Senior Common Room
The Senior Common Room membership is made up of leading academics, postgraduates, theologians and professionals within the College community.
Their combined expertise and experience assists students with their studies and also supports the operation of the College.
Senior Common Room Members
- Master Prof David T. Runia BA (Hons), MA, DipEd, Litt D (Melb), DLitt (VU Amsterdam), FAHA
- Dean of Studies, Dr Brenda Holt BA, MA, PhD
- Dean of Wellbeing, Prof. Dr Tim Corney BA, MA, PhD
- College Chaplain, Rev. Sally Apokis BMin, DipTeach
- Senior Tutor, Mrs Helen Corney BAppSci, DipTraining, MSci, PhD(Cand RMIT)
- Mrs Gonni Runia
- Prof Sean Winter BA(Hons) DPhil
- Revd Prof Geoff Thompson
- Choir Director, Mr John Weretka
Senior Common Room Members
Master, Prof. David T. Runia
BA (Hons), MA DipEd Litt D (Melb), DLitt (VU Amsterdam), FAHA
Born in the Netherlands and descended from solid Frisian stock, David has spent his life moving backwards and forwards between the Netherlands and Australia. He first came out to this country with his parents at the age of four and grew up in Geelong, where he attended The Geelong College and was dux of the school in 1968. His youth in Geelong has resulted in an indelible Australian accent and inevitable support for a particular football team (though he also greatly enjoys cricket).
In 1969 he went up to Queen’s on a Hitchcock scholarship and resided here for three formative years while he studying Classics, History and Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. On completing his BA (Hons) in 1972 he continued to study at the University and obtained a MA (thesis subject: The letters of Synesius of Cyrene) and a DipEd. In 1977, having won the University of Melbourne Travelling Scholarship, he returned to The Netherlands and pursued a doctorate in Ancient Philosophy at the Free University, Amsterdam. It was completed in 1983 and obtained the highest grade of cum laude. Its subject focused on the Greek-speaking Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria and the use he made of Plato’s dialogue the Timaeus in interpreting the creation account in Genesis, the first book of the Bible.
On completing his doctorate David obtained the prestigious C & C Huygens Post-doctoral award in the Netherlands, which allowed him to continue his research and become a visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, U.S.A., and the Humanities Research Centre, ANU, Canberra. In 1989 he spent a year in Münster, Germany, as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow. In 1990 he was appointed lecturer in ancient philosophy at the Free University, Amsterdam. The next year he became Professor Extraordinarius at the University of Utrecht, and in 1992 he was appointed to the chair of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands’ oldest and most famous university. From 1995 to 1999 he was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy.
In 2002 David returned to Melbourne to take up the position of Master of his old College. At present, in addition to being Master, he is also Professorial Fellow of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University, as well as being Professor Extraordinarius in the Department of Ancient Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa.
David’s chief research interests have been in the history of ideas and particularly the relation between Greek philosophy and the Judaeo-Christian tradition. He is a world authority on the figure of Philo of Alexandria, the learned Greek-speaking Jew who lived at the same time as Jesus Christ. He is also currently doing research on the sources for the history of early Greek philosophy. This research has been supported by two Australian Research Council grants which enable him to work together with colleagues from overseas.
David is married to Gonni, who also has a Dutch background. They have three children. Their daughter Emma lives in Amsterdam She is married to Daniel and they have a son Oliver. Their two sons moved with them to Australia and now live in Melbourne.
As a result of many years of research and teaching experience David is convinced that ancient ideas, especially in the areas of ethics and spirituality, are highly relevant to our lives and culture as we experience them in the 21st century. He also believes that the College, as a residential academic community where senior, middle and junior members mix together, is an excellent place for such ideas to be presented and discussed.
Dean of Studies, Dr Brenda Holt
BA, DipEd, MA, PhD
Brenda joined Queen’s College in late October 2014 as the inaugural Dean of Studies.
Brenda’s work as an educator over the last 25 years has spanned from secondary to tertiary institutions. Starting her career at an outer suburban high school in Melbourne as an English teacher, Brenda moved to the higher education sector in 1993. She has worked as an academic advisor, counsellor, teacher, head of a residential college, researcher and administrator during this time. Although she grew up in rural Texas in the USA, she has been a happy migrant in Australia, mainly Melbourne, since 1989.
