Faculty and Staff

Welcome to Nan Tien Institute (NTI), Australia’s first Higher Education Provider with courses grounded in Buddhist wisdom and values. NTI is the place for quality education and cultural exchange. Read more about our academic staff below:

Buddhist Institute in Wollongong

Denise Kirkpatrick

President – Nan Tien Institute

Find out more about NTI from the president
Venerable Dr Juewei - Nan Tien Institute

Professor Rod Vickers

Dean of Studies

PhD (University of Canterbury), MSc (University of Canterbury), BSc Hons (University of Canterbury).

Rod has spent 35 years as a teacher and researcher. He has extensive experience in academic leadership, including time as Head of School and Associate Dean – Teaching and Learning. As Dean of Studies Rod sees his role as implementing the values of the Nan Tien Institute and assuring academic standards as required by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency.

email: r.vickers@nantien.edu.au

Venerable Dr Juewei - Nan Tien Institute

Venerable Dr Juewei

Head of Program (Humanistic Buddhism)
Acting Head of Program (Applied Buddhist Studies)
Director (Humanistic Buddhism Centre)
Senior Lecturer

PhD (Religious Studies) University of the West, USA, MA (Buddhist Studies) Tsung-Lin Buddhist College, Taiwan, MBA (Cranfield University) Bedford, UK, MS (Computer Science and Engineering) University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA, BS with highest distinction (Computer Science and Engineering), Honors in Computer Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.

email: juewei@nantien.edu.au
office phone: +61 (2) 4258 0724

Faculty and Staff at NTI

Dr Susan Sumskis

Head of Program (Mental Health) 

Senior Lecturer 

PhD (University of Wollongong), BN (Hons) (UOW), BN (Dist) (UOW). Dr Sumskis focuses on student well-being within learning through the use of contemplative pedagogy. Sue has extensive professional experience in a variety of mental health settings and within tertiary education. Sue’s PhD investigated resilience and mental health, with a finding that challenge and support are essential components of developing resilience, grit and growth.

email: s.sumskis@nantien.edu.au
office phone: +61 (2) 4258 0751

Faculty and Staff at NTI

Dr Nadine Levy

Head of Program (Health and Social Wellbeing)


PhD (University of Adelaide), BA (Hons) (University of Adelaide), LLB (Hons) (University of Adelaide). Dr Levy holds a PhD in sociology and Honours degrees in both law and gender studies. Her research investigates women’s lived experience across a range of social sites, including health, therapeutic landscapes and spiritual movements. Her PhD examined the themes of belonging, emotions and social connection in the context of Intentional Communities in late modern society.

email: n.levy@nantien.edu.au
office phone: +61 (2) 4258 0752

Dr Nadine Levy

Dr Iain Sinclair

Lecturer and Researcher in Buddhism

PhD (Philosophy & Religious Studies), Monash University; MA (Hons), Western Sydney University

Iain Sinclair studies the art and culture of Hindu-Buddhist civilisation using primary sources in Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese and vernacular languages. Between 2018 and 2020 he was a Visiting Fellow at Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore, and a Käte Hamburger Kolleg Fellow at Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany.

email:  i.sinclair@nantien.edu.au
office phone: +61 (2) 4258 0771

Sessional Teachers

Elizabeth Kuzmanovska

Elizabeth Kuzmanovska is a mental health nurse and a behaviour specialist. She has over 30 years experience in the community health, social service sector in front line, management, policy, and teaching roles.

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Leonie Hicks

Leonie has been lecturing in the Masters of Arts in Health and Social Wellbeing at the Nan Tien Institute for the past six years and greatly enjoys working in an environment where her students are able to apply their learnings in a supportive and engaging environment.

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Dr Camille Rouliere

Early career researcher Dr Camille Roulière is an Environmental Humanities scholar who was recently awarded a Dean’s Commendation and a University Doctoral Research Medal for her PhD thesis entitled “Visions of Water” (The University of Adelaide). 

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Dr Debbie Early

Dr Debbie Early has a background in biomedical science and holistic health and is also a certified meditation teacher. A life-long learner, Debbie has contributed to numerous health and environmental programs overseas and locally, including being a guest and adjunct lecturers at Drexel and West Chester Universities in the USA.

