Welcome to the Faculty of Science and Engineering
The challenges of the Anthropocene are unfolding in rapid succession. In the Faculty of Science and Engineering, we are nurturing students and supporting researchers who are equipped to meet these challenges and find solutions.
With our base in the heart of subtropical ecosystems – that pass through the reefs, estuarine wetland areas, diverse forest environments, agricultural areas and even digital environments – we are uniquely placed to foster a cross-disciplinary scope of practice in our students, with a research profile that includes world-renowned marine scientists, biogeochemists, endangered species biologists, water engineers, machine learning/AI information technologists and more.
We offer a portfolio of both undergraduate and postgraduate courses that develop not only scientific expertise but a profound consideration of the systems and human needs behind the science, our built environment and interconnecting digital space focused on smart environments.
Professor Nick Ashbolt, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering
Professor, thanks for your time. We have been through an horrendous year, but it's now 2021. And I'd like to ask you what your vision is for your portfolio, moving into the future.
I'm looking forward to a much more prosperous, a more collegial direction forward for the whole faculty. And I think there's a huge opportunity. We've made some significant changes in the nature of the curricula to make it easier for students and for academics to focus on their teaching and on their research.
What challenges in the world does the work of your portfolio represent?
The challenges in the world that our portfolio represents, or the one I'm leading, are truly global and systemic. One doesn't need to think too hard before you come up with words like climate change. Hugely impactful, but also considerable aquatic and landscape restoration issues. So the portfolio really deals with these very meaty global, as well as local issues. So, it's hugely impactful.
Okay. That's from a personal point of view, what impact do you think you will have on your portfolio?
Yeah, so my background has been in the water area for many years. I've worked on international water programs with the World Health Organization through to Australian Guidelines, et cetera, for drinking water, recreational waters. So I particularly bring, I guess, that international perspective around the water and social interface, the issues of water quality, particularly pathogens.
How do you think your portfolio fits with the overall philosophy that Southern Cross University represents?
Well, I would say our portfolio, or the portfolio I represent here is really the heart of Southern Cross. We are the environment of the subtropical ecosystems. So, we have subtropical reef systems, for example, estuarine wetland areas through to the forestry systems.
So, looking towards the future, how are you going to evolve from your personal mindset, how are you going to evolve that portfolio, looking years ahead from now?
So, how I'd like to evolve the portfolio is fairly simple in principle. We think about earth systems and how in essence communities live within those. So, it's that socioeconomic side of things, as well as the scientific foundations. And so what we need to grow is that interface between the sciences, the engineering practice and society's governance structures, and functionality.
Now, looking towards your graduates, say five years down the track, how would you like their peers or employers to view them?
I think one of the huge advantages we have is really turning out job-ready graduates, and that they're running and ready to go. So, when they're looking at a problem, it's not just trying to do a quick fix, it's understanding the context. And so I think that's a huge advantage and they have the social skills for team activities, that's what employers are really seeking now.
Professor, thanks for your time.
Well, thank you.
Discover our Faculty
Facilities and partnerships
With advanced labs, an entire precinct devoted to Engineering, analytical facilities, IT labs, and even commercial enterprises on campus, the Faculty has state-of-the-art facilities devoted to teaching and research.
Research in the Faculty
We have a vibrant research community of academics across the Science, Engineering and Information Technology disciplines. Their work has helped to regrow degraded sections of the Great Barrier Reef, protect communities from environmental contaminants and develop new materials for our cities and more.
Our lecturers and researchers are renowned nationally and internationally. You’ll be taught by some of the brightest scientific minds, who have strong links not only to industry associations and partners but also to projects that are tackling the big issues.