excelsia College loved celebrating with alumni at the College’s 40th anniversary celebrations on Saturday 5 August. It was such a special time of meeting together and seeing how far the College has come. Staff and alumni also spent time in worship and sung ‘Goodness of God’ and ‘What A Beautiful Name’, two songs that perfectly encapsulate God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout the four decades of the College.

Chief Executive Peter McKeon shared some words and reflections with the people gathered and gifts were exchanged including custom-made soy vanilla candles and Excelsia College’s 40th anniversary book, complete with 40 alumni stories.


Chris Cerinich, a 2006 Bachelor of Creative Arts Music Performance alumnus, found the event the perfect opportunity to worship with his classmates: ‘It was a great day out and a lovely way to reconnect with classmates I hadn’t seen in over 16 years,’ he explains.


Vonnie Ho, 2022 counselling graduate, likewise had a positive experience as she explained, ‘I felt so happy to be back at Excelsia College for a visit! It’s been so wonderful to see how the College has grown, get to know other alumni, and listen to their stories. I must say I had a “goosebumps” experience when we worshipped together; it made me miss the good old days of worshipping in College again!’


For Class of 2006 alumnus Kim Rodgers, it was a walk down memory lane, reconnecting with old classmates. ‘The open day was a vibrant atmosphere showcasing Excelsia as it is now and celebrating the past 40 years. It was a pleasure seeing photographs of old friends and reminiscing with those who were present, and it was a surprise to be treated to a high tea and gifts!’


Excelsia College is proud of the graduates who have gone out to positively impact the world and look forward to continuing to strive towards university college status.


You can view a pdf version of Excelsia College’s 40th anniversary book here.

Hailey McQueen (nee Barrett) studied her Bachelor of Creative Arts (Theatre Performance) from 2000 to 2002 and graduated in 2003 as valedictorian. Twenty years on and she is still firmly connected with Excelsia College!


Hailey knew she wanted to study acting after finishing school but to pursue her dreams she had to make the move from her hometown on the South Coast of New South Wales. ‘When a family friend recommended the College and after I attended an open day, I knew it was the place for me. I was drawn to the Christian environment, the caring and close-knit community, and the practical and comprehensive outline of the theatre performance course, says Hailey. Hailey describes the experience as ‘nothing short of life changing’ and became inspired by her lecturers who genuinely cared for and championed their students. ‘They created a safe environment for learning and personal development with lashings of grace that made me feel safe and valued. Their masterful example of driven, focused, and dedicated creative process helped me grow and introduced me to new ways of seeing the world. They continue to inspire me as an artist to approach my practice with excellence and empathy,’ explains Hailey.


Finding friendships when you’ve left your family and friends behind are essential and Hailey found deep and defining relationships. ‘Spending three years in close community with people who share a deep affinity with each other is rare and precious. I am so grateful for my classmates and the time we spent creating, laughing, and growing together – they have become family.’ Some of Hailey’s key highlights include naps and chats in the sun on the ‘grassy knoll’ at the College’s Drummoyne campus.


During her time as a student, Hailey was gifted with opportunities to build skills in leadership and creative collaboration. ‘I was encouraged in my spiritual formation and inspired to explore my own unique creative practice in a safe environment. It has allowed me to become a “maker”, to solve problems, make headway on personally meaningful goals, and complete challenging projects with humility and empathy.’ Since graduating, Hailey has worked in a number of roles, from acting across the stage and screen to working as a producer and director for independent shows across Sydney. She is also co-founder and artistic director of Clock and Spiel Productions. For Hailey, however, one of her greatest roles has been lecturing in the drama department at Excelsia for the past 15 years. ‘It’s a privilege to work alongside the students, advocating for them as unique artists and encouraging them in their creative endeavours.


When reflecting on the College turning 40, Hailey’s attention turns to those that have gone before and paved the way for this landmark occasion to be reached, including David Johnston, whose vision for a creative arts college set it all in motion. ‘Their creativity, tenacity and sacrifice in building such a vision, through the highs and lows, is to be honoured and celebrated. We would not have such a life-defining education and community without them. They built a strong community, a family of people who are still cheering each other on today.’


If you want to find out more about our creative and performing arts courses, please visit our website,

Excelsia College News | Hailey McQueen (nee Barrett) – From student to teacher