Southern Cross Matters

"Southern Cross Matters is designed to help us stay in touch with key developments and our achievements as a University community."

Tyrone Carlin
Vice-Chancellor, Southern Cross University

Southern Cross Matters
Professor Tyrone Carlin
Professor Tyrone Carlin, Vice-Chancellor and President

From the Vice-Chancellor

One of the joyful aspects of being part of our University community is the opportunity to meet and work with people with widely differing interests, expertise and worldviews. Ensuring that we continue to nurture the conditions in which this occurs such that we build a culture in which we seek out and harness the strength that flows from diverse contributions to our work in education and research is core to our ongoing success.

It is appropriate, in light of this, that the May edition of Southern Cross Matters reflects in a very tangible way the variety and the excitement that we continue to weave together into the fabric of this institution. As you read through the material that has been brought together, I hope you experience in a vivid way why some of your colleagues are so enthralled by drains and swamps, others by bees and honey and others still by the task of preparing the next generation of this nation’s legal practitioners.

As you do this, I hope you reflect with pride that the variety that is condensed into the pages of this publication can only ever represent a narrow slice of the amazing things taking place on our campuses each day and how you as a member of our University community have a stake in this activity, even where it is far removed from the work you do each day in your role. Universities can seem mysterious places to many in our community, but through storytelling, we can bring to light in very relatable ways the effect of our revolutionary approach to learning and the real world impacts of the research we do – and just how passionate we are about this.

Integrated clinical training and collaborative research centre at new Tweed Valley Hospital
Artist's render of the Alliance building at the new Tweed Valley Hospital

Institutional Alliance creates health research and training powerhouse

Faculty of Health students, staff and researchers will be rushing to hospital for a good reason with a collaborative clinical training and research centre to be established at the new Tweed Valley Hospital. 

The centre is the result of a new institutional Alliance comprising of Southern Cross, Griffith University, Bond University and TAFE NSW in collaboration with the Northern NSW Local Health District. The Northern NSW Academic Health Alliance will deliver a collaborative clinical training program and research hub at the Tweed Valley Hospital Learning, Development and Research building. State-of-the-art education, training, simulation, library facilities and on-site clinical supervisors will be available for researchers and health students.

The hub is expected to open by the end of the year. Vice-President (Engagement) at Southern Cross University Mr Ben Roche said that the Alliance was a unique partnership with common goals.

“By harnessing our collective strengths, we can offer world-class facilities and training for students and pursue research that has impact nationally and globally. There is a clear and long-term benefit for our institutions and our communities,” Mr Roche said.

Faculty of Health Executive Dean Professor Julie Jomeen said the Alliance provides research opportunities to collaborate across organisations in areas of mutual interest.

“The research hub provides an opportunity for us to look at synergies across organisations and bring together our strengths and expertise in order to advance research more rapidly in those areas,” Professor Jomeen said. 

“What that will allow us to do is to work with the hospital and with the community in order to translate those findings into reality. So, it’s about the community receiving better services and better care as a consequence of the research that’s been undertaken.

“It’s a really amazing opportunity for students as well. What we are able to do through this Alliance is work towards ensuring that there’s a strong pipeline for the workforce and that we are producing students who are able to deliver healthcare of the future.”

Dean of Law, Associate Professor David Heilpern
Dean of Law, Associate Professor David Heilpern

Dean of Law welcomes increase in student enrolments

The verdict is in. Law at Southern Cross University continues to rise with strong student enrolments for 2023 and courses ranked highly across the Faculty of Business, Law and Arts.

Future legal professionals are responding to factors including the flexibility of the Southern Cross Model, a rejuvenated focus on teaching scholarship and learning experience, closer and clearer engagement with the legal industry, and a buoyant job market. The Bachelor of Laws and Associate Degree of Law (Paralegal Studies) lead the resurgence of the discipline, with both featuring in the Faculty’s Top 5 for increases in Equivalent Full Time Student Load (EFTSL) when compared to 2022.

Dean of Law, Associate Professor David Heilpern, said the result reflected a concerted and collegiate effort across the Faculty. 

“It is an exciting time that validates our heightened commitment to our students, and aligns with the relevance, quality and delivery of our degrees,” he said.

Associate Professor Heilpern said the shorter, more focused structure of the Southern Cross Model was settling well with Law students and bodes well for the future. 

“Hardly a week goes by without professional firms making contact and telling me of their need to fill positions. The employment market is very strong in our region and that is good news for incoming students and our graduates,” he said.

