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Honorary Researchers

Our Honorary Research Associates and Fellows are an important part of Whitley College’s research community and its research activity. They are able to serve as HDR supervisors and may teach, where appropriate.

Research Associates and Fellows are University appointments that are associated with a nominated College of the University.

Whitley is committed to a vibrant and active honorary research community and in recognising the benefit to the research community of its honorary research faculty, recognises its Honorary Research Associates and Research Fellows by:

  • acknowledging them on the College website (unless requested otherwise);
  • inviting them to attend celebratory and ceremonial occasions at the College;
  • inviting their participation in research seminars;
  • offering library access to the College library;
  • encouraging the use of the title of Honorary Research Associate in appropriate academic contexts.

Introducing our post-doctoral Research Associates

Dr Barbara Deutschmann

PhD., MTh., BTh.

Barbara is a biblical scholar and former Interserve missionary living in India who also worked for many years in international development with Tearfund Australia. More recently she has lived and worked in Central Australia managing Tearfund’s First Peoples program. She finds joy in being with family, especially grandchildren, and working with a small Anglican church in the western suburbs.

Her PhD was a study of gender in the garden of Eden narrative including reviewing the reception history of the Eden narrative.

Her current research interests include:

  • The Eden narrative and its reception history;
  • The construction of gender in the Hebrew Bible;
  • The history of constructions of ‘Eve’ in Australian history and culture;
  • The implications of understandings of biblical gender for current church culture and polity.

A sample of publications include “Partners in Crime? The Partnership of the Woman and Man in the Garden of Eden Narrative.” Pacifica 30, no. 3 (2017): 255–67 and “Abraham, Isaac and the Problem of Water” in Water: A Matter of Life and Death, Norman Habel and Peter Trudinger, eds (Hindmarsh: ATF Australia, 2011) 63–72.

Dr Simone Rickerby

Ph.D, MA, BA (Hons.)

Simone completed her Ph.D on ‘Variation in the Latin Text of the Jewish Greek Bible’ in 2015 at Whitley College. This thesis built upon her previous research into text-critical problems associated with the Greek New Testament. Dr Rickerby’s more recent research focuses on the Latin translations of the Old Testament, especially the translations of Jerome in the text of his Commentaries and various books of the Vulgate (especially Ezekiel and the Minor Prophets). Work on ‘The Latin Versions of the Minor Prophets’ highlights the variation of the Latin textual tradition and also alludes to the likely relationship between Jerome’s “Vulgate” text and that of Symmachus, as noted previously for other books of the Old Testament (e.g. Salvesen, Symmachus in the Pentateuch).

Dr Rickerby also has a wider interest in the textual criticism and historical/theological context of both the Greek Old and New Testaments, as well as that of the Latin, Coptic and Syriac versions.

As an Honorary Fellow of the Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (ITSEE), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, Dr Rickerby has been working on an electronic edition of the Latin Version(s) of the Minor Prophets.

From January 2021, she will serve as the Executive Officer for ANZATS, the Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools, and the Council of Deans of Theology..

Dr Rickerby’s recent publications include, ‘The Latin Versions of the Minor Prophets’, in The Book of the Twelve: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation. Eds. Lena Tiemeyer and Jakob Wöhrle. (Leiden: Brill, 2020).

Dr Titus S. Olorunnisola

Ph.D, MA., Grad Cert., BA(Hons)., BTh(Hons).

Titus originates from Nigeria and has studied in Nigeria, the Netherlands, and Australia. He was awarded a Commonwealth International Scholarship and completed his Ph.D at YTU in 2017. He is currently the Research Project Officer at Whitley College and a member of the Spirited Project Research Team. He has adjunct roles at Alphacrucis and ACOM, in addition to being a Research Associate with the Christian Research Australia. He is the CEO of Action Research Centre, Melbourne.


Dr Olorunnisola’s recent publications include ‘Rhapsody of Religious Violence in Nigeria: Dynamics, Case Studies and Government Responses.’ International Journal of Social Science Research. Vol. 8, N0. 1 (January 2020): 17-37.

Introducing our Honorary Research Associates

Dr Xiaoli Yang

PhD (Intercultural Theology), MDiv., ASD (Spiritual Direction)., GDCS., GCS., BBus.

Xiaoli was raised in various subcultures of Asia and moved to Australia as an overseas student at university.  Following her professional accounting career, she was involved in pioneering and pastoring a multilingual Asian church within a large Baptist church for seven years.  Since 2007, Xiaoli has been training and equipping leaders locally and abroad in both seminary and church settings.  She is an ordained minister, an accredited spiritual director and a bilingual poet.  Her PhD from the University of Divinity offers a conversation between the Chinese soul-searching and the gospel of Jesus Christ through a unique contextual poetic lens (Leiden: Brill, 2018).  She is currently working on a bible commentary on John’s letters from Asian perspectives, and a book on a theology of migration and displacement.  She serves on the executive committee of the Australian Association of Mission Studies and the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Mission Studies.  She is fluent in Mandarin, Cantonese and several other dialects.


