Vice President (Engagement)

a portrait of Ben roche the Vice President of Engagement at Southern Cross University

In this executive position, Ben has an overarching responsibility to align Southern Cross University's strengths and ambitions for impact with the needs of the people and enterprises in our campus regions.

Ben leads the delivery of the ‘Engaged University Impact Framework’; cultivating engaged researchers, students and communities through partnerships designed, led and executed to deliver impact and mutual benefit to all stakeholders.

Ben was drawn to Southern Cross University because of its focus on delivering a sustainable engagement model, aligning the ambitions of students, researchers, alumni, enterprise and the community and ensuring these are reflected in the university's strategic priorities.

As a human geographer, Ben is passionate about participatory approaches to sustainable development and the role that education and engagement can play in creating resilience, capacity and well-being in communities. He has taught, researched and practised in the areas of community-based learning, participatory planning, sustainable development and community engagement. Ben also provides advice to various organisations and governments on strategic approaches to education, engagement and development.

Ben's contribution to community engagement in higher education, specifically service learning in built environment disciplines, has been recognised through a national Carrick Citation. He also received the Edith Cowan Authentic Learning Award from the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia. In 2019, Ben received the Australian Financial Review Higher Education Award for Best Industry Engagement and the Business Higher Education Roundtable Award for Excellence in Community Engagement for the national pilot program, Farming Together. Ben is the Immediate Past President of Engagement Australia.

About the Office of the Vice President (Engagement)

The Vice President (Engagement) portfolio is focused on enabling regional and global connectivity and partnering in support of the University’s strategic objectives. It is comprised of a series of related activity clusters: SCU Global, Office of Engagement and Strategic Projects.

As a key portfolio within Southern Cross, we strive to connect rich student experiences, relevant research and teaching with our partners and stakeholders in business, industry, schools, training colleges and the wider community.

SCU Global

The Global team is the custodian of the Southern Cross University story across the world. SCU Global connects, brokers and facilitates partnering with overseas institutions, agents and individuals to deliver quality academic and development outcomes in the context of the University’s strategic priorities.

Key functions include:

  • International student recruitment
  • Study Abroad programs
  • Global Mobility for domestic students
  • International institutional collaborations and pathways

Strategic Projects

Design and form industry-driven collaborations that yield an increase in externally funded research and education opportunities against identified strategic priorities.

Key functions include:

  • Farming Together national pilot program
  • Regenerative Agriculture Alliance
  • Industry and Government liaison
  • New strategic industry-driven initiatives.

Office of Engagement

The Office of Engagement is a broad team that leads the University’s brand and marketing, its digital interface with the world and its storytelling and content creation. The Office also drives domestic student recruitment and builds connectivity across our campus regions through partnerships and sponsorships. Our alumni relations and donor and philanthropic functions also sit within this team.