“As we continue to build and improve our relationship with the industry, we are ensuring to provide a great learning experience and produce superb graduates ready to lead the next generation of private practitioners, government lawyers, First People advocates or wherever their degrees might take them.”

The enrolment figures also follow recent developments such as the introduction of Practical Legal Training (PLT) at the Coffs Harbour campus. Run by the College of Law – the largest provider of practice-focused legal education in Australasia – PLT is a requirement for all law graduates who wish to be admitted to practise in Australia.

“Our students can now navigate the entire legal pathway with us – from study to graduation to practice. That is a huge advantage for them and strong validation of Law at Southern Cross University,” said Associate Professor Heilpern.

Other initiatives in the works include a new Honours program in 2024, a new focus on paralegal studies and licensed conveyancing, the establishment of a law clinic in conjunction with community legal services, and a rejuvenated Student Law Society.

Southern Cross students at the Coffs Harbour campus
Southern Cross students at the Coffs Harbour campus

The virtues of Southern Cross Model explained to local schools

Back-to-back gigs for the Future Students team. This is business as usual for them. 

Determined to strengthen the University’s relationships with key stakeholders and students from local schools, the Future Students team organised a professional development day event on each of the University’s main campuses. 

“This is the first time this event was held on our Lismore and Coffs Harbour campus. (Held previously at Gold Coast) After a tough couple of years in the region we wanted to organise an event with our local schools, Registered Training Organisations and TAFEs where we are able to spend the day building relationships, delivering valuable information about what is new for Southern Cross University and share ideas,” said Jo Collier, Future Students Officer.

With approximately 100 attendees in total, including Principals, Career Advisers and Teachers, informative sessions throughout the day addressed the benefits of the Southern Cross Model, shared majors and the ‘design your own degree’ option.

“The events began with a welcome from the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tyrone Carlin, and a workshop with Ben Roche, Vice-President (Engagement), followed by information sessions from a range of academics and a question and answers session.” Jo Collier, Future Students Officer.

Dani Braganca, Southern Cross Global Regional Manager on Lismore campus
Dani Bragança, Regional Manager (Americas, Europe & North Asia) at SCU Global

Dani’s on trend for international recruitment

Fresh from a fruitful visit to South America, Southern Cross University’s Dani Bragança is excited by new trends and prospects as the international student sector continues to re-boot.

Brazilian-born Dani is Southern Cross University Global’s Regional Manager (Americas, Europe and North Asia) and recently promoted the University’s virtues in Brazil, Chile and Colombia. “There were so many highlights, starting with a visit to the stunning Santiago College in Chile,” said Dani. “There was also a super productive education fair with study agency LAE Educación Internacional, where I talked with some of the most enthusiastic students I’ve ever met.”

Another highlight came in the Colombian capital of Bogota, where Dani attended one of the biggest student fairs in South America.

“We were located next to the display for one of Australia’s biggest universities. It was a little daunting at first, but the line-up of people to hear about Southern Cross was much longer. We scanned around 170 students and the follow-up enquiries have been really positive.”

After completing a degree in Tourism and Travel Management in Brazil, Dani arrived in Australia 15 years ago. She worked mainly in hospitality until joining Southern Cross University in 2017. 

From making coffees at the Quick Brown Fox Cafe on the Lismore campus, she graduated to the role of Client Services Manager – LATAM (Latin America) in 2018, before accepting her current role last October.

The South American trip provided important insights into international student recruitment post-COVID.

“Previously, the tendency was for students to study abroad and then return home to translate their qualifications into better career opportunities and better lives,” said Dani.

“Now, quality of education remains essential, but focus has also shifted towards lifestyle, stability and pathways to permanent residency. This is an important change for the education sector because it means universities must sell their destination as much as their institution.”

Dani said Southern Cross University is well-placed to meet this demand, with students clearly impressed by our campus locations, the quality and cost of degrees, more personalised learning, improved job prospects, and the flexibility of the Southern Cross Model.

“For example, I visited an international baccalaureate school where the students expressed such eagerness to experience Australia now that our doors are open again. From undergraduate through to Master and PhD level, they want to take that opportunity now.”

Cassie Price, Chrisy Clay and Professor Reichelt Brushett
(L-R) Cassie Price, Chrisy Clay and Southern Cross Professor Reichelt Brushett

Draining the swamp is half the problem: alumni panel

It was a Southern Cross triple treat when two environmental sciences alumni and our very own Professor Mandy Reichelt-Brushett (who is also a graduate) presented the latest Living Lab Northern Rivers community talks panel on flood mitigation.

