Southern Cross Matters
From the Vice-Chancellor
After our Christmas and New Year break period, a great deal of activity and energy has already returned to our campuses as we prepare for the important year ahead. In 2024, we mark the significant milestone of our 30th year as a University in our own right, and it is exciting indeed to be a part of our institution at such a time. Over the coming several weeks, so much of our collective focus will be on laying the foundation for success across the coming year and on preparing to welcome the commencing class of 2024 as well as those returning to study after beginning their academic journey in earlier periods. I am so proud of the spirit being displayed across so many of our teams as we work to create an outstanding learning environment and experience for our students and of the innovations being made as we strive to achieve this.
It was in that same spirit that I hosted a series of recognition events at our Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Gold Coast Campuses late last year, and one of the things you will find in this edition of Southern Cross Matters is a record of all of those whose contribution in 2023 we celebrated at those wonderful events.
I hope that you have had an enjoyable period of down time during the summer, hope that you enjoy this brief January edition of Southern Cross Matters and look forward to working with each of you during this anniversary year as we make Southern Cross University an even more special place to be a part of.
Exciting new era emerges under the leadership of Professor Jon Hill
When Professor Jon Hill arrived with us last year as Executive Dean in the Faculty of Science and Engineering – his appointment could not have been more timely.
As the University prepares to launch a Bachelor of Veterinary Technology and a Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine (Honours) in 2025, Professor Hill brings more than 30 years’ experience in the field, including 10 years as a veterinarian in private practice followed by an outstanding academic/research career in Australia and the United States.
Professor Hill says the new degree reflects the University’s strong commitment to its region and responds to shortages in the veterinary sector, especially in rural areas. It is envisaged the first cohort of around 30 students will begin in Term 1 2025.
“Veterinary education is changing as resources such as AI advanced diagnosis, treatment, breeding and animal care from household pets to major farming and industry operations. That is exciting for a prospective veterinary student,” he says.
“It also fits with the University’s philosophy and leadership in education, informing the structure of a degree in which students will benefit from the flexibility of the Southern Cross Model and be encouraged to remain and practice in this region.”
Having grown up in Brisbane, Professor Hill launched his veterinary career in private practice in Western NSW.
Switching to academia in the mid-1990s, he completed his doctorate at Texas A&M University in the US, where he was the first scientist to clone an adult bull – a 21-year-old show bull named Chance. The clone was appropriately named Second Chance and the scientific breakthrough saw Professor Hill chatting about cattle cloning on breakfast TV’s Good Morning America.
Later, at Cornell University in New York State and then with Australia’s CSIRO, Professor Hill led research teams that achieved further breakthroughs in animal reproduction, including IVF and stem cell techniques.
From 2008-2020, he was Dean and then Professor of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland, securing global accreditation for its veterinary program. His most recent role was as Executive Dean of the College of Science Health Education & Engineering at Western Australia’s Murdoch University.
Now, having crossed the country from west coast to east, Professor Hill is looking forward to guiding the Faculty of Science and Engineering during what he says is a time of exciting change and opportunity.
Drum roll… another round of recognition for our galaxy of stars
At Southern Cross we strive for excellence. We work hard when we have to, but we also like to celebrate the fruits of our labour. Leading to the well-deserved summer break, the University praised excellence in different areas, including teaching, research and professional services.
Here is a big shout-out to our fellow colleagues!
2023 Teaching Excellence Award recipients:
- Outstanding Teaching Awards: These awards are presented to current continuing, fixed-term, and casual academic staff from each Faculty and College who are recognized in the top 5% and 10% of teachers based on student feedback. These outstanding teachers have received consistently high student feedback across the previous 12 months.
