Southern Cross University

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Southern Cross University
Southern Cross University.png
Type Public
Established 1994
Chancellor Nick Burton Taylor
Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Lee
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 a research intensive Australian public university. Campuses are located on the North Coast of New South Wales, Australia and southern Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It also operates The Hotel School Sydney and Melbourne in partnership with Mulpha Australia. Close to 15,000 students are enrolled at Southern Cross University, studying on campus and via distance education.[1] International students come from 80 countries to study onshore and it collaborates with institutions offshore in Singapore, China, Uzbekistan and New Zealand.[2]

Undergraduate and postgraduate degrees are delivered through seven academic schools and Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples. The University also operates SCU College delivering two-year associate degrees.

In the Australian Research Council Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 Report, Southern Cross University achieved "well above world standard" in six fields of research including geochemistry, zoology, crop and pasture production and forestry sciences.[3]

Southern Cross University offers courses in arts, education, social sciences, business, tourism, law, health, indigenous studies, and environmental science. It introduced civil engineering in 2013.[4]


University rankings
Southern Cross University
Australian rankings
ERA National[5] 10

Southern Cross University was established on 1 January 1994, following the decentralisation of the network of the University of New England, Australia as a university with several campuses, which had been established in 1989. The University of New England continues to exist as a single campus in Armidale, New South Wales, as it had been established in 1954.

The old college in Lismore, New South Wales, was the Lismore Teachers College, founded in 1971. This institution was expanded and renamed the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education in 1973. Following the publication of the Australian Government's White Paper on Higher Education in 1988, with its emphasis on the development of larger institutions, the Northern Rivers College of Advanced Education was sent into an association with the old University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, and it formally became a network member of the newly constituted University of New England, under legislation that was enacted in 1989.

During 1992, in response to a proposal from the Board of Governors of the University of New England, the State and Commonwealth Ministers responsible for Higher Education established an Advisory Group to consider the implications of the Board of Governors' proposal that the network-style University of New England, Australia, be abolished, and that at least one new university be established.

The Advisory Group recommended that a new university be established in the North Coast Region of New South Wales as an academically-integrated institution incorporating the two University of New England network centres at Northern Rivers and Coffs Harbour, with the prospect of establishing additional North Coast centres as required. The Advisory Group also proposed that the new university develop under the sponsorship/supervision of a major metropolitan university for its first three years, while operating under its own name and with its own Council, and awarding its own degrees.

The Commonwealth and State Government Ministers jointly appointed an Implementation Advisory Panel to advise on the strategies necessary to give effect to the proposed new structures and announced that the successor institutions to the University of New England network would be established in time for the 1994-95 academic year. The University of New England, remains where it had originally been, in Armidale, New South Wales, as a single campus.

On 29 June 1993, the Commonwealth Department for Employment, Education, and Training and the New South Wales Department of Education and Training announced the outcome of the joint Commonwealth/State review of the continued offering of higher education in northern New South Wales. The announcement included the decision that a new university would be established on the North Coast of New South Wales, which would consist of campuses at Lismore (formerly the University of New England, Australia-Northern Rivers) and at Coffs Harbour (formerly the University of New England-Coffs Harbour Centre). It was later announced that the new college would be called the Southern Cross University. Legislation was passed by both houses of the Government of New South Wales Parliament in October 1993.

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 Airport. Views of the Pacific Ocean can be seen from many vantage points in the campus' buildings. A dedication ceremony was attended by then Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard MP. The Foundation Building was opened in 2010 and a second 10-story building opened in February 2013. The campus includes a student services hub, designed to provide a one-stop shop for student support and enquiries. The library offers stunning views of the ocean and Gold Coast hinterland. Other facilities include innovative learning spaces, health science laboratories, lecture theatres with live video broadcasting, computer labs and student lounges.It is projected that all programs currently offered at the Tweed Heads campuses will be transferred to the new Gold Coast campus progressively over 2013.


The Lismore campus is the largest and central campus of the University. It occupies 60 hectares (148 acres) in the North Coast area. The campus is 3 kilometres (2 mi) from Lismore City's CBD.

The Lismore campus houses most of the University's academic and research units and most essential student facilities and services are available on this campus.

Other Campuses

  • Coffs Harbour
  • Gold Coast
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne

National Marine Science Centre[edit]

Southern Cross University operates the National Marine Science Centre, a teaching and research facility located at Coffs Harbour and in the centre of the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Students complete two years of a Bachelor of Marine Science and Management at the Lismore campus. Their final year is at Coffs Harbour where they study specialist marine science units.



The University is governed by a Council, to which its Chief Executive Officer, the Vice-Chancellor, reports. This Council is responsible for the management of the University's affairs. The major academic body providing advice to Council on academic matters is the Academic Board.

The Council is chaired by the Chancellor. The Council has 19 members, including the Vice Chancellor, the Chair of the Academic Board, six members appointed by the Minister, four members appointed by council, three elected staff members and one elected student member.

Academic structure[edit]

The institution is divided into a number of Schools and Colleges.[6]

  • SCU College
  • School of Arts and Social Sciences
  • School of Education
  • School of Environment, Science and Engineering
  • Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples
  • School of Health and Human Sciences
  • Southern Cross Business School
  • School of Law and Justice
  • School of Tourism and Hospitality Management
  • The Hotel School Sydney

Notable people[edit]

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.[7] The current Vice-Chancellor and President of the University since September 2009 is Professor Peter Lee, an engineer.[8]

Alumni and faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SCU at a Glance
  2. ^ SCU International Students
  3. ^ Excellence in Research for Australia 2012 National Report
  4. ^ School of ESM and Engineering
  5. ^ "Australian University Rankings". Australian Education Network. 
  6. ^ Southern Cross University's Academic Schools
  7. ^ "Nick Burton Taylor next chancellor of Southern Cross University". The Australian. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 18 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Peter Lee to replace Paul Clark as SCU Vice-Chancellor". Far North Coaster. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2015.