Their expert knowledge of how water moves through a landscape was a stream (sorry) of fresh thinking for the packed audience.

The expertise built at the University over the last 30 years was evident in the thoughtful analysis presented by graduates of the environmental sciences program, Chrisy Clay and Cassie Price. 

Rous County Council Flood Mitigation Manager Chrisy has worked for decades in the area of floodplain drainage and the management of acid-sulfate soils. Through research in databases like Trove, Chrisy showed how flood mitigation in the Richmond catchment commenced more than a hundred years ago. She said there was benefit in looking back, before looking forward. “While our previous attempts at flood mitigation have been positive, they have also created some long-term, complex issues,” she said, as she explored the issues of converting private land use and drain maintenance.

She was followed by Director of Habitat Programs at OzFish Cassie, who took a fish-eye look at wetlands, showing the sometimes detrimental effects of draining and the shrinkage of habitats for all the species that live in the catchment. 

“I love how the panel was all about swamps and drains! It shows how our expertise and our perspective as members of flood-affected communities brings a lot to the table,” said Mandy.

The Living Lab Northern Rivers is a collaborative project between Southern Cross, UTS Sydney and the Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation. It is located at 11 Woodlark Street, Lismore .

Cooper Schouten Bee Biosecurity Trianing Fiji 2022
Researcher Dr Cooper Schouten during a bee biosecurity training in Fiji

More than honey: Inaugural Pacific Islands Bee Congress supported by Southern Cross

Next week Fiji will be buzzing with excitement as the first Pacific Islands Bee Congress gets underway.

Pacific beekeepers and industry stakeholders will participate in the event which is an important outcome of a four-year project led by Southern Cross University and supported by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). The project, led by Southern Cross researcher Dr Cooper Schouten, aims to improve the productivity and profitability of smallholder beekeeping production and create opportunities for the participation of women and families in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Fiji.

Dr Schouten affirms that the congress is a milestone for the project and strengthening of partnerships in the region.

“Beekeeping has excellent potential to improve rural livelihoods and improved biosecurity research and capacity building can have a significant role in the performance of regional honey and pollination dependant industries more broadly, including in Australia,” said Cooper.

The project is supporting organisations and farmers in Fiji and PNG to attend the congress, as well as industry stakeholders from several Pacific islands, including Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna, Cook Islands, New Zealand and Australia.

“When most people think of bees, they think of honey, but bees have much more to offer; they play a critical role in ensuring food and nutrition security through pollination services, and bee products don’t spoil readily so they can be sold in times of financial hardship.” 

“However, despite the benefits, attrition among beekeeping adopters is a chronic problem, colony losses are high, and production has a lot of room for growth. Understanding the factors that influence the success and failures of beekeeping for development programs is central to our work with the overall objective of building capacity through research that provides applied solutions for all beekeepers and respective industries across the Pacific,” Cooper explained.

The congress will feature weeklong hands-on activities, including round tables on industry research, development and extension strategy, best practice for beekeeping for development and strengthening regional biosecurity, industry technical tours and training workshops including hive construction, queen bee breeding, developing bee business brands and marketing, processing beeswax and making beeswax products such as candles, lip balm and beeswax foundation. 

“It's a great opportunity for Pacific islands beekeepers to come together for the first time to share lessons from one another, network, and gain practical skills and knowledge they can take home to implement and share with their industries,” Cooper said. 

Did you know...


Lieutenant Colonel Kylie Hasse, a nurse and Senior Health Officer in the Australian Army who has been deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, has been awarded the 2023 Bonnie Boezeman AO Leadership in Nursing Scholarship to pursue her studies at Southern Cross University.

The scholarship, awarded by Bonnie Boezeman AO in partnership with Chief Executive Women (CEW), supports a female nurse to study the Master of Healthcare Leadership.


Helen McGregor, Research Fellow - Faculty of Science and Engineering
Annie Vanderwyk, Lecturer - Gnibi College Indigenous Australian Peoples
Chris Ashton, Executive Director, Stakeholder Strategy and Relations - Office of Vice-Chancellor
Christopher Martin, Facilities Officer - Property Services
Erica Blake, Student Administration Officer - Admissions
Kyoko Yamahara, Student Administration Officer - Admissions
Andressa De Meneses Floriano, Student Administration Officer - Student Administration Services
Cody White, Student Administration Officer - Student Administration Services