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Corporate Governance


Melbourne Polytechnic, and its Board, operate under the accountability, powers, duties and functions as set out in the Education and Training Reform Act 2006  and The Constitution of Melbourne Polytechnic Order 2016.

The Minister

Melbourne Polytechnic is accountable to the Minister for Training and Skills.

The Victorian Government Minister for Training and Skills is the Hon. Gayle Tierney MP.

Further information about can be obtained from the Victoria Government Education and Training website:

The Board

In accordance with The Constitution of Melbourne Polytechnic Order 2016 the Board of Melbourne Polytechnic is established to oversee and govern the Institute.

Pursuant to the Constitution, the Board must:

  • take all reasonable steps for the advancement of the objectives of the Institute and the Board under the Act and the Constitution;
  • operate in accordance with the economic and social objectives and public sector management policy established from time to time by the Government of Victoria;
  • meet at intervals prescribed in the Constitution;
  • provide all assistance and information as the Minister, the Secretary or the Deputy Secretary may reasonably require from the Board; and
  • ensure the safe custody and proper use of the common seal of the Institute.

These duties are in addition to, and do not take away from, the duties imposed on the Board by the Education and Training Reform Act 2006, other provisions of The Constitution of Melbourne Polytechnic Order 2016, and any other duties imposed by any other Act or law.

Board Members

Ms Clarke began her career teaching at Preston East Technical School and subsequently held executive and senior roles in the Department of Education and Training and the Department of Human Services.

Ms Clarke has worked in policy and operational roles including curriculum development, school governance and stakeholder relations.

As deputy chair of Bank Australia and its predecessor, Education Credit Union Pty Ltd Ms Clarke is an experienced company director practised in board governance including risk, remuneration, audit and sustainable development strategy.

In addition to Diplomas in Social Science and Education, Ms Clarke holds a qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and is a Fellow of the Institute.

Jim Pasinis has over 30 years’ experience in the health and community services sector and was awarded the Centenary Medal for his services to culturally and linguistically diverse communities in the northern metropolitan area of Melbourne. He was Chief Executive Officer of Banyule Community Health, West Heidelberg Community Health Centre and Box Hill Community Health Service.

Mr Pasinis has been instrumental in implementing government-funded community health services and has assisted marginalised young people in developing social and employment skills.

He has served as a director of the Penington Institute, a charity that raises awareness regarding drug use and disease prevention, and AGAPI Care Inc, a not-for-profit organisation that delivers services to Victorians living with disabilities.

Mr Pasinis holds a Diploma of Accounting and a Graduate Diploma of Health Administration and is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Mr Forrest has over 20 years’ experience as a Director in areas of City Development, Advocacy and Community Services and as a CEO in local Victorian Governments including Wyndham, Nillumbik and Moonee Valley.

Bill has worked on consultancy assignments with Wyndham Community and Education Centre, Deakin University and organisations including Jindara Springs Winery, Fucheng Investment Australia and Kingfield Galvanzing. In addition Mr Forrest has undertaken short term assignments as CEO and Executive Director of not-for-profit environment organisations.

Mr Forrest holds qualifications in Social Work (Hons) and a Master of Urban Planning. Bill holds a qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has membership with the Planning Institute of Australia and Local Government Professionals Inc. Mr Forrest also has an Associate in Music Australia (A.Mus.A) in Violin.

Bill is currently on the Board of the Castlemaine State Festival, and served for 10 years on the Adult Community and Further Education Board, including as Deputy Chair

Tali Bernard is currently serving as a board member and Deputy Chair of the Accident Compensation Conciliation Service. She is also a member of the School Council at Clifton Hill Primary School.

Ms Bernard practised as a lawyer for over 18 years in the areas of family law and personal injury litigation. She is committed to improving access to justice and access to education for all Victorians. She is also passionate about alternative dispute resolution.

Ms Bernard has had many years experience as a board member in the Community Legal Service sector, including being a board member of Women’s Legal Service Victoria (WLSV) for over 11 years. As a board member of WLSV, Ms Bernard assisted with an organisational restructure and change in strategy which enhanced WLSV’s casework capacity and facilitated a focus on relationship breakdown and violence against women.

In addition to her legal qualifications, Ms Bernard has a Bachelor of Arts, is a former student of Melbourne Polytechnic and is a graduate of the Company Directors Course at the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Fiona Smith AM has been awarded the Order of Australia in recognition of her human rights and social justice advocacy. She served a five-year term as Chairperson of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and played an integral role in implementing Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities.

Ms Smith has practised as a public interest lawyer, is an accredited mediator, has served as a member of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal and holds a qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Throughout her career, Ms Smith has held a range of leadership positions including ten years as Chairperson of Victoria’s Business Licensing Authority, serving as a director of Yooralla and the Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, and as a trustee of the Reichstein Foundation.

Karen Janiszewski has over 15 years’ experience working on a number of Boards and is an experienced Committee chair.

She is Currently the Chair of the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Joint Venture and is a board member of The Queen Elizabeth Centre, Unity Housing and Venture Housing.  

Karen previously serviced on the Boards of King and Godfree Pty Ltd; Embracia Aged Care Pty Ltd; Uniting Aged Care (Victoria and Tasmania); The University of Adelaide, Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning and Flinders University Centre for Housing and Planning.

Ms Janiszewski has extensive business, commercial, general management, property and construction skills developed in a range of line management and consulting roles across many industry sectors.