Intercultural Theology; World/Asian Christianity, Poetic Theology, Comparative Theology, Migration, Ethno-hermeneutics, Spirituality/Spiritual Direction


“Towards a Chinese Theology of Displacement—the Poetic Journey of a Chinese Migrant”. Mission Studies 37, no. 2 (2020): 193-217.

“Contemplative Aspects of Pentecostal Spirituality—A Case Study of a Retreat Experience in Asia”. Journal of Pentecostal Theology 28, no. 1, (2019): 123-42.

A Dialogue between Haizi’s Poetry and the Gospel of Luke—Chinese Homecoming and the Relationship with Jesus Christ, Theology and Mission in World Christianity (Leiden: Brill, 2018).

Dr Deborah Storie

PhD, Grad Cert (Theol)., Grad Dip (Theol)., MSc., BVSc (Hons)

Initially trained as a veterinary surgeon Dr Storie worked with international community development and disaster mitigation projects for over a decade.  She commenced biblical studies at Whitley on her return to Australia.  Her PhD was titled ‘Contesting Public Transcripts in Biblical Studies: An Adventure with Zacchaeus’. The years Deborah spent living with a rural community in a conflict affected region in Central Asia, together with learning with and from Christian communities contending with poverty and injustice in other places, brought the Bible to life and continues to inspire and inform her work.

Dr Storie has been an adjunct lecturer at several Melbourne-based Colleges and Universities, including Whitley, and has taught in several theological programs over the last fifteen years. She is an accredited Baptist pastor, has held two interim pastorates, enjoys preaching invitations, and has Board experience with several Australian and international NFPs. She is a member of the SBL, the Fellowship for Biblical Studies, and Christians for Biblical Equality.

Her recent publications include ‘Mission and Violent Conflict: Seeking Shalom’ in Mission and Context, edited by Jione Havea (London: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020) and ‘At Jacob’s Well: Regrounding the Samaritan Woman’  In Grounded: In the Body, in Time and Place, in Scripture. Edited by Jill Firth and Denise Cooper-Clark. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2020.

Dr Gordon Preece

PhD, MSc, MA, BD, BA, ThL, Dip.Min

The Rev’d Dr Gordon Preece is Director of Ethos Centre for Christianity & Society, Senior Policy Officer Catholic Social Services Victoria, Chair of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities Committee, and Honorary Director, University of Divinity Network for Religion & Social Policy.

Gordon was a minister at several Anglican churches in Sydney and senior minister at Yarraville Anglican. He lectured part-time at Morling Baptist College, was Director of the Macquarie Christian Studies Institute, and Dean of the University College and Director of the Centre for Applied Christian Ethics at Ridley College.

Gordon was ethics consultant for Christian Super and taught business ethics for the School of Applied Finance at Macquarie University. His specialty is in the theology and ethics of work in which he is a leader and board member of two international bodies.
An author/editor of 13 books, Zadok Perspectives and Equip, his more recent publications have addressed themes of vocation, employment, and the precariat, including his chapter, ‘Rehumanizing Precarious Work: Vocation in Location Versus a New Priesthood of Cosmopolitan Techno-Creatives’ in David Benson, Kara Martin & Andrew Sloane ed. Transforming Vocation, Wipf & Stock, 2021.

Dr Siu Fung Wu

PhD, MPhil, BA, MSc, BSc

Originally from East Asia, Siu Fung has been in Australia since the late 1980s. He worked in IT for years before joining the pastoral team of a church in Melbourne, where he provided pastoral care and leadership development for about a dozen small groups and their leaders. He also founded the intercultural ministry in the church.

Siu Fung then worked in the advocacy team of an aid and development organisation for almost seven years. He has a heart for the poor and oppressed. His upbringing in a low-income urban area in East Asia has a profound impact on his life. The place he grew up is still one of the poorest districts in that city and many are still struggling to make ends meet.

He was a visiting lecturer at two theological colleges and continues to teach at Whitley. He loves the Scripture, for it has been an essential part of his life ever since he came to faith in Christ as a teenager. He loves discussing the implications of the gospel with students from different social locations and cultural settings. Siu Fung attended Anglican, Pentecostal and independent churches, but has been a member of Baptist churches for more than two decades.

His work in the area of Paul and suffering is widely regarded, including his editorial work on Suffering in Paul, Eugene: Pickwick, 2019, and “Reading Romans in a Globalized and Increasingly Urban World.” Mission Studies 35 (2018) 321–341.

Dr Libby Byrne


Libby Byrne works as an artist, art therapist and theologian following the invitation and discovery of art into new ways of being with people in liminal spaces. Within her studio practice Libby works with ideas, images and experiences to extend the way we think, perceive and respond to questions of meaning and existence.

Having worked as an Art Therapist in palliative care and trauma recovery her current research addresses the nature and significance of art, both made and received, in the process of healing that is required for human beings to flourish and live well with illness and in health.

Libby teaches in the Master of Art Therapy Program at La Trobe University whilst developing a growing body of research in the emerging field of Practice-led Theological Inquiry. She works as an Adjunct Lecturer and Honorary Research Associate with the University of Divinity.

