Meet Chris Topp: Flinders' New Technology Services and Innovation Manager

Matthew Flinders Anglican College welcomes Mr Chris Topp to our community as our new Technology Services and Innovation Manager. Reporting to the Director of Business and Operations, Chris will lead and support the Technology Services team to ensure optimal performance of IT systems across the College. Chris brings vast experience and passion to the role, and we welcome him and his family to Flinders. We asked Chris to share his story and vision for his role through this Q&A profile.

Q: What will you bring to your role to support and guide Flinders students and our College community? 

Outside of a pretty deep technical knowledge across a number of commercial platforms, my true passion lies around raising awareness and teaching skills that are defensible to what is currently Industry 4.0, and no doubt in the future Industry 5.0, Artificial Intelligence 2.0 and whatever Machine Learning might look like, whilst concurrently contributing to the society as a whole.

As an ambassador for the Universal Learning Programme, inspired by Ecolint in Geneva, Switzerland and underpinned by UNESCO-IBE research, I have a very clear understanding of what skills students need to be equipped for the workforce of the future.

Encouraging the development of micro-competencies is going to be an essential element in the development of students' critical thinking skills, multidisciplinarity and universal or deep understanding. This, in turn, when stitched together can lead to macro-competencies, such as Passion, Mastery, Collaboration and Character, which is underpinned and supported by the teaching staff at Flinders. 

How are you keen to contribute to our College? 

I’m looking forward to supporting all staff in the ongoing improvement of processes and systems which align with the College’s Strategic Plan goals, especially in the area of Micro Credentialing, which has enormous potential to unlock the whole person outside of an academic result. 

Please share some of your life and career story. 

I grew up in the Cotswolds, not too far from Oxford University, and have always had a keen interest in technology – from the very early days. After running a successful start-up in Bath for five years, I migrated with my wife to Melbourne and have lived in the Yarra Valley for the last 20 years, where I worked in the Lutheran education system.

I love the education space – it’s one of the few spaces where you can really spread your wings and immerse yourself in new and emerging technology. Fortunately for me, I have been in the right place at the right time for most of my life. Long may that continue!

What are you expecting to enjoy about relocating to the Sunshine Coast? 

We moved as a family to the Sunshine Coast last week, so it will take some time to offer an informed opinion, but all the signs are looking good!

What hobbies will you explore here? 

I enjoy walking, cycling, travel and cooking. I am always looking for an opportunity to immerse myself in experiences off the beaten track.

What do you enjoy about working in a school community? 

A school’s overarching intent to provide a safe and top quality education is very closely aligned with my personal principles and perspective on life. The diversity and dynamic environment of education is a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the greater good through service and action.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? 

“Whilst it is difficult, it's not impossible, so don’t give up.” 

Who gave you the advice and how has it helped you to grow as a person? 

The advice came from the chief advisor to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard when I had to present to her in Canberra regarding a cyber-safety solution for children. During the course of the conversation we tripped over a number of laws that would need changing should they move forward. To me it showed a deep understanding of the complexities involved, but a desire not to let that complexity be a reason not to try something in the first place.

Thanks to Chris for sharing his story with us.

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