Susan (Sue) Nalder

In her own words

Having a wonderful childhood, growing up in the Goulburn Valley region on a dairy farm near Strathmerton, I have long held a passion for improving the access to higher education for all, and advocate the opportunities it can provide.

After completing secondary studies, I was very fortunate to be awarded a Studentship in 1974, which provided financial support to undertake tertiary studies in return for commencing a career in education. Without receiving the Studentship, I would have commenced immediately in the workforce in an administration role, and I believe, I would have never pursued higher education.

I chose to study business at the Bendigo Institute of Technology (now the Bendigo campus of La Trobe University), thus beginning a lifelong connection with La Trobe. This was a wonderful opportunity that changed the course of my life, and I remain extremely grateful for it to this day.

After the completion of my studies, I was very fortunate to gain a graduate position as a management accountant with Caterpillar of Australia in Melbourne. I then undertook further educational studies and commenced a career in teaching.

In 1978 I moved to Mildura to take up a teaching appointment in a secondary college, teaching business related subjects.

In 1980 I returned with my husband to live in the Goulburn Valley and continued to teach in the secondary system. From 1981 to 1993, my teaching was reduced to part time as I managed to balance family and work life, with our five children having been born during this time.

In 1994, when La Trobe University commenced a full time presence in Shepparton, I started working as a lecturer and later took on the role of coordinator of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, for the campus.

During this time, I completed my Master of Commerce part time, as I continued to work full time.

Numbers of students studying at the campus continued to grow, most notably in the accounting and business area. I developed strong links with local businesses and the community in general, and these links were extremely invaluable to La Trobe University in their quest to develop a state of the art campus facility in Shepparton. Having previously rented premises from GOTAFE, the new campus building was opened in 2010.

In 2014, I was appointed Head of Campus of La Trobe University Shepparton. During my time in the position, four new courses have been introduced, and student numbers have increased significantly. This has led to the need for more teaching and learning space to accommodate the increased number of students, and I have continued to lobby to achieve the required funding.

Working collaboratively with all secondary colleges and GOTAFE to provide the greatest amount of opportunities for students to study locally has always been a priority for me.

I see the exciting challenge ahead is to continue to build on the quality courses offered at La Trobe Shepparton, to encourage the career aspirations of students in the Goulburn Valley, and to increase the number of professionals living and working in this region.