Professor Denise Wood AM | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Professor Denise Wood AM

PhD, MEdTech, MDn, DipSocSc, DipInsComp, BA (SW), MACS, MACE


  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students)
+61 7 5456 5458
Office location
B1.60, Level 1, Building B
Sunshine Coast
Professor Denise Wood

Professor Denise Wood has a fervent commitment to research and the education of people from underrepresented groups, which puts her in great stead to lead as the Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Sunshine Coast (Students).

Responsible for the overall vision and effectiveness of initiatives that enable students to realise their fullest academic and personal potential, Professor Wood also provides leadership in fostering excellence across the portfolios of Student Services and Engagement and Indigenous Services. She also chairs the University’s Learning and Teaching Committee.

Prior to her appointment at UniSC in 2019, Professor Wood served as Engaged Research Chair and Director of the LEAP Research Centre. She also worked for 12 years at the University of South Australia in various roles, including Associate Head of School (Learning and Teaching) in the School of Communication, Internal Studies and Languages. During that time, she was appointed to an Adjunct Professorial position in the Faculty of Education at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, where she was undertaking collaborative research focusing on improving education outcomes of people from under-represented groups in regional provinces of South Africa.

Her research focuses on strategies for improving educational access and participation, particularly for under-represented groups including those in regional and remote locations, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people with disabilities.

Professor Wood was awarded Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2017 for significant service to education as an academic, researcher and practitioner in the field of participation, inclusion and access. She was also awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2010.


Denise has received several awards in recognition of her research and teaching, and contribution to improving outcomes of people from under-represented groups including: 

  • Member of the Order of Australia Award (AM) for significant service to education as an academic, researcher and practitioner in the field of participation, inclusion and access (2017). 
  • Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning for sustained excellence in engaging undergraduate students through service learning and research activities that promote social and ethical action and enhance the student learning experience (2010).  
  • Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell Award for Telecommunications and Disability (2010). 
  • Premier's Public Sector Engagement Award (Building Communities category) for Sustainable Online Community Engagement Project (2009). 
  • South Australian Information Technology Achiever of the Year, (Comtec) (1994). 
  • S.A. Great Award for Services to a Special Field - Disability (1994). 

Denise is a member of the Equity in Higher Education Panel appointed by the Minister for Education in 2020 and former member of the Equity Research and Innovation Panel.  

She is also a member of the State-wide NDIS Workability Advisory Group and the FASD CQ Alliance, and Deputy Chair of the Australasian Congress of Undergraduate Research and a Member of the World Conference on Undergraduate Research Organising Committee. 

Denise is a professional member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW), the Australian Computer Society (ACS) and the Australian Council of Education (ACE). 

Denise’s research focuses on strategies for improving the educational and social participation of people from under-represented groups including people in regional and remote locations and people with disabilities. Denise’s research also contributes to the scholarship of learning and teaching at the local, national and international level. She is currently leading a project funded by Jobs Queensland in partnership with Community Services Industry Alliance, CSIRO and Global Community Resourcing investigating the workforce and training needs resulting from the roll-out of the NDIS across Queensland.

Denise has received more than $8 million in competitive grants funding over the last 10 years including several national projects. Denise was a Chief Investigator (CI) for the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre (2011–2016), as well as on three international projects led by the University of the Western Cape where she held an Adjunct Professorial position. She has been an assessor for the Australian Government’s learning and teaching grants and awards, and is an expert reviewer for the South African National Research Foundation, the United States National Science Foundation and the Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation.

Research areas

  • Educational and social participation of people from under-represented groups

Denise has authored/co-authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications including book chapters and high impact journal publications, as well as several government reports. She is co-editor of two education related edited books published by Routledge and Springer. She has 750 citations, an RG Score of 21.6 and H-index of 15, and over 16,000 reads cited on ResearchGate. She is a member of the Higher Education Research and Development Journal College of Reviewers and former Associate Editor, as well as a peer reviewer of several high ranked journals.