Asia-Pacific Australia


Faculty and Staff

Soenke Biermann (Asia-Pacific Australia Center Director, Faculty & Advisor)

(PhD in Cultural Studies [ABD], GradCert in Higher Education and Bachelor of Indigenous Studies (Hons.) from Southern Cross University). Professor of Political Economy and Ecology in the Asia-Pacific Region and Global Studies Seminar in the Fall Semester, and Culture, Politics and Identity in Australasia and Junior Research Seminar in the Spring Semester. As a researcher, Soenke has presented his work on pedagogy, decolonization, social justice, and human rights at more than 20 national and international conferences. He 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. Soenke is a passionate and dedicated teacher who has won a number of institutional and national Australian teaching awards over the past few years. He also has set up and been involved with a series of university and community initiatives and projects focusing on social justice, cultural diversity and decolonization. Originally from northern Germany, Soenke has been living in Australia for almost twenty years.

Nigel Hayes (Adjunct Faculty and Advisor)

(PhD in Cultural Studies [ABD], GradCert in Higehr Education (Teaching and Learning) and BA (Hons.) from Southern Cross University, Australia). Professor for Introduction to International Development and Innovative Encounters with Nature and Knowledge in the Fall Semester and Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation for Sustainable Development in the Spring Semester. 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 Environmental Humanities and Creative Writing for Southern Cross University and LIU Global College since 2008. 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.

Jessica O’Rourke (Student Services & Administrative Program Coordinator)

(Bachelor of Health Science, Westminster University, London). With a background in health science and a wealth of administrative experience in a variety of private-sector roles, Jessica (JJ) has recently joined the Asia-Pacific Australia Program to provide administrative and student services coordination. In her free time, JJ is interested in yoga, dance, travel and culture, and sustainable living.

 Marcelle Townsend-Cross (Adjunct Faculty and Advisor)

(PhD and MEd in Indigenous Studies from University of Technology, Sydney, and Bachelor of Contemporary Music from Southern Cross University). Professor of Australia’s First Peoples in the Fall Semester and Race, Power and Indigeneity in the Spring Semester. Marcelle is a mixed-heritage Indigenous Australian woman of Biripi, Worimi, and Irish descent. She has more than twenty years’ experience teaching Indigenous Studies in Australian Universities. Her research and professional activities have 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.