Ms Janiszewski is a Professional Non Executive Director and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Joe Dicks has over 31 years’ experience as a chartered accountant and was one of the founding partners of the forensic accounting division of PPB Advisory.

Mr Dicks has advised Victorian TAFEs on performance reporting, strategic planning and budgetary matters during his time as a consultant.

He is a director of Campus Living Villages, a student accommodation provider, and Think Childcare. He was a founding board member of Uniting AgeWell and also served on the board of Wesley Mission Victoria.

Mr Dicks is an accredited Business Valuations Specialist, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and has completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors course.

Professor Lee Astheimer served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at Deakin University (2009-16) where she managed growth and development of Deakin’s research portfolio, including research training, infrastructure, and engagement with business and industry.

She previously served as Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Wollongong and has a wealth of experience in research development, research policy and managing national and international research partnerships.

Lee held academic positions at Rutgers University in New Jersey, USA, the University of Tasmania and the University of Wollongong. She was held an NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA and her work has been widely published in peer reviewed journals.

She has BSc (Biology, Hons) from Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada and a PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Davis, USA. She has been a member of numerous boards and holds qualifications from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Ian Bruce Munro has extensive experience in economic development across a broad range of industry sectors, and in regulatory and land supply matters. Mr Munro was the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Invest Assist, and served as a board member of the Metropolitan Planning Authority/Growth Areas Authority and the Victorian Environmental Assessment Council for several terms.

He held various executive roles in the then Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development including as Chief Executive Officer, Deputy Secretary and Executive Director and as a specialist consultant to the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources for many years.

Mr Munro holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Surveying), is a Licensed Surveyor and holds a qualification from the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

He was awarded a Public Service Medal in 2007 and Centenary Medal in 2001.

Frances Coppolillo has an extensive history with Melbourne Polytechnic, most recently as Deputy CEO where she has led the College, Schools and a range of student focussed departments since September 2014.

Prior to this, Ms Coppolillo was the Deputy Director Programs – Teaching and Learning, and has extensive experience in education, joining the VET sector as a teacher in 1986. Through her career progression, she has held a range of teaching, management and leadership positions including fourteen years as the Associate Director of Melbourne Polytechnic’s Faculty of Further Education.

Ms Coppolillo was also a founding director on the Board of the TAFE Development Centre (now the VET Development Centre), and has led projects in learning resource development, and best practice projects in student engagement and retention.

Frances has been a member of a number of regional development committees including Northern RDA and Local Learning and Employment Networks. Her qualifications include Bachelor of Education and Masters in Social Sciences (Policy and Management).

Ms Coppolillo is the first female CEO of Melbourne Polytechnic, formerly NMIT.

Fiona Wahr has over 20 years’ experience working in the TAFE and university sector. Her career has focussed on learning and teaching development where she has led and facilitated a broad range of innovative programs working with teaching staff, which ultimately improve students’ learning experience and outcomes. She has a depth of experience in educational quality management and assurance, curriculum design and delivery, adult education, academic governance and policy development and project management.

Fiona works at Melbourne Polytechnic in the role of Senior Lecturer, Applied Research and Scholarship, where she promotes and supports Melbourne Polytechnic staff engagement in applied research and scholarship. Fiona chairs Melbourne Polytechnic’s Applied Research and Ethics Committee (2016 to present) and is a member of the Melbourne Polytechnic Applied Research Committee. She is also inaugural co-convenor of the Small Providers Network (SPN), a group established by the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia’s (HERDSA) Victorian branch, to promote learning and teaching research and development amongst non-university higher education institutions.

Fiona is an active researcher and regularly publishes in the field of higher education transformation. Her doctoral research combined her twin passions of sustainability education and collaborative peer learning. Her PhD. thesis is entitled Embedded: The contribution of a facilitated action research curriculum change project to sustainability learning in an Australian university context (2015, RMIT University, Melbourne). Amongst her current research is a collaborative project for which Fiona (as lead researcher) received a 2019 Melbourne Polytechnic Research and Scholarship Seeding Grant for Exploring and mitigating human ethics implications of students work placement learning.

Further information can be found on the public board appointments Victoria website:

Senior Executive

Frances Coppolillo Chief Executive
Justin Blake Executive Director, Academic Operations
Marc Blanks Executive Director, Curriculum Innovation and Teaching Excellence
Cathy Frazer Executive Director, Student Engagement, International and Community Partnerships
Basil Papageorge Executive Director, People and Corporate Services
Nicole Amsing Executive Director, Strategy, Performance and Governance
Gabriel Torres Executive Director of Strategic Asset Development


The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 reforms the law relating to education and training in Victoria by providing for a high standard of education and training for all Victorians.

TAFE institute Boards are considered to be public entitles under Part 5 of the Public Administration Act 2004 and are subject to the requirements of a public entity set out in Part 5 of the Act. 

The Constitution of Melbourne Polytechnic Order 2016 includes provisions regarding governance arrangements and the objectives, functions and powers of the institute.  This came into operation on 1 July 2016.  The Constitution is made under the powers conferred by section 3.1.11 of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and all other enabling powers.

The Education and Training Reform Act 2006 and Public Administration Act 2004can be obtained from the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents Library.

Melbourne Polytechnic Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy and Register

Melbourne Polytechnic's Gifts, Benefits and Hospitality Policy and Register are available here.