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Karen Nelson

Professor Karen Nelson, Editor-in-Chief, Student Success

Professor Karen Nelson is the founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief of the Student Success Journal (previously titled The International Journal of the First Year in Higher Education).  


Professor Nelson is currently Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia.

Prior to this appointment Professor Nelson was Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) at the University of the Sunshine Coast, where she has been responsible for transforming USC’s approach to student engagement and success. She has had strategic oversight of the student life-cycle activities and has led a range of curricular and co-curricular initiatives to enhance students’ engagement, retention and success.

An expert in student engagement and retention, Professor Nelson’s research into the complexity surrounding student success has been instrumental in uncovering the factors influencing attrition and advancing practices across the sector. Before joining USC, Professor Nelson held the roles of Director of First Year Experience and Director of Student Success and Retention at QUT.

For 18 years, her research and practice have focused on student engagement in higher education, and Professor Nelson has led a series of large national projects, which have produced transferrable resources for the sector. 

Professor Nelson is a member of the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Inc (HERDSA) and a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the United Kingdom (PFHEA).  Professor Nelson’s contributions to higher education have been recognised by more than ten awards including three Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Open Access Journal
ISSN 2205-0795