High-profile environmental scientist Professor Shelley Burgin has been appointed as the Head of the Mirvac School of Sustainable Development at Bond University and she is determined to spread the word on urban conservation.
“I’m here to put the sustainability into sustainable development,” she says with the enthusiasm of someone who has dedicated over three decades to studying the environment, with particular emphasis on minimising the impact of urban development on native species.
Professor Burgin joins Bond from the University of Western Sydney (UWS), where she spent 23 years as an academic. In recognition of her contribution to research, teaching and learning and community engagement, she was appointed as Emeritus Professor on retirement from UWS.
She says the “real opportunity to make a difference” at Bond University was attractive.
“Environmental Science as a study area here at Bond is relatively new; it’s an excellent time to contribute to the building of this increasingly important area in urban development, to value-add to what the University is already achieving and to raise awareness of the field.
“The privilege of working in Australia’s first 6-Star Green Star rated educational building is also huge for someone like me whose discipline area is the environment,” she said.
As part of Bond’s Institute of Sustainable Development and Architecture, the Mirvac School of Sustainable Development sits alongside the Soheil Abedian School of Architecture, bringing architecture, development and environment under the one umbrella.
“It’s a fortunate and unique position that we are in,” said Professor Burgin. “I look forward to being able to produce graduates that can not only design and build impressive buildings, but who also have a good understanding of how to manage the environmental aspects of urban development.
“It is particularly exciting to be working closely with academics who are teaching the next generation of those who will plan, develop and manage our urban areas in the future; working together to find innovative ways of maximising biodiversity within our cities. I hope to encourage future generations to accept wildlife in their environment and understand the importance of conserving it,” she said.
Professor Burgin is committed to ensuring that research is disseminated to those who can make a difference.
“It is not sufficient to only strengthen the understanding of ecological knowledge; scientists need to disseminate the information to the broader community, for example, by working with local governments to support and critique urban development policies. I see this as part of my responsibility as an academic and it is a mind-set that I seek to instil into graduates.”