The Dean is responsible for overseeing the daily management of all aspects college life, supporting both the students and residential staff in making sure the college is safe, enjoyable and all-inclusive.

Michael Patoka


I’m a husband and father of 3 young children and I’ve been working in student housing for over a decade in Sydney and London.

I grew up just over the hill in Coogee and completed my Masters at UNSW, so when I joined Colombo House it really felt like I was coming home.

As Dean, I get to be a part of the academic and personal journey of the students who live here. Colombo House is a college that celebrates diversity, maturity and independence and I look forward to having a chat with you when you arrive!

What cheers you up?

The ocean breeze and the first sensation of jumping into water.

What was the last picture you took on your phone?

My weekend cook up of pizza waffles… delicious!

What’s something you’ve been really proud of lately?

My daughter starting school.

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?

My grandfather. I was named after him, but never got the chance to meet him.

How do you spend your free time?

Once a week I love to go for a kayak on Sydney Harbour. I love the water!

The Deputy Dean is typically in their final year of study or already holding a degree. They have the same function as a Resident Fellow and assist the Dean in administration and discipline matters.

Christopher Mann

Deputy Dean

I’m Christopher Mann, from Armidale, NSW and I moved to Sydney to study at UNSW. In my first 2 years, I lived on campus at Philip Baxter College. I also worked for Arc@UNSW and sat on their board of directors for 2 years and chaired the board for 1 year.

After graduating, I started working as a sustainability design consultant at Cundall as well as working at Colombo House.

The most enjoyable part of my role is meeting all of the students and getting to know them. It’s really fun taking people to a rugby game who have never watched the sport before, or going to our college events where students from all around the world cook a local dish.

It’s so much fun seeing students interact with all the different cultures we have.

What 3 words describe Colombo House?

Food. Culture. Diversity.

Who would you pick as your mentor (living or dead)?

Elon Musk. The guy is the right mix of insane and genius.

If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Flying a plane or a helicopter would be awesome.

Favourite flavour of ice-cream?

Salted caramel – from Gelato Messina, that stuff… man it’s so good!

If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose?

Phil Dunphy from Modern Family – coolest dad character.

Resident Assistants

Resident Assistants (RAs) are assigned to each floor of Colombo House. They’re volunteer senior student leaders whose role is to make sure each and every student has access to any support they may need. The RA team works closely with the Deputy Dean and Dean, ensuring the pastoral care of all residents is of the highest quality.