Southern Cross University

Southern Cross University (SCU) is an 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.

Southern Cross University
ChancellorNick Burton Taylor
Vice-ChancellorProfessor Adam Shoemaker
Location, ,
AffiliationsRegional Universities Network


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.[1] Dr (later Professor) Rod Treyvaud was appointed principal in 1984, and oversaw an extensive building programme and the introduction of six new degree courses.[2]

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).[3] 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).[4]

There was however dissatisfaction with the new network university,[5] 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).[5] 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 1993. Southern Cross University was formally established on 1 January 1994.[5]

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 seen 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.[6]


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 has 15 members, including the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, the Chair of the Academic Board, two members appointed by the Minister, six members appointed by 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 the only Australian university campus located at an airport. The campus is at Coolangatta, 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, information technology, 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.

National Marine Science Centre

Southern Cross University operates the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) in Coffs Harbour on the northern side of the city. The NMSC is an international leader in a range of marine research fields, conducting research projects around the world. Research at the National Marine Science Centre (NMSC) addresses critical challenges to the future of the marine environment across four broad areas: Biodiversity, Ecological Interactions, Aquaculture and Sustainable Fisheries. Facilities at the NMSC 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 and research programs

The University offers a range of undergraduate and postgraduate academic programs, and is organised into six schools, two colleges and two research centres:

  • School of Arts and Social Sciences
  • School of Education
  • School of Environment, Science and Engineering
  • School of Health and Human Sciences
  • School of Business and Tourism
  • School of Law and Justice
  • Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
  • SCU College
  • National Marine Science Centre
  • Centre for Peace and Social Justice [7]

University rankings

University rankings
Southern Cross University
QS World[8]801+
THE-WUR World[9]401-500
Australian rankings
QS National[8]33
THE-WUR National[10]29
ERA National[11]10[12]

Southern Cross University is ranked 35th in Australia according to the QS World University Rankings, falling third last among the included Australian public universities.[13]

The university has been ranked in the top 100 best universities in the Asia-Pacific region for 2017 by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.[14] Southern Cross University is rated 'at world standard' or above in 24 research areas by Excellence in Research for Australia 2015,[15] 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.[16]

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is rated 4 out of 5 stars by the Graduate Management Association of Australia (GMAA) [17]


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, information technology, nursing, oceanography, policy and administration, philosophy and ethics, resources engineering and extractive metallurgy, tourism, and zoology.

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". Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  2. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. p.244.
  3. "Professor Rod Treyvaud - SCU History - SCU". Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  4. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. p.236.
  5. Jordan, M. A Spirit of Learning: The Jubilee of the University of New England. University of NSW Press, Sydney. pp.236-254.
  6. "2009 - 2013 - SCU History - SCU". Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  7. Webpage for CPSJ.
  8. "QS World University Rankings 2020". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  9. "World University Rankings 2019". TSL Education Limited.
  10. "THE 2019 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  11. "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  12. "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  13. "QS World University Rankings 2019". 8 May 2019.
  14. "Best universities in the Asia-Pacific region 2017". 4 July 2017.
  15. "Australian Resource Council".
  16. "International Student Barometer (ISB) ยป i-graduate". Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  17. "2016 GMAA MBA 5 Star Assessment" (PDF). Graduate Management Association of Australia Inc.
  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. 2 November 2016.

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