Welcome to the School of the Environment at Flinders University. I moved to lead the School in July 2010 after spending five years as Director of Environmental Programs in Geosciences at Texas A&M University.
The opportunity to establish this School was very attractive because it was part of a major decision by the university to establish an environmental school as part of its strategic aim of environmental excellence and because of the opportunity to contribute to solutions to the interesting environmental issues that face Australia and its neighbours.
Our underlying philosophy is that the environment is inherently interdisciplinary and that sound research that can advance society's understanding of environmental issues forms the basis of stimulating educational courses; and helps develop solutions requiring good science, good social science, and explorations at the many interfaces between the two. Human and natural systems are coupled and complex, they involve feedbacks between environment and society, and need to recognise that many of the relationships between the two are non-linear. Researching and teaching in the environmental area is exciting for staff and students alike, to know you are helping to solve some of Australia's (and the world's) main contemporary issues is simply icing on the cake.
What excited me about joining this School was the breadth of expertise. Working together with such a comprehensive group including geologists, hydrologists, hydrogeologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, environmental managers, biogeographers, land change scientists, demographers and environmental health experts means that we can develop and deliver exciting and relevant courses (courses we have started to plan and will roll out over the next three years), prosecute quality research, and use our expertise to engage with communities in South Australia and elsewhere.
We organise around five research-led strategic clusters - water; spatial information; health and environment; environment and society; and environmental geosciences - and will be building our research, educational, and community engagement portfolios around these.
Flinders' School of the Environment will be changing, increasing its educational and research impact, and making a difference to Australia and its neighbours in the next few years. Please check back with us frequently as we start our journey, consider us seriously for your undergraduate or graduate education, plan your research visit or sabbatical with us, and join us in research projects.
Professor Andrew Millington