Academic Excellence 2021

Leading teaching and research recognised

Whether it's developing innovative solutions for the commercialisation of waste by-products, world-class courses in mental health or a revolutionary new study model, the latest round of academic promotions highlights the diverse and important work of Southern Cross teachers and researchers. A total of 15 academic leaders were acknowledged through the rigorous process of academic promotion. Their work covers diverse areas in science, arts, education, health, agriculture and engineering.


man standing in front of machinery
Professor Dirk Erler

Innovation in aquatic nutrient cycling and the circular economy

Whether it’s collecting samples along the continental shelf or extracting energy and nutrients from wastewater, Dirk Erler’s research is broadly divided along two lines: understanding aquatic nutrient cycling in natural systems, and developing strategies to improve nutrient recovery in engineered systems. It’s taken him to Lake Eyre in Central Australia to measure greenhouse gas emissions in a scientific first and has also led to collaborative circular economy projects to recover nutrients from wastewater and turn them into commercially viable products.

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Associate Professors

Richard Lakeman
Associate Professor Richard Lakeman

Developing the next generation of mental health professionals

Richard originally trained as a nurse and later as a psychotherapist. He’s worked in the mental health field as a clinician, researcher, manager and academic in Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. His research interests are broad, including trauma, mental health programme evaluation, mental health recovery, stigma and discrimination, recovery from suicidal crisis, and professional competency in psychotherapy. Richard coordinates the University’s online postgraduate mental health programmes. During his long career, he has developed and taught courses to homeless sector workers, peer support organisations (e.g. GROW), and a wide variety of health professionals.

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Raina headshot
Associate Professor Raina Mason

Making a difference for students in IT

Raina is Discipline Lead for IT. She worked for many years in IT, primarily managing and completing software development contracts for small to medium-size businesses and government departments. Her passion for equity and diversity, and for making learning achievable in difficult topics finally brought her back to the education sphere, where some highlights have included coordinating and redesign of the Bachelor of Information Technology and its preparation for the industry ACS accreditation. Her research interests include cognitive load theory to inform instructional design of courses and factors that encourage or inhibit the uptake of careers in technology for women.

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Paul Orrock
Associate Professor Paul Orrock

Advancing the osteopathy profession with academic rigour


Paul has practiced, taught and researched osteopathy for decades and is an established leader both nationally and internationally in the discipline. He has completed funded projects on the health workforce for Osteopathy Australia and educational projects on the development and assessment of clinical reasoning. He has served the University as a course developer and coordinator, director of clinical education and Head of School. His research interests are in the pedagogy of case-based learning and clinical reasoning for health practitioner students, as well as clinical outcome studies for complex interventions.

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Suzi Syme
Associate Professor Suzi Syme

Developing world-class enabling programs for students of all backgrounds

Suzi Syme is Associate Dean (Education) of SCU College and coordinator of the award-winning Preparing for Success Program. Her main interests are in developing curriculum and pedagogy that are specifically designed to give students a voice and empower them with the academic skills and understandings to actively participate in fulfilling their educational goals at university. Suzi is currently co-leading a project benchmarking enabling programs with the aim of establishing a national framework of academic standards for enabling programs across Australia.

Find out me about her work

Senior Lecturers

Dr Leticia Anderson
Dr Leticia Anderson

Developing culturally inclusive and community engaged education

Leticia has a dual research speciality in inclusive higher education research, teaching and partnerships, and on race relations and Islamophobia in contemporary Australian society. She is currently a Lecturer in Humanities and Course Coordinator for the Bachelor of Arts. She previously worked as the Degree Director for the Master of Peace and Conflict Studies at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Sydney, and as a Lecturer at the National Centre for Cultural Competence. Prior to commencing her academic career, Leticia worked in the Indigenous rights and reconciliation movement, most recently as Executive Officer for the NSW Reconciliation Council.

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Dr Mandy Hughes
Dr Mandy Hughes

Fostering social justice through learning


Mandy is a passionate and experienced ​lecturer in sociology, a researcher and filmmaker. She ​is the Social Science course coordinator and has more than a decade's experience working in higher education. Mandy​ has also worked in schools, community and international development and in media, including working in television for ABC and SBS. Her research interests include refugee studies, creative arts, social inequalities and regional communities. Mandy uses visual and collaborative research methods to communicate social justice and inclusion issues. She has been involved in a long-term, award-winning research partnership with Anglicare North Coast documenting a program supporting women from refugee backgrounds. Mandy has been a member of the Multicultural NSW Regional Advisory Council since 2016.