For the last decade, Brenda’s academic work has been focused around equity and access for underrepresented young people. Frustrated with seeing young rural Australians represented mainly in educational statistical data, Brenda decided to undertake a PhD in order to demonstrate some of the complexities of inequality in education that are hard to measure. Her thesis, Global Routes/Rural Roots: Identity, Rural Women and Higher Education, was completed at the end of 2007 and won the 2009 Chancellor’s Prize (Social Sciences). An Honorary Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Brenda has written several published articles and is a regular presenter at education conferences.
Outside of work, Brenda’s interests include reading (she’s in two book clubs), going to live theatre, eating out in Melbourne and spending time with her husband and teenage children.
Dean of Wellbeing, Prof. Dr Tim Corney
Tim was appointed in July 2014 as the inaugural Dean of Student Wellbeing and has worked with young people and students in academia, industry and the community sector for more than two decades. He has fulfilled roles as a youth worker, senior manager of youth services, researcher, academic, and as a consultant and adviser to community agencies, peak bodies and governments. Tim has published widely in the area of youth studies and is currently a Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education, the University of Melbourne and an adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Education at Victoria University. Among his research interests are the sociology of youth, school to work transitions, youth and community development, and programs for young people at risk.
College Chaplain, Rev. Sally Apokis
Sally has worked in educational chaplaincy in Australia and in the United Kingdom for twenty years, most recently as the Chaplain to the University of Kent, the University of Greenwich, and the University of Canterbury Christ Church—where she was also an Honorary Canon of Rochester Cathedral. Sally is an ordained Christian minister and holds both theological and educational qualifications. She has worked in community development over many years working for peace, justice and reconciliation and as a part of the interfaith movement. She is passionate about affirming the goodness and spirituality of young people and their vocations. Offering hospitality and using the creative arts, Sally offers an inclusive and vibrant chaplaincy.
Senior Tutor, Mrs Helen Corney
BAppSci, DipTraining, MSci, PhD(Cand RMIT)
Helen Corney is an environmental scientist at RMIT University and a Senior Tutor at Queen’s College. Helen has worked in government, academia and the not-for-profit sector in environmental management for 30 years.
Revd Dr Sean Winter
Rev Sean Winter is Queen’s Dean of Chapel and is Head of Department for Biblical Studies at the United Faculty of Theology
Choir Director, Mr John Weretka
BA (Hons), GradCertArts (Art History), PostGradDipArts (Art History), GradDipTheol, GradDipHumanities (Latin), AMusA
John Weretka holds qualifications in mediaeval history, musicology, art history, theology and Latin language and literature and is currently a masters student at the University of Divinity. His masters thesis is a translation of and commentary on the Liber Primus of the twelfth-century bishop and theologian Sicard of Cremona’s liturgical commentary De mitrale, with an examination of its position within the tradition of the liturgical commentary in the Middle Ages and its links to works such as Jean Beleth’s Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, Honorius of Autun’s Gemma animae and Hugh of St Victor’s Speculum de mysteriis ecclesiae. John has taught subjects on the history of music in the Renaissance and Baroque period and harmony and counterpoint for the Faculty of Music at the University of Melbourne.
He has given public lectures and talks for bodies including the Johnston Collection, and the National Gallery of Victoria, and is a frequent preconcert speaker for the Australian Chamber Orchestra. He is a cultural tour leader for Australians Studying Abroad, for whom he has led tours in Rome, Sicily and the Low Countries. Active as a performing musician, John has appeared as a singer or viola da gambist in festivals including the Melbourne International Festival of the Arts, the Castlemaine State Festival, the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Festival, the Four Winds Festival at Bermagui, and the Melbourne International Festival of Organ and Harpsichord/Melbourne Autumn Music Festival and with groups including e21 and Ensemble Gombert. John was Director of Music at St Peter’s Anglican Church (Eastern Hill) from 2003 to 2008. Visit the College choir page for more information.
Mrs Gonni Runia
Revd Prof. Geoff Thompson
Rev Dr Geoff Thompson recently joined the Faculty of the Uniting Church Theological College at the CTM as Professor of Systematic Theology. Geoff returns to Melbourne after twelve years as Principal and Director Studies of Trinity Theological College in Brisbane, the ministerial and theological training college of the Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia. In late June, he relocated to Parkville with his wife Linda and one of his two sons, Jamie. Current research involves finishing a book on a Uniting Church Theology exploring the way the Basis of Union engages with contemporary theological issues. Geoff’s longer term hope is to research in the area of Discipleship Christology and drawing on the way the death and resurrection of Jesus are related to each other in the systematic theological tradition.