James Cook University

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James Cook University
James Cook University Armorial Ensigns.png
Former names
University College of Townsville (1961-70)
MottoCrescente Luce
Motto in English
Light ever increasing
ChancellorBill Tweddell
Vice-ChancellorSandra Harding
Undergraduates15,776 (2014)
Postgraduates4,645 (2014)
Location, ,
19°19′40″S 146°45′30″E / 19.32778°S 146.75833°E / -19.32778; 146.75833Coordinates: 19°19′40″S 146°45′30″E / 19.32778°S 146.75833°E / -19.32778; 146.75833
CampusSuburban and Regional
James Cook University logo.png

James Cook University (JCU) is a public university in North Queensland, Australia. The second oldest university in Queensland, JCU is a teaching and research institution. The University's main campuses are located in the tropical cities of Cairns, Singapore and Townsville. JCU also has study centres in Mount Isa, Mackay and Thursday Island. A Brisbane campus, operated by Russo Higher Education, delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses to international students. The University’s main fields of research include marine sciences, biodiversity, sustainable management of tropical ecosystems, genetics and genomics, tropical health care, tourism and engineering.


James Cook University, Cairns

In 1957, Professor John Douglas Story, Vice Chancellor of the University of Queensland proposed a regional university college be established to cater to the people of North Queensland. At that time, the only higher education providers were located in the state capital Brisbane. On 27 February 1961, the University College of Townsville was opened.

After being proclaimed on 20 April 1970 as an Act of Queensland Parliament, the University College of Townsville became James Cook University of North Queensland on 29 April 1970.[2] The official opening of the university was conducted by Queen Elizabeth II.[3] The namesake is British sea captain James Cook, who is best known for discovering the eastern coast of Australia. A year after JCU's proclamation, Cyclone Althea struck the Townsville region. This, together with the destruction caused by Cyclone Tracy in Darwin 1974, prompted the establishment of a cyclone research facility.[3][4] The Cyclone Testing Station started out as a small project of Professor Hugh Trollope and began its operations on 1 November 1977 as James Cook Cyclone Structural Testing Station.[4] The Cyclone Testing Station operates as a self funded unit of the College of Science, Technology and Engineering, and serves as an advising member to the Australian Standards committee in areas of structural design, specifically wind actions.[5]

On 1 January 1982, JCU amalgamated with The Townsville College of Advanced Education located adjacent to the main campus in Douglas. The university established a presence in Cairns in 1987 and moved to its current location in the suburb of Smithfield in 1995. On 1 January 1991, the School of Art and Design of the Townsville College of TAFE was transferred to JCU.[2] The current name of James Cook University became official on 1 January 1998.[6] In 2003 the University opened an international campus in Singapore. The university further expanded its presence by establishing another campus in Brisbane, Queensland in 2006.

JCU Singapore moved campuses in February 2015. The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia officially opened the new JCU Singapore campus at 149 Sims Drive on 28 June 2015.

Coat of Arms[edit]

As a corporate body, James Cook University bears arms comprising four main elements – shield, crest (Captain James Cook’s ship, HMS Endeavour, in full sail), supporters (a pair of brolgas with open wings), and motto.

The University motto is Cresente Luce, which means light ever increasing. This motto was first proposed by Professor Frederick Walter Robinson (Doc Robbie), professor of English at the University of Queensland, in 1962 for the then University College of Townsville. The university college was established as a college of the University of Queensland. Adopted in 1963, the motto remained unchanged after James Cook University of North Queensland was established and incorporated in April 1970, and later became James Cook University.

Campuses and other facilities[edit]

James Cook University operates three main campuses, located in the tropical cities of Cairns and Townsville in Australia, and the international city of Singapore. Russo Higher Education delivers JCU courses at its Brisbane centre on behalf of the University. The University also operates study centres in Mackay, Mount Isa and Thursday Island. These study centres provide programs and support for students living in rural and remote areas.

Cairns Campus[edit]

The Cairns Campus of James Cook University is located 15 kilometres north of the Cairns central business district, in the suburb of Smithfield. JCU moved to this location from its original inner-city site in 1995. Also located on the campus grounds are Queensland Tropical Health Alliance (QTHA) facilities, Australian Tropical Herbarium (ATH), the Australian Tropical Forest Institute (ATFI), JCU Dental, and The Cairns Institute. Over 4 000 students study at JCU Cairns, including about 385 international students.