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Dr Jonathan Page

Graduated in Medicine with honors from Sydney University in 1976. During his long university summer holidays, he spent many months over several years visiting Buddhist historical and contemporary sites of significance in India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, whilst also inspecting medical institutions and frequently encountering recent or current warfare.

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Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis

Kerryn Coombs-Valeontis is an arts therapist and eco-arts therapist.  She is a member of ANZACATA
(Australian and New Zealand Art and Creative Arts Therapies Association.)

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Dr Rati Jani

Dr. Rati Jani is a dietitian, with a particular interest in maternal and child nutrition, obesity, cultural influence on nutrition, food mapping, and diabetes.

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Dr Toby Mendelson

Dr Mendelson specialises in teaching philosophy and the contemplative arts (Asian and western) to the general public. His Dharma path began in the early ’00s, studying and practising Mahamudra in the Karma Kagyu tradition under the late Traleg Kyabgon and then also Lam Rim and Madhyamaka in the Gelug tradition, under Lama Zopa Rinpoche.

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Dr Ruth Fitzpatrick

Ruth has completed a PhD is in the discipline of sociology on the topic of Engaged Buddhism in Australi, focussing on the cultural translation that takes place when Buddhism migrates to the West. Ruth has experience religion and social change, religion in the modern world, Tibetan Buddhism and religion in youth, and brings a commitment to meaning, contemplative teaching academic subjects at NTI. 

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Emeritus Professor Lewis Lancaster

Emeritus Professor Lewis Lancaster is one of the most renown Buddhist Studies scholars in the world. His academic and professional qualifications are extensive and have largely revolved around theology and linguistics. He graduated with a B.A. from Roanoke College, Virginia, completed his M. Th. at the University of Southern California in 1958 and in 1968 he attained his Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin.

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Faculty and Staff at NTI

Emeritus Professor Suzanne Franzway

Suzanne Franzway is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies at the University of South Australia. Her work is motivated by the puzzles and passions of the politics of everyday life and social justice. She is currently writing a co-authored book Courage in Tough Times: Feminist Activism and Labour Movements.

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Faculty and Staff at NTI

Dr Tamara Ditrich

Head of Program and Associate Professor
(Applied Buddhist Studies)

PhD (Studies in Religion, University of Queensland), BA Hons (Linguistics, University of Ljubljana). Tamara Ditrich’s disciplinary background is in Buddhist Studies, Sanskrit language and Vedic philology. She has had over thirty years of teaching and research experiences at various universities in the EU and Australia. Her current research interests are primarily in Theraveda Buddhism and Vedic philology.

email: t.ditrich@nantien.edu.au
office phone: +61 (2) 4258 0761

Faculty and Staff at NTI

Dr Eng-Kong Tan


Dr Tan is a medical doctor, consultant psychiatrist and analytic psychotherapist. He is the Founder and Chairman of the Metta Clinic, an established group psychological practice in Pymble, Sydney. He was formerly the Chairman of Training of the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association of Australia (PPAA), member of the Faculty of Training of the Australian New Zealand Association of Psychotherapy (ANZAP) and member of the Training Advisory Board of the NSW Institute of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (NSWIPP).

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Honorary Fellows

Venerable Miao Guang

Venerable Miao Guang is the Personal English Interpreter of Venerable Master Hsing Yun. She also serves as the English Secretary at Fo Guang Shan Founding Master’s Office. She graduated with a Bachelor degree from the Department of Asian Studies, University of New South Wales and went on to complete her Master in Buddhist Studies at Fo Guang University.

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Meg Hart

Meg Hart is a cross-cultural leadership coach and organisational consultant. She has an academic background in Organisational and Coaching Psychology, practical business knowhow running manufacturing and consultancy companies and wide experience in Australia and Asia delivering action learning programs on leadership, ethics and cultural intelligence.

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Nan Tien Institute (NTI) is a private, not for profit, government accredited higher education provider offering studies in the areas of Buddhist studies, health and wellbeing, within an environment that incorporates contemplative education.

NTI offers postgraduate programs in Applied Buddhist Studies, Health and Social Wellbeing, Humanistic Buddhism, and Mental Health as well as customised Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programs and special interest subjects across the areas of meditation, mindfulness and health.

In accordance with the current restrictions our campus facilities are closed. You can continue to study online and our virtual library services remain available. Our academic and student services staff are online and by phone to assist you. Please stay safe.