“It’s important to be transparent about science and show a broader audience what we’re doing.”

Dr Laura Stoltenberg

Faculty of Science and Engineering

Professor Nick Ashbolt, Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering

 Video transcript

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.