- Associate Professor Stuart Barlo - Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
- Dr Mish Singh and Dr Kerrie Stimpson - SCU College
- Associate Professor David Heilpern, Associate Professor Mandy Shircore, Dr Chris Lawler, Dr Ilja Nastjuk and Warwick Fisher - Faculty of Business, Law and Arts
- Dr Aidan Coleman, Patrick Bruck and Stella O'Toole - Faculty of Education
- Dr John Whitting, Nikki Rossiter, Hannah Jeffers, Alec McKenzie, Georgia Page and Ainsley Skye - Faculty of Health
- Professor Kirsten Benkendorff, Professor Symon Dworjanyn, Professor Brendan Kelaher and Dr Nehemia Sugianto - Faculty of Science and Engineering
- Dr Mo Kader and Clare du Plessis - The Hotel School (Educational Partnerships Board).
- Inspiring Educators: Nominated by the University’s Deans, these select awards of recognition go to our colleagues who stand out and inspire others at Southern Cross for the quality and impact of their teaching.
- Dr Kelly Menzel - Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
- Dr Rikki Quinn and Ros Walpole – SCU College
- Mekhala Adhikari Egodowale and Linda Wasiela - Faculty of Business, Law and Arts
- Dr Lisa Siegel – Faculty of Education
- Dr Lily Guo – Faculty of Health
- Dr Vinh Bui and Dr Adam Canning – Faculty of Science and Engineering.
2023 Awards for Research Excellence: The work of our researchers has attracted extraordinary amounts of funding and interest from around the globe. Our researchers have collaborated with dozens of industry and other university partners, driving projects that span hemp to healthcare and coral to classrooms.
- Early career researchers: Dr Georgina Dimopoulos, Dr Kelly Menzel, Dr Dylan Poulus and Dr Simone Blom.
- Mid-career researchers: Associate Professor Joanne Oakes, Associate Professor Christian Swann, Dr Aspa Baroutis, Dr David Newell and Dr Gregory P Smith
- Senior researchers: Professor Anne Graham, Professor Dirk Erler, Professor Andrew Rose and Dr Pascal Scherrer.
- Outstanding contribution to impact: Dr Janet Schloss (Industry) and Dr Cooper Schouten (Community).
- Inspiring researchers – Deans Nomination: Professor Sue Walker, Associate Professor Wendy Boyd, Associate Professor Lynne McPherson, Associate Professor Renaud Joannes-Boyau, Associate Professor Mark Wellard, Dr Erika Kerruish, Dr Ali Alaei, Dr Ya-Ling Huang and Dr Vihn Bui.
2023 Professional Staff Recognition Awards: These awards celebrate outstanding professional staff who provide exceptional service, who are bold innovators, and who are passionate about safety.
- Exceptional Service: Evan Crandon (Office of Engagement), Sallyanne Donnelly (Library Services), Chris Hannigan (Student Experience & Engagement), Virginia Ingham (Gnibi College Indigenous Australian Peoples), Donald Johnston (Office of Business Intelligence & Quality), Shreyas Kale (Office of Engagement) and Nick Simmons, (Coffs Harbour Campus Administration)
- Innovation and Quality Improvement: Bronwyn Browne (Faculty of Health), Dani Chittick (Office of Engagement), Erin Crandon (Office of Business Intelligence & Quality), Sonia Gardner-Hillgrove (Faculty of Health), Jessica McKendry (Student Outreach), Rachel Ritchie (Library Services) and Jessica Wynyard (Southern Cross Global)
- Safety Excellence: Iain Alexander (Southern Cross Analytical Research Services), Amanda Beasley (Faculty of Science & Engineering), Briony Leonard (Student Care & Support) and Jacoba Van Crugten (Faculty of Health).
Welcome to the team
Lincoln Nettleton, Research Ethics Support Officer - Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Emilia Decker, Digital Research Analyst - Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Bek Lehner, Associate Lecturer - Gnibi College Indigenous Australian Peoples
Robyn Santos, Workplace Health and Safety Business Partner – HR Services
Donna Moodie, Lecturer - Gnibi College Indigenous Australian Peoples
Mason Burr, Finance Business Partner - Financial Performance
Fayyaz Muhammad, Senior Engineer (Linux Platforms) - Technology Services
Allison Lonsdale, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Louise Brodie, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Alarnah McKee, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Michaela Flood, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Georgia Ten Buuren, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Taylor Newling-Walkden, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement
Regan Moore, First Year Adviser - Student Experience and Engagement