Recent publications and exhibitions

Crane T. & Byrne L. (2020). Risk, rupture and change: Exploring the liminal space of the Open Studio in art therapy education. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 69:10, doi.org/10.1016/j.aip.2020.101666.

Byrne, L. (2019). Drawing in-church and drawing-in to joy, Practical Theology, DOI: 10.1080/1756073X.2019.1678861

Byrne, L. (2019). How we see each other, The Interfaith Observer: Creating Communities of Belonging, February, 2019. http://www.theinterfaithobserver.org/journal-articles/2019/3/12/how-we-see-each-other

Byrne, L. (2019). The Nature of Things, Whitley College.

Byrne, L. & Levey, L. (2018). Art Therapy and Spirituality, In Carey, L. & Mathieson, B. (Ed). Spiritual Care & Allied Health Practice, London: JKP Publishers, (139-62).


Check out Libby’s via the following links: www.libbybyrne.com.au

Introducing our Honorary Research Fellows

Assoc Professor Frank Rees

MA, BD(Hons), MTheol, DipEd, PhD, CertGovInst.

Frank Rees was Professor of Systematic Theology at Whitley College from 1991 to 2016 and Principal of the College from 2006 to 2016. During his term as Academic Dean and then Principal, the College developed the innovative TransFormation Program, the 12Watts and Next Programs, and the beginnings of Whitley’s engagement with NAIITS. He supervised several doctoral programs relating to Theology and the Arts, leading to new courses in this area as well as the Religious Art Prize.

He served as Chair of the Baptist World Alliance study commission on Baptist Doctrine and Christian Unity, with a research project on ‘Baptist Saints’ and currently is Co-Chair of the BWA Dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church.

A former President of the Melbourne College of Divinity, he has served as Chair of the Academic Board in the University of Divinity since 2017. He also teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Whitley College, Eva Burrows College, and Pilgrim Theological College.

His research interests have included Baptist ecclesiology, contextual theologies and biography as theology. He is currently researching a biography of Mervyn Himbury, the founding Principal of Whitley College.

Dr Perry Shaw

BA, BTh, DipEd, MEd, THM, EdD, SFIA

Perry Shaw and his family served as missionaries with MECO in the Middle East from 1990 to 2019. During the 1990s Perry was involved in helping in the establishment of extension centres in Syria for the Program for Theological Education by Extension. He then taught at the Near East School of Theology (Beirut) before joining the Faculty of the Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (Beirut) in 2007, where he served as Associate Dean and Professor of Education. At ABTS Perry led the development of a highly innovative curriculum, which has led to a significant role as a faculty development consultant for theological schools across the globe.

Perry is currently Researcher in Residence at Morling College (Sydney), and serves on the Peer Review Committee of the Christian Education Journal, the MTh/EdD/PhD in Education Programmes Committee for the Asia Graduate School of Theology (AGST Alliance), and the Theological Education Programme Board for the London School of Theology. Perry and his wife Karen have two adult children, Christopher and Phoebe. For relaxation he likes to drink coffee, play squash, and watch movies – but not at the same time.

Perry’s research interests are in the areas of theological education, higher education, curriculum, teaching methodology, intercultural leadership, and research methodology. He is currently co-editing a collection on teaching theology cross-culturally as well as revising his text Transforming Theological Education. Both are scheduled for publication in late 2021. He is also developing material around the theme of “Developing Constructive Thinking in Respectful Community”.

Adjunct Professor Dave Vicary

PhD., MPsych., BPsych.

Dave Vicary has extensive leadership, clinical, policy, management, research and evaluation experience in a range of sectors including health, research, tertiary, and human services. Dave has worked in the human services sector for 30 years.

He has a PhD from Curtin University of Technology where he studied engagement methods for use by non-Aboriginal practitioners working with West Australian Aboriginal clientele. Since receiving his doctorate he has been involved in several large government and not for profit projects and grants that have investigated the mental health of Aboriginal children across Australia.

Dave has a special interest in out of home care, child protection, mental health, aging and dementia and family violence interventions and has published extensively in these areas.

Dave currently works for Baptcare and is the Divisional Manager for Family and Children’s and Mental Health Services in Victoria and Tasmania and Manager of Research Partnerships. Dave is an Adjunct Professor at the Health and Social Care Unit at Monash University Melbourne Australia.

His more recent publications include:

Ayton, DR., O’Donnell, R., Vicary, D., Bateman, C., Moran, C., Srikanth, V., Lustig, J., Banaszak-Holl, J., Hunter, P., Pritchard, E., Morris, H., Savaglio, M., Parikh, S., Skouteris, H (2020). Psychosocial volunteer support for older adults with cognitive impairment: Development of MyCare Ageing using a co-design approach via action research. BMJ Open.

O’Donnell, R., Savaglio, M., Skouteris, H., Banaszak-Holl, J., Moran, C., Morris, H., Vicary, D., & Ayton, D. (2020). The effectiveness of transition interventions to support older patients from hospital to home: A systematic review. Journal of Applied Gerontology.