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Ben Mos portrait
Dr Benjamin Mos

Exploring new frontiers and opportunities in aquaculture

Based at the National Marine Science Centre, Ben’s work has included projects to develop technology for a sea urchin industry in Australia, understanding the lifecycle of marine invertebrates and the effects of climate change as well as the human impacts in oceans and waterways. Ben is a descendant of the Turrbal people, the original inhabitants of Meeanjin (Brisbane) and he believes this rich heritage has helped with his career as a scientist. Ben teaches first and second year undergraduate science units and his research is funded by an Australian Research Council Indigenous Discovery grant and Discovery Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award.

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Dr Kirstine Shrubsole
Dr Kirstine Shrubsole

Pushing the boundaries of evidence-based research in stroke and aphasia

Kirstine is a speech pathologist with a specific clinical and research focus on post-stroke aphasia and improving implementation of evidence-based practice. She is currently a Chief Investigator on a NHMRC Partnership Project to improve aphasia treatment with health services across Australia and provides regular support to clinicians and healthcare services focusing on improving evidence-based practice in stroke and aphasia. Kirstine collaborates with the Stroke Foundation and the stroke community to develop priorities for implementation of clinical guidelines.

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Dr Golam Sorwar
Dr Golam Sorwar

Advancing our understanding of healthcare and digital technology

Golam is an interdisciplinary researcher whose current research interests are in sustainable and responsible ICT innovation in health care. He has achieved a very high level of recognition in his research and scholarly activities nationally and internationally. He has published about 100 peer-reviewed articles and most recently featured as a panellist at the University's AI in Healthcare symposium. He is currently supervising five PhD students. He is also an executive member of the Southern Cross University Human Research Ethics Committee.

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Dr Liz Goode
Dr Liz Goode

Enabling education and implementing academic innovation

Liz has been instrumental in the implementation of the University’s new academic structure, the Southern Cross Model. Her focus as an educator is on preparing and empowering students from diverse backgrounds for university study in both blended and fully online modes. From 2019-2020 she taught in the Preparing for Success Program in SCU College and she is also the recipient of an Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, and several Vice Chancellor's Citations. Her current research interests include pedagogy, engagement and success in online and blended education, with a specific focus on non-traditional students in enabling programs.

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Dr Luke Jeffrey
Dr Luke Jeffrey

Investigating the role of trees in greenhouse gas cycles

Referenced in the United Nation’s latest IPCC report, Luke’s work in tree-mediated methane emissions has achieved international attention. A wetland biogeochemist and scientist with experience in greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater, estuaries and carbon cycling, Luke is currently leading a project team exploring the role trees play in releasing methane from soils to the atmosphere, part of an ARC-funded collaborative project on tree-mediated methane fluxes. He teaches in the Faculty of Science and Engineering and currently supervises two PhD candidates.

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Dr Mitchell Longstaff
Dr Mitchell Longstaff

Uncovering the secrets of the human mind

Are female eyewitnesses more reliable than males? This is just one of the tricky issues Mitchell investigates in his extensive research on sex differences and cognitive function. His research interests include fundamental and applied cognition – memory, discrete/dynamic motor control, psychomotor skills (handwriting, drawing, aiming), as well as the philosophy of science, the history and philosophy of psychology, and topics related to pedagogy and epistemology. Mitchell teaches diverse units in Psychology and supervises several Honours, Masters and PhD students every year.

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Man laughing while tending bee hive
Dr Cooper Schouten

Building apiculture capacity in the Indo-Pacific region

Cooper specialises in international agricultural research and has extensive beekeeping research, capacity building, training and extension experience working throughout of the Indo-Pacific region. He is the project manager for the Bees for Sustainable Livelihoods Research Group and currently oversees a four-year ACIAR project in PNG and Fiji, with active research in the fields of honey bee nutrition, biosecurity, queen bee breeding, post-harvest handling and marketing, and gender equity and participatory approaches to apiculture. He teaches in the regenerative agriculture program and supervises several HDR students.

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Maggie Scorey
Maggie Scorey

Ensuring the best placement opportunities for occupational therapy students

Maggie Scorey is practice education lead in Occupational Therapy. She is currently co-chair of the University Occupational Therapy Practice Education Network-Queensland and co-course coordinator for the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy. Maggie currently teaches fourth year practice education units of study - Advanced Fieldwork and Health Promotion and Primary Health Care and has received two Community Engaged Learning Awards.

Find out more about her work