People

Professor Andy Marks

Director, Centre for Western Sydney
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Strategy, Government and Alliances, Western Sydney University
CEO, NUW Alliance

Professor Andy Marks leads major strategic and development initiatives across the Centre for Western Sydney, NUW Alliance and Western Sydney University in collaboration with government, industry and the community. 
 
He has a PhD and first-class honours in political science and literature. 
 
Andy writes regular columns for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph. He is also a panellist on ABC Sydney’s ‘political forum’. 
 
Andy is also the Chair of the Western Sydney Community Forum and a Non-Executive Director with Wentworth Healthcare Ltd. He is the founder of the CatalystWest interactive policy forum, and co-founder of the Launch Pad start-up incubator. 
 
Prior to his current roles, Andy was a researcher in the social services sector, a Council member at the University of New England, and an ARIA nominated professional musician and composer. 

Associate Professor Rae Dufty-Jones

Principal Research Fellow

Rae Dufty-Jones is an economic and social geographer. Her research interests and expertise include: Australian housing policy and internal migration; regional economic development and infrastructure; and New Immigration Destinations (international migrants settling in rural and regional communities). Rae’s research work has been funded by competitive grants including the Australian Research Council (ARC); the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI); the federal Department of Environment; and Transport for NSW.

Rae's current research projects include: ‘Sydney Metro (North West): Evaluating land use, place making and wider economic benefits’ and ‘Settling well: a longitudinal study of refugees in regional Australia’. 

Before joining WSU in 2010, Rae was previous employed as a Lecturer in Geography and Planning at the University of New England, after completing her PhD at the University of New South Wales.

Rhonda Itaoui

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Rhonda Itaoui is an early career researcher interested in geographies of diversity and multiculturalism in urban spaces. Rhonda is passionate about using research as a tool to advocate for the needs and aspirations of underrepresented and disadvantaged communities through collaboration and meaningful engagement.

Rhonda Itaoui has a PhD and first-class honours in Human geography. Her PhD research on the geographies of Islamophobia in Sydney, Australia and the San Francisco Bay Area, USA revealed that the spatial mobility of young Muslims is shaped by global and local processes of racism. Based on this research, Rhonda advocates for local and context-specific anti-racism policy practice, public education campaigns and policy initiatives that respond to the spatial imaginaries and lived experiences of racialised groups.

Prior to her appointed with the Centre for Western Sydney, Rhonda was a researcher with the Challenging Racism Project at Western Sydney University where she collaborated on multi-stakeholder projects focused on religious diversity, as well as geographies of racism in Australian cities. She was also previously appointed as a Research Fellow at the Othering and Belonging Institute at the University of California, Berkeley where she worked on developing resources to challenge Islamophobia in the United States. She has also been a casual lecturer and tutor at UC Berkeley and the School of Social Sciences at Western Sydney University, where she has engaged students in critical social issues and concept

Lisa Lewis

Project and Research Support Officer, Centre for Western Sydney

Lisa is passionate about promoting the development of projects, policies and research through an equitable, inclusive and intersectional lens.

She is the Chair of the ‘Harmony Alliance: Migrant and Refugee Women for Change’ Young Women’s Advisory Group, a Non-Executive Director on Youth Action’s Board of Governance, and represents the Central City District on the Greater Sydney Commission’s Youth Panel.

Lisa’s interest in understanding the historical, cultural, and contextual drivers of socio-economic disadvantage enable her to take an innovative approach to her work.

She has been honoured as the 2020 Blacktown City Council Woman of the Year, with the 2018 ZEST Award for ‘Outstanding Youth Leader of Western Sydney’, and as Western Sydney University’s 2017 recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in University Engagement and Sustainability.