Southern Cross University

Southern Cross University
Type Public
Established 1994
Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor
Vice-Chancellor Professor Adam Shoemaker
Students 14,858
Location Lismore, Coffs Harbour and Gold Coast, NSW and QLD, Australia
Campus Urban
Nickname SCU
Affiliations Regional Universities Network

Southern Cross University (SCU) is an established Australian public university, with campuses at Lismore and Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales, and at the southern end of the Gold Coast in Queensland.


The initial predecessor institution to Southern Cross University was the Lismore Teachers' College, which commenced operation on 23 February 1970, at what is now the Northern Rivers Conservatorium site.[1][2] On 1 September 1971, the Lismore Teachers College became a College of Advanced Education, under the Higher Education Act 1969, with the institution soon renamed Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education in 1973.[3] Dr (later Professor) Rod Treyvaud was appointed principal in 1984, and oversaw an extensive building programme and the introduction of six new degree courses.[4]

Following the publication of the Commonwealth Government's White Paper on Higher Education in 1988 and its emphasis on the development of larger tertiary education institutions in Australia, Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education agreed to an association with the University of New England (UNE).[5] On 17 July 1989 the Northern Rivers CAE thus became part of network University of New England, with some 1800 staff and some 9500 EFTSU (effective full-time student units).[6]

There was however dissatisfaction with the new network University,[7] and on 29 June 1993 the federal and state ministers for education jointly announced that a new university would be established in the North Coast of NSW, which would consist of campuses at Lismore (formerly UNE - Northern Rivers) and Coffs Harbour (formerly UNE - Coffs Harbour Centre).[8] It was subsequently announced that the new institution would be called Southern Cross University. Appropriate legislation was passed by both houses of the New South Wales Parliament in October 1993, and received the Royal Assent on 9 November 9, 1993. Southern Cross University was formally established on 1 January 1994.[9]

In 2010, Southern Cross University opened a new campus in the southern Gold Coast area of Queensland, at Coolangatta just 400 metres from North Kirra Beach and adjacent to the Gold Coast International Airport. Views of the Pacific Ocean can be see from many vantage points in the campus' buildings. The Foundation Building was opened in 2010 and a second 10-story building opened in February 2013.[10]


The University is governed by a Council, to which the Chief Executive Officer (the Vice-Chancellor) reports. The Council is responsible for the management of the University's affairs. The major academic body providing advice to Council on academic matter is the Academic Board. The Council is chaired by the Chancellor. The Council has 17 members, including the Vice Chancellor, the Chair of the Academic Board, six members appointed by the Minister, four members appointed by the Council, three elected staff members and one elected student member.



Lismore is a regional city located in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. The Lismore campus is set on more than 75 hectares, and houses specialist training teaching facilities including a science and engineering precinct, environmental laboratories, contemporary music and visual arts studios and the SCU Health Clinic. The Learning Centre, at the centre of the campus, features individual and collaborative learning spaces.

Gold Coast

The Gold Coast campus is located at Coolongatta, in Queensland, close to North Kirra Beach and adjacent to the Gold Coast Airport. The campus includes general teaching facilities, as well as specialist teaching facilities for nursing and midwifery, and allied heath disciplines such as occupational therapy, podiatry, pedorthics and speech pathology. Tourism, business, law, education, arts and social welfare are also taught at the Gold Coast.

Coffs Harbour

The Coffs Harbour campus is located on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, and consists of general teaching facilities, and specialist nursing laboratories, teaching spaces for education students, a biosciences laboratory, and psychology research facilities. The campus is shared with a senior high school and a technical college.

Southern Cross University operates the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) in Coffs Harbour on the northern side of the city. The NMSC provides an opportunity for students and researchers to undertake fieldwork. Facilities include a flow-through seawater system that supplies labs, tank farm, aquarium room and hatchery. The Centre also operates the Solitary Islands Aquarium which is open to the public.

Sydney and Melbourne

Southern Cross University operates The Hotel School Sydney and The Hotel School Melbourne in partnership with Mulpha Australia. Both The Hotel School Sydney and The Hotel School Melbourne are located in the central business districts of their respective cities and have executive offices and teaching facilities. Southern Cross University also operates branch campuses in Sydney and Melbourne, delivering business and accounting degrees to undergraduate and postgraduate international students.

Academic programmes

The University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate academic programmes, and is organized into six schools and two colleges along with one co-operative centre:

University rankings

University rankings
Southern Cross University
THE-WUR World[11] 401-500
Australian rankings
ERA National[12] 10

Southern Cross University has been ranked in the top 500 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015 - 2016[13] Southern Cross University is rated 'at world standard' or above in 24 research areas by Excellence in Research for Australia 2015,[14] and ranked number one in Australia for International student support for the third consecutive year. SCU was ranked number two in Australia for overall learning experience by the International Student Barometer 2015.[15]


Staff and students at Southern Cross University undertake research in a wide range of areas, including civil engineering, crop and pasture production, complementary and alternative medicine, ecology, education, environmental science and management, fisheries sciences, forestry sciences, geochemistry, human movement and sports science, human rights research, nursing, oceanography, policy and administration, philosophy and ethics, resources engineering and extractive metallurgy, tourism, zoology.


On 2 May 2012, The Australian newspaper reported that Southern Cross University "could be at risk of de-registration" following revelations in a leaked email dated 15 April 2012 from the University's Director of Quality, Planning and Review which indicated concerns with "substandard and inadequate record-keeping", "deliberate provision of falsified academic transcripts and advanced standing applications" and "lack of adherence to SCU course procedures".[16] On 19 October 2015, peer reviewed research was announced, revealing that at regional Universities, such as Southern Cross University, approximately one third of staff reported serious harassment and bullying .[17]

Notable people

The current and third Chancellor of the University since September 2014 is Nick Burton Taylor, a company director, company chairman, registered accountant, food industry and agribusiness specialist.[18] The current Vice-Chancellor and President of the University since September 2016 is Professor Adam Shoemaker.[19] [20]

See also


  1. "History - SCU". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  2. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. p.244.
  3. "History - SCU". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  4. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. p.244.
  5. "Professor Rod Treyvaud - SCU History - SCU". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  6. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. p.236.
  7. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. pp.236-254.
  8. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. pp.236-254.
  9. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. pp.236-254.
  10. "2009 - 2013 - SCU History - SCU". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  11. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". TSL Education Limited.
  12. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  13. "Southern Cross University". Times Higher Education (THE). 2015-09-08. Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  14. "Australian Resource Council".
  15. "International Student Barometer (ISB) » i-graduate". Retrieved 2016-08-12.
  16. Hare, J. 'Southern Cross University may have broken the rules'. The Australian, Higher Education Supplement. 2 May 2012.
  17. Skinner, T. Bullying in regional universities is a serious problem that needs addressing. The Conversation. 19 October 2015.
  18. "Nick Burton Taylor next chancellor of Southern Cross University". The Australian. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  19. "Peter Lee to replace Paul Clark as SCU Vice-Chancellor". Far North Coaster. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  20. Hare, Julie. Southern Cross VC Shoemaker hails it as a uniquely placed uni. The Australian Higher Education. 2nd November 2016.

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