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Faculty and Staff

Soenke Biermann holds a Bachelor of Indigenous Studies, a BA (First Class Honours) and a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education (Teaching & Learning) from Southern Cross University (SCU) where he was awarded the University Medal in 2009. He is currently in the final year of a PhD in Cultural Studies at SCU and his thesis explores the ways in which academics in Australia, Canada and New Zealand decolonize their pedagogical practice.

As a researcher, Soenke has presented his work on pedagogy, decolonization, social justice and human rights at more than twenty national and international conferences, has been invited to give guest lectures at institutions such as the University of Barcelona, McGill University, UC Berkeley and Humboldt University, and has published articles in a range of scholarly journals, including The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, The International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning and Critical Arts: South-North Cultural and Media Studies.

Soenke is a passionate and dedicated teacher, and has won a number of institutional and national Australian teaching awards over the past few years. He has also set up and been involved with a series of initiatives and projects focusing on student equity, social justice and cultural diversity, including being one of the founders of the Southern Cross University Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee as well as the Fusion (Cultural Diversity) Committee, and leading a year-long participatory action research project on the sources of resilience in high-achieving students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds.

Soenke has been with the Australia Program since 2010, first as adjunct faculty and, since 2012, as program director. He teaches the courses Encountering Nature in Australia and Bali and Culture, Place and Identity in Australia and Bali, advises students and is responsible for all academic and program-­‐related issues. Soenke can be contacted at

Zan Hammerton is in the final year of a Doctorate of Environmental Science and Management at Southern Cross University (SCU). She holds both a BAppSci (Hons) and a BVA (Hons).

Zan’s environmental interests are broad; her current research examines the spatial and temporal variation of fish populations before and after zoning implementation and the conservation and management of biodiversity through understanding ecosystem responses to anthropocentric impacts. Both projects are conducted within marine protected areas of Northern New South Wales (Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour); this region is an internationally renowned area for scuba diving and provides a unique nexus between tropical and temperate species.

Zan also tutors at SCU in Coastal Marine Ecosystems and Fisheries Biology, and is a certified PADI Master Scuba Diver Instructor and ADAS commercial diver. Her passion for the coastal and marine environment has led to extensive travel and diving experiences both in Australia and internationally. This includes teaching, coordinating and being one of the founding members of the Byron Underwater Research Group (BURG), a key marine conservation organization which provides, training, education and conducts ongoing fish surveys and reef clean ups.

Zan has been with the Australia Program as an adjunct since 2012; she teaches the course Australian and Indo-­‐Pacific Perspectives on Coastal Environmental Issues, advises students and is also responsible for health & safety as well as coordinating the program’s social media presence. Zan can be contacted at

Nigel Hayes holds a BA (first-class honours) degree from Southern Cross University for which he received the University Medal in 2008.

Nigel is an experienced university teacher (both online and face-to-face) and has project leadership expertise in effective assessment and feedback. He has been teaching in the Humanities for Southern Cross University and LIU Global College for more than eight years. Courses Nigel has taught include Philosophy on Screen, Eco-­‐Cultural Studies, Environmental Sustainability, Perspectives on Australia, Unruly Subjects: Citizenship, Written Communication, and Australia, Asia and the World.

Nigel’s research interests revolve around theories of embodiment and subjectivity, the cultural controls on perception, especially as they involve food, and the ethics of eating. He has published several scholarly articles in academic journals and has presented his research at a number of national conferences.

Nigel has been with the Australia Program as an adjunct since 2013; he teaches the course Environmental Sustainability, advises students and works as the program’s writing tutor and bus driver. Nigel can be contacted at

Marcelle Townsend-Cross is a mixed heritage Indigenous Australian woman of Biripi, Worimi and Irish decent. She has sixteen years’ experience teaching Indigenous Studies in Australian Universities. Marcelle graduated from the University of Technology Sydney in 2009 with a Master of Education, Indigenous Studies, and from Southern Cross University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Arts, Contemporary Music.

Her research and professional activity has concentrated on defining and engaging Indigenous Australian philosophy in relation to pedagogical theory and praxis in past, present and future contexts, and in engaging Indigenous Australian values in mainstream Australian social policy and practice. Specifically, her research pursuits focus on exploring critical Indigenous Studies pedagogical theory and practice in the vocational, higher education and community adult education sectors.

Marcelle has been with the Australia Program since 2012; she teaches the course Australia’s First Peoples, advises students and is also responsible for administrative matters as well as the coordination of the Aboriginal bush camp. Marcelle can be contacted at