Our People

Our Board


Dean Lynch


Dean Lynch is Snowy Hydro Relations Manager and is involved in all levels of government and community stakeholder engagement for the Snowy Hydro 2.0 project. The fifth-generation grazier was Mayor of the Cooma Monaro Shire for eight years, followed by two years as Administrator of the amalgamated Snowy River Regional Council. He sat on the NSW Government Joint Regional Planning Panel and was Chairperson of numerous Council and Community committees. Dean continues to sit on various committees and is also a partner in a retail business. Dean was instrumental in establishing the Cooma Universities Centre during his term as Mayor, during which time Cooma Monaro Shire and Snowy Hydro concept designed and then established the Centre prior to gifting it to the community. He sat on the governing Board of the Cooma Universities Centre (now CUC Snowy Monaro) up until becoming Chair of the Country Universities Centre.

Praveena Karunaharan

Praveena Karunaharan

Non-Executive Director 

Praveena is the Head of Governance and Compliance and Group Company Secretary at Snowy Hydro, where she is responsible for corporate governance and regulatory strategy across the Snowy Hydro Group. Prior to joining Snowy in 2013, Praveena was a Director in PwC's Risk Consulting division where she advised ASX listed clients on governance, risk and compliance practices and led organisational and regulatory change programs. At PwC, she was the Risk Consulting lead for the PwC Foundation where she provided pro bono strategy and governance advice to NFPs including Rob de Castella's Indigenous Marathon Project and the Reach Foundation. Praveena also served as a youth mentor for Mission Australia. Praveena’s prior NFP experience also includes 15 months as Board observer with Habitat for Humanity, Australia, followed by a term on the Habitat Board Risk Committee.

Duncan Taylor

Duncan Taylor


Duncan Taylor is the voluntary CEO of the Country Universities Centre, following from being the inaugural Chair of the original Cooma Universities Centre which later became the Country Universities Centre Snowy Monaro. Duncan currently sits on CQUniversity’s Regional Engagement Committee and is a former Member of the TAFE NSW Commission Board. He is a former President of the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association of New South Wales and previously sat on the Rural and Remote Education Advisory Group that advises the NSW Government and Department of Education on strategies to improve educational outcomes in rural and remote areas. He is also a Committee Member of the Monaro Early Intervention Service. Duncan is a farmer on the Monaro who was also a founding director of agricultural assets management company, Growth Farms Australia.

Douglas Martin

Douglas Martin

General Manager

Douglas joined the Country Universities Centres in 2019, with nine years’ experience in senior communications and government relations roles.
Douglas worked for Ministers in the NSW Government across the Education, Early Education, Aboriginal Affairs, Police and Emergency Services portfolios between 2015 and 2019. Prior to working for the Country Universities Centre, he was Chief of Staff to the NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education and Aboriginal Affairs.
Throughout his career, Douglas has built a reputation working collaboratively by forging authentic and valuable relationships, using a keen understanding of how to navigate large and complex government agencies and engage with the executive of government. Douglas has a deep-seated passion for regional communities and through years of outcome-focused delivery has established a strong regional network.

E-mail: douglas.martin@cuc.edu.au

Monica Davis

Monica Davis

Director Educational Delivery

Monica is the Director of Educational Delivery for the CUC. In this role she focuses on student support and collaborations with Australian universities to make higher education more accessible to regional, rural and remote students. Monica completed her Bachelor of Science with Hons I from the University of Newcastle, and a Masters in Geostatistics from the University of Adelaide. Monica has a strong focus on research and documenting the success of the Country Universities Centres. In 2019 she published a paper in the peer-reviewed Journal of Student Success on Student Engagement, and is currently working on projects in regional career advice for mature aged students, and building self-efficacy for students studying by distance. Monica has also presented conference papers on attrition, access and aspiration for regional students. Monica is a member of the executive of the Society of the Provision of Education in Rural Australia, and was the convenor for the recent Best Practice in Regional Study Hubs Symposium.

E-mail: monica.davis@cuc.edu.au

Shannon Payten-McDonald

Shannon Payten-McDonald

Network Manager

Shannon began working with the Country Universities Centre in 2015. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Arts, and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. She focuses on supporting the network of Centre Managers and Boards. She supports emerging Centres in the establishment phase, manages recruitment and onboarding of Centre Managers, and provides support and advice to operational Centres in areas of finance, human resources, and communications. Shannon was named Young Woman of the Year in 2018 for the Snowy Monaro region, is a National Rural Women’s Coalition alumni, and is a volunteer mentor with The Smith Family and Country to Canberra.

E-mail: Shannon@cuc.edu.au

Jayde Egan

Jayde Egan

Network Coordinator

Jayde has been in various roles within the CUC, most recently as Acting Centre Manager for CUC Snowy Monaro. In 2019, Jayde began as Network Coordinator where she focuses on providing support to both the Central office and the network of Centres. Jayde has a background in Health, with a Diploma of Health Studies, and is continuing her studies with a Bachelor of Nursing.

E-mail: jayde.egan@cuc.edu.au

Chris Ronan

Director Equity and Engagement

Chris has worked in the higher education and not-for-profit sectors across the United States, New Zealand, and Australia in a range of management and consultancy roles. He has also worked on national research projects with NCSEHE and the University of South Australia in the area of Regional, Rural and Remote higher education policy, student equity, widening participation and rural student transitions.

He holds a Master degree from the LH Martin Institute for Tertiary Education Leadership and Management at the University of Melbourne with a focus on Regional, Rural and Remote higher education policy. Chris has also published in the International Studies in Widening Participation (ISWP) Journal, writes for the Asia and the Pacific Policy Society at the ANU, and has published pieces on reconceptualising widening participation with the Centre of Excellence for Equity in Higher Education (CEEHE) at the University of Newcastle.

Chris is also on the National Executive team for the Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) and is the Director of the 2021 National Conference for Regional, Rural, and Remote Education.

Polly Paradice

Projects Officer

Polly began working with the Country Universities Centre in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Arts, a Master of Commerce (Marketing), and is currently studying a Master of Teaching (Primary). She has over 6 years experience in marketing and projects, working previously at Charles Sturt University and The University of New South Wales. She supports emerging CUC Centres in the establishment phase, by project managing Centre openings and supporting Centre Managers. She also provides support and advice for the CUC network in the areas of marketing, media and communications.

E-mail: polly.paradice@cuc.edu.au

Rebecca Broadbent

CUC Charles Sturt Nursing Tutor

Rebecca joined the Country Universities Centre in 2020 in a collaboration role between CUC and Charles Sturt University (CSU) to support CSU students as a nursing specialist tutor studying via distance in communities with a CUC. She holds a Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Midwifery, Cert IV in Training and Assessment and a Masters of Clinical Nursing (Leadership in Practice). Rebecca has 15 years experience from QLD, NSW and VIC health systems as a clinician, educator, leader and senior manager. Throughout her career, Rebecca has been passionate about advocating for and promoting the role of the nursing rural generalist as a clinical specialty. She is committed to delivering excellent person centred care, by a confident and competent clinical workforce, as close to the person's home as possible. Acknowledging rural communities close connection to the land, family and community.

Email: Rebecca.broadbent@cuc.edu.au