The University's core commitment to teaching drew renewed attention over this period. There was much pride in the five individual and team recipients of Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citations (2009), reflecting a commitment to the quality of student learning and the overall student experience. Success here prompted efforts to nurture a high performance culture more broadly, and Vice Chancellor's Awards for Excellence were inaugurated in 2011. These awards celebrated and recognised staff who demonstrated excellence in the areas of teaching and learning, research, professional staff performance and community engagement.
In order to provide additional pathways into university, SCU College was established in 2012 offering Associate Degrees in Arts and Business. To expand the disciplines offered, in 2013 the University accepted its first students into a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering.
One measure of student success, and of location, is in the graduation ceremonies. In 2012, the achievement of more than 4000 students who graduated was celebrated in ceremonies held at Coffs Harbour, Sydney, and Lismore and for the first time at the Gold Coast and Tweed Heads. Offshore graduation events were held at Singapore, Hong Kong and China.
Southern Cross University continued to focus on consolidating and strengthening its research, bringing together leading researchers to further develop capacity in areas including geochemistry, marine science, tourism, health, and children and young people. The University was a partner in three 2009 successful Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) bids - CRC for Infrastructure and Engineering Asset Management, CRC for Remote Economic Participation, and Wound Management Innovation CRC. At that time the University was an active participant in eight CRCs. Southern Cross GeoScience, a Special Research Centre, was formally opened during 2010 and Southern Cross Plant Science was formed - bringing together the Centre for Plant Conservation Genetics and the Centre for Phytochemistry and Pharmacology.
The Excellence in Research for Australia 2010 report highlighted Southern Cross University's growing research capacity. Earning a 'well above world class rating' in the field of geochemistry and 'above world class' in the field of earth sciences was an exceptional result for a university of our size and relative age. The University also received a 'world standard' rating for research in each of the fields of agriculture, forestry and nursing.
In the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia report, the University received the top rating of 'well above world standard' in the four specific research fields of geochemistry, zoology, crop and pasture production and forestry sciences and in the broader research fields of earth sciences and agriculture and veterinary sciences.
The major addition to facilities was the construction of the foundation building of the southern Gold Coast campus throughout 2009 ahead of the first intake of students in 2010. Expansion of this Gold Coast campus continued, with the opening of Building B in 2012, while at the Coffs Harbour campus construction began on new teaching and research facilities. A major master planning project was undertaken at the Lismore campus to guide future planning and in January 2013, it was announced the University would receive $28 million through the federal government's Education Investment Fund (Regional Priorities) for the development of a Science and Engineering Precinct and a new Library at the Lismore campus.