Townsville Campus[edit]

JCU's Townsville campus is the University’s largest campus and is located on 386 hectares in the suburb of Douglas, near the army base and the lee of Mount Stuart. Around 12,600 students study at JCU Townsville, including over 1,100 international students. Adjacent to the university is the Townsville Hospital and Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE.[7] Originally located in the suburb of Pimlico, the University moved to its current site in 1967. The Discovery Rise[8] project was announced in September 2007.[9] The $1 billion project is aimed at redeveloping the University's Townsville campus.[10] The project was completed in 2015.[11] There is also a second smaller campus in Townsville's CBD located inside the City Lane shopping precinct.

Singapore International Campus[edit]

James Cook University's Singapore campus (JCUS) was opened in 2003. In February 2015, James Cook University Singapore relocated to a new campus at 149 Sims Drive, ceasing operations at its previous campus on Upper Thomson Road, where it had been operating since July 2008. In 2014 there were 3,594 students studying with JCU Singapore. Courses offered include business, education, information technology, psychology, environmental science, and tourism and hospitality, to international and domestic students. All degrees awarded are accredited by JCU Australia.[12] Unlike its parent institution in Australia, James Cook University Singapore is classified as a private institution under the Ministry of Education's Private Education Act and is accredited by both EduTrust and the Council for Private Education. JCUS was given a "Gold Star" rating by EduTrust in 2015, the first private school to attain this benchmark.[13]

Other facilities[edit]

JCU Brisbane, operated by Russo Higher Education, delivers undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business and information technology to international students, on behalf of James Cook University.

JCU’s study centre in Mackay is called the Mackay Education and Research Centre (MERC) and is located at the Mackay Base Hospital. It accommodates the teaching of the Bachelor of Social Work and Bachelor of Nursing Science (pre registration) as well as providing facilities for medical and dental placements.

The Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health (MICRRH) provides training, development and support of the rural and remote health workforce and the management of key health issues in the rural and remote setting. The Centre offers the Bachelor of Nursing Science with a special emphasis on rural, remote and Indigenous health care.

There is also a study centre is located in the heritage courthouse building on Thursday Island, providing teaching and learning facilities for nursing and education students in the Torres Strait region, including the northern tip of Australia. The Thursday Island study centre opened in 2003.

In 2015, the JCU Townsville City campus was opened in the heart of Townsville City, Flinders Street. The campus provides a unique and progressive blend of teaching and study space, as well as meeting, networking and consultation facilities, where advanced design, technology and ongoing support services on-site all add to the quality of the environment and study experience. Plans are in place for JCU to also have a Cairns City campus providing similar facilities and opportunities as those available at the Townsville City campus.


The university serves as a catchment area for students from this region and beyond. In 2014, JCU's student population was at 22,370, which includes 7,429 international students.[14]

In 2001 the university took in its first medical students in its newly formed School of Medicine. An undergraduate veterinary degree was added to the university for the first time in 2006 and in 2009 the Bachelor of Dental Surgery commenced. Today the university offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in arts, humanities and social work; business, law and governance; creative media; education; engineering and planning; healthcare, rehabilitation and psychology; medicine, dentistry and pharmacy; public health; science, including marine biology and environmental science; and veterinary science. Some courses are available externally.

In 2007 James Cook University became a member of Innovative Research Universities Australia (now called Innovative Research Universities). Innovative Research Universities (IRU) is a network of seven comprehensive universities committed to conducting research of national and international standing.

School of Law[edit]

The School of Law is the only regional law school in Queensland. The JCU Law School offers a comprehensive course that provides entry to the legal profession. The first-year experience has four compulsory non-substantive courses and two substantive courses designed for a staggered introduction to the LLB.[citation needed]

The establishment of the School of Law was championed by Sir Joseph Kneipp.[15]

Organisational structure[edit]

The library at Douglas Campus
University Drive at Douglas Campus

The university is organised into divisions, colleges, directorates, research centres and institutes.

