Our history and governance

Our history

The Sylvia Rodger Academy was launched in conjunction with Autism CRC’s 2018 AGM. At that time, the Research Program and Future Leaders had graduated 61 autistic adults and autism researchers. The Academy was named for Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, the founding CEO of Autism CRC and co-founder of the original Research Program.

To acknowledge the vision and work of Sylvia Rodger in ensuring the original Programs were established and funded, the Sylvia Rodger Academy has proudly continued her work through our mission. This is to provide programs, pathways and networks that create communities where autistic people fully contribute and influence policy, practice and culture in partnership with their peers.

To date, the Sylvia Rodger Academy has had more than 130 autistic graduates from across Australia and overseas consisting of:

30 Autistic Identity and Connection graduates

62 Future Leader graduates

14 Governance Program graduates

2 Research Program graduates

Our governance

TThe Sylvia Rodger Academy is overseen by an autistic-majority Management Committee comprising of stakeholders from the autistic community and Autism CRC Board.

The members of this committee are:

  • Dr Rob van Barneveld (Management Committee Chair; Chair, Autism CRC)
  • Katharine Annear (Deputy Chair and Director, Autism CRC; Academy Project Team member)
  • Malcolm Mayfield (Director, Autism CRC; Managing Director, Autism STAR Pty Ltd; Academy Project Team member)
  • Roe Johnson (Autism and queer advocate; Academy alumni and Project Team member)

Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM

Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM

The Academy was named after inspirational leader Emeritus Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, who contributed both nationally and internationally to the field of Occupational Therapy and specifically, to autism practice and research.

Sylvia was the founding CEO of Autism CRC. Changing the culture of autism research, Sylvia created an inclusive research environment that involved collaboration between autistic people, researchers, service providers, and policy makers.

She co-founded the Autism CRC Research Academy and in 2015, autistic participants unanimously honoured her with the title "Honorary Research Academy Member" for her dedication, openness, and willingness to understand autistic culture, thinking, and humour.

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Ashton Bartz
Research and Community Engagement Officer

07 3377 0602