Division of Tropical Environments and Societies[edit]

  • College of Arts, Society and Education
    • Arts
    • Creative Media
    • Education
    • Social Science
    • Social Work
  • College of Business, Law and Governance
    • Accounting
    • Economics and Marketing
    • Governance and Management
    • Information Technology
    • Law
    • Tourism
  • College of Marine and Environmental Sciences
    • Aquaculture and Fisheries
    • Environmental Geography and Sustainability
    • Marine Biology
    • Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • College of Science, Technology and Engineering
    • Chemistry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Physical Sciences

Division of Tropical Health and Medicine[edit]

  • College of Medicine and Dentistry
    • Medicine
    • Dentistry
    • Pharmacy
  • College of Healthcare Sciences
    • Clinical Exercise Physiology and Sport and Exercise Science
    • Nursing and Midwifery
    • Occupational Therapy
    • Physiotherapy
    • Psychology
    • Speech Pathology
  • College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Sciences
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Medical Laboratory Sciences
    • Veterinary Science
  • Indigenous Health Unit

Division Global Strategy and Engagement[edit]

Division of Research and Innovation[edit]

Division of Services and Resources[edit]

Research Centres and Institutes[edit]

Centres of Excellence[edit]

  • ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
  • ARC Research Hub for Advanced Prawn Breeding
  • Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in the Prevention of Chronic Conditions in Rural and Remote Populations
  • NHMRC National Centre of Research Excellence to Improve Management of Peripheral Arterial Disease


Research Centres[edit]

  • Anton Breinl Research Centre for Health Systems Strengthening
  • Centre for Biodiscovery and Molecular Development of Therapeutics
  • Centre for Biodiscovery and Tropical Infectious Diseases
  • Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention (CCDP)
  • Centre for Disaster Studies
  • Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Research
  • Centre for Research and Innovation in Sustainability Education
  • Centre for Sustainable Tropical Fisheries and Aquaculture
  • Centre for Tropical Biodiversity and Climate Change
  • Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Sciences
  • Centre for Tropical Water and Aquatic Ecosystem Research (TropWATER)
  • Comparative Genomics Centre
  • Cyclone Testing Station
  • Economic Geology Research Centre
  • Language and Culture Research Centre
  • MACRO - the Centre for Macroalgal Resources and Biotechnology
  • Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease (QRC-PVD)

Research Enablers[edit]

  • Advanced Analytical Centre
  • eResearch Centre


University rankings
James Cook University
QS World[16]340
THE-WUR World[17]251-300
ARWU World[18]201-300
USNWR World[19]273
CWTS Leiden World[20]151
Australian rankings
QS National[16]18
THE-WUR National[21]9=
ARWU National[22]9-14
USNWR National[23]10
CWTS Leiden National[20]6
ERA National[25]28[24]

JCU is ranked 129th (third in Australia) in the CWTS Leiden ranking.[26][27]

As of 2015, JCU has been awarded five stars for job success by the Good Universities Guide. In 2015, JCU Singapore earned the distinction of being the first private education institution to attain the EduTrust Star quality mark from the Singapore Government.

JCU has consistently ranked in the top 400 academic universities worldwide since 2010, as measured by the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) and within the top 300 in 2016.[28] JCU achieved position 340 in the QS World Rankings in 2016.[29] For 2016, JCU ranked in the top two percent of universities in the world by ARWU.[citation needed] In 2014, JCU was also ranked in the top two Australian universities and top 30 in the world in Environmental Sciences and Ecology by the U.S. News & World Report and NTU Global Rankings.[citation needed] JCU is also the World's leading coral reef research institution by publications and citations in the Scopus Bibliometric data (Elsevier) 2010-2014.[citation needed]

In 2014, JCU was one of the only two universities to receive the maximum number of citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning by the Australian Awards for University Teaching, Office of Learning and Teaching.

In the Commonwealth Government's Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 National Report, JCU research received the highest ranking of 'well above world standard' (rating 5) in the areas of environmental science and management, ecological applications and medical microbiology.[30] The University also received an 'above world standard' ranking for research in the areas of materials engineering, immunology, tourism, biological sciences, agricultural and veterinary sciences, fisheries sciences, veterinary sciences, inorganic chemistry, earth sciences, geochemistry, and geology.

Residential colleges[edit]

St Marks' College
University Hall

James Cook University's Townsville campus, situated in the suburb of Douglas, has six on-campus residential halls and colleges, which can accommodate 1,321 students. Services offered by these facilities vary from self-catered to fully catered. James Cook University's Cairns campus, situated in the outer northern suburb of Smithfield, has one on-campus self-catered residential hall which can accommodate 300 students.

Affiliated colleges[edit]

Saints Catholic College, first founded in 1664 and run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Townsville, was formed in 2011 with the amalgamation of the Catholic Colleges of St Raphael and St Paul and the addition of a third wing, St Mary MacKillop Wing, in honour of Australia’s first Saint.[31] Saints Catholic College provides fully catered accommodation to 298 students.[32] Saint Mark's College, run by the Anglican Diocese of North Queensland, accommodated 154 male and female students until its closure in 2017 due to financial difficulties.[33] The John Flynn College was established in 1968 and is named after Australian Presbyterian minister John Flynn.[34] The college provides fully catered accommodation for more than 200 students.

Halls of residence[edit]

James Cook University manages four non-denominational halls in Townsville for 700 students. George Roberts Hall opened in 2002 with 250 residents in unit style fully catered accommodation.[35] Rotary International House, containing 80 self-catered beds, was established in 1990 with the assistance of Rotary Clubs. University Hall was the first residence to be established at the University in the 1960s, and is at present the largest of the student residences with 291 fully catered rooms. University Hall opened for student accommodation in 1967 as a co-educational hall of residence and lays claim to being the first co-educational university hall of residence in Australia. Western Courts can accommodate 112 students and was established in early 2008 to offset the closure of Western Hall, a former Residential Hall at JCU. John Grey Hall, named after Lt. Gen. John Grey, opened in 2018 to meet the need for on-campus accommodation in Cairns. The residential hall, which is managed by UniLodge, accommodates 300 students in self-catered accommodation with plans to expand to accommodate 1000 students.[36]


Reports of on-campus sexual harassment and assault[edit]

The 2017 Australian Human Rights Commission's national survey on campus abuse surveyed 833 JCU students, and showed that the university had the 2nd highest reported proportion of students sexually harassed by a staff member (4.6%), and the 6th highest reported campus sexual harassment overall (25%).[37] Under a 2016 FOI request, JCU had previously said that between 2011 and 2016 there were 9 officially reported cases of sexual abuse and harassment on campus, resulting in no expulsions, no suspensions and 1 person removed from a college. This included a report in 2015 where three males attempted to gang-rape a female student.[38]

In 2015 the university promoted a staff member from research officer to academic adviser after he pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student. The acting vice-chancellor claimed "there has been a failure of our internal processes"[39] and “if senior management had been aware that (the staff member had) pleaded guilty he would have been immediately dismissed”. News Limited published findings contradicting the university's claims alleging that senior management, including the Vice-Chancellor and the University Secretary, were made aware of the guilty plea at the time and prior to the perpetrator's promotion.[40]

Notable alumni and staff[edit]

This is a list of alumni and former faculty and staff of James Cook University, including preceding institutions such as Townsville University College and Townsville College of Advanced Education.

Notable alumni[edit]

Recipients of honorary degrees include:

  • Tommy George, Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters for his work in ecology
  • David Hudson, Aboriginal musician
  • Silma Ihram, pioneer of Muslim education in Australia
  • George Musgrave, awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters for his work in traditional law
  • Percy Trezise, Awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters in recognition of outstanding service to the community of Far North Queensland

Notable faculty and staff[edit]

  • Alexandra Aikhenvald, member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Robert M. W. Dixon, professor of linguistics at the Cairns Institute and member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities
  • Terry Hughes, member of the Australian Academy of Science
  • Rhondda Jones, former professor of zoology and member of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
  • William F. Laurance, biologist, recipient of the Australian Laureate Fellowship and member of the American Association of the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • Leonard Francis Lindoy (adjunct), chemist, professor emeritus and member of the Australian Academy of Science
  • Eddie Mabo, indigenous community leader and human rights activist, was employed at JCU as a gardener/groundsman between 1967 and 1971[48]
  • George Kneipp, Chancellor (1974–1993)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Brief history of JCU - JCU". Archived from the original on 4 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b On reverse side of all JCU official Statement of Academic Record sheets printed after January 1998.
  3. ^ a b "Townsville History (City Council)". Archived from the original on 15 October 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  4. ^ a b "Cyclone Testing Station". Archived from the original on 23 October 2007. Retrieved 17 October 2007.
  5. ^ Structural design actions, Part 2: Wind actions. Sydney & Wellington: Standards Australia & Standards New Zealand. 2005. ISBN 978-0-7337-4473-0.
  6. ^ "Higher Education Legislation 1998". Archived from the original on 11 September 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  7. ^ "TAFE Queensland North - TAFE Queensland North". Archived from the original on 14 November 2016. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  8. ^ "Discovery Rise". Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
  9. ^ "Discovery Rise Media Release". Archived from the original on 2 September 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  10. ^ "ABC News: James Cook Uni plans Townsville campus facelift". Abc.net.au. 30 August 2007. Archived from the original on 19 February 2011. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
  11. ^ "Discovery Rise Timeline". Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  12. ^ "James Cook University (JCU)". sguni. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Australian university campus in Singapore gets EduTrust Star ranking". The Straits Times. 15 April 2015. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015.
  14. ^ "2012 Student Statistics". Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 16 October 2013.
  15. ^ "Supreme Court Library Queensland | Judicial Profiles". Sclqld.org.au. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  16. ^ a b "QS World University Rankings 2019". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited.
  17. ^ "World University Rankings 2019". TSL Education Limited.
  18. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  19. ^ "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities Rankings". U.S. News and World Report.
  20. ^ a b "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017". Centre for Science and Technology Studies, Leiden University.
  21. ^ "THE 2019 - Australia". Times Higher Education.
  22. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2018 - Australia". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy.
  23. ^ "U.S. News and World Report Best Global Universities in Australia/New Zealand". U.S. News and World Report.
  24. ^ "All unis winners in research audit". The Australian. 4 December 2015. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  25. ^ "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network.
  26. ^ Hare, J. (2 May 2014). "UTS kicks Harvard's butt in ranking". The Australian. Archived from the original on 8 June 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  27. ^ "JCU surprise package in Leiden ranking". The Australian. 19 May 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  28. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities". Archived from the original on 21 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  29. ^ "QS World University Rankings®". Top Universities. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  30. ^ "Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 National Report". Archived from the original on 1 June 2013.
  31. ^ "History of the College | JCU Saints Catholic College". JCU Saints Catholic College. Archived from the original on 14 March 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  32. ^ "Accommodation Information | JCU Saints Catholic College". JCU Saints Catholic College. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  33. ^ Smith, Lucy (14 June 2017). "Students told of college closure during exam block". Townsville Bulletin. Archived from the original on 19 July 2017. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  34. ^ "About | The John Flynn College". The John Flynn College. Archived from the original on 16 March 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  35. ^ "About Us - JCU Australia". JCU Australia. Archived from the original on 15 May 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  36. ^ "JT opens John Grey Hall at JCU - JCU Australia". JCU Australia. Archived from the original on 31 March 2018. Retrieved 14 May 2018.
  37. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (2 August 2017). "'We should all be shocked' leader of university with worst results comforts students". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  38. ^ Funnell, Nina (10 October 2016). "Full list of universities exposed by sexual assault investigation". News Limited. Archived from the original on 2 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  39. ^ Chen, David (24 January 2017). "Uni staffer promoted after student rape charge". ABC News. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  40. ^ Funnell, Nina (25 January 2017). "Exclusive: James Cook University knew Douglas Steele was guilty of rape". NewsComAu. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  41. ^ "Paul R. Amato". Penn State. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  42. ^ "Dr Rose Evaster-Aderolili". Archived from the original on 2013-10-21.
  43. ^ "Dr Colin Grant" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 February 2014.
  44. ^ "Philippines typhoon: UK doctors speak from storm-hit country". 17 November 2013. Archived from the original on 30 November 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  45. ^ "Joanne Mather". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  46. ^ Browne, Sally (11 May 2009). "Women in Docs". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  47. ^ "Professor Ian Young". Archived from the original on 21 October 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
  48. ^ "Edward Koiki Mabo 1936 - 1992". www.racismnoway.com.au. Archived from the original on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016.

External links[edit]