SEI Welcomes Two Deputy Directors: Education and Member Engagement

Announcing Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell as Deputy Director for Education, and Associate Professor Thom van Dooren as Deputy Director for Member Engagement.

Native Australian kangaroo paws. Image by Keisha, via Unsplash.

SEI is thrilled to welcome Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell as Deputy Director for Education, and Associate Professor Thom van Dooren as Deputy Director for Member Engagement. They join the SEI Leadership Team, in what is set to be an exciting year for SEI.

Associate Professor Quinnell is situated in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences within the Faculty of Science, and her research focuses on the botanical world. Her work has involved examining the biology of symbiotic systems, developing ways to improve botanical literacy, and exploring human-plant interactions, such as the power of the plant world to revitalise the human spirit. As part of the University’s Sustainability Strategy, she is also involved in the creation of a ‘curriculum garden’ on campus.

Associate Professor Rosanne Quinnell and Associate Professor Thom van Dooren.

At SEI, Associate Professor Quinnell’s role is fundamental to championing key education initiatives and recommendations. Her position as Deputy Director for Education will encompass the continued development of the new undergraduate major and minor in Sustainability, strengthening the relationship between SEI and the Master of Sustainability program, and developing engaging Connecting to Campus practices as part of the Sustainability Strategy and One Sydney Many People. It will also include an exploration of botanical soundscapes with Conservatory of Music, development of educational activities within the University’s Multidisciplinary Institute structure, and collaboration with SEI members on short courses such as climate change competency for professionals.

“I am delighted to join the SEI Leadership Team. Since its inception SEI has employed the principle of generosity to create collaborative, transdisciplinary spaces that have seen environmental scholarship flourish. The Education portfolio affords the opportunity to strengthen and extend SEI’s remit of championing environmental sustainability in our curricula and on our campuses.”

  • Rosanne Quinnell, SEI Deputy Director

Associate Professor van Dooren’s research extends across the interdisciplinary field of environmental humanities. He is currently an Associate Professor within the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies. He is also a Professor II in the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities at the University of Oslo, Norway. Associate Professor van Dooren’s research is centred on the many philosophical, ethical, cultural and political issues that arise in the context of species extinctions and human relations with threatened species and places.

At SEI, he is the Research Lead or Co-Lead on Animal Stories, The Living Archive and Climate Justice and Problems of Scale, and in 2022 he will lead SEI’s new ‘biocultural diversity’ cluster of projects with Dr Sophie Chao. Associate Professor van Dooren has also convened a number of multidisciplinary initiatives in collaboration with SEI, including The Sydney Environmental Humanities Lecture Series in partnership with the Australian Museum, Macquarie University, UNSW and Western Sydney University.

Associate Professor van Dooren’s position as Deputy Director for Member Engagement will include growth of campus outreach and engagement, collaboration with members to generate new research projects and outputs, supporting members in the development of research strategies and funding applications, and facilitating meaningful partnerships for SEI. His role will be essential in ensuring the expansion of qualitative impact and engagement narratives.

“I’m passionate about multidisciplinary collaborations and conversations and about creating the infrastructures and research communities where they can thrive and produce real impacts. I’m excited to have the opportunity to do just this in my new role at SEI and am excited to be doing so with colleagues from across the University of Sydney and beyond.”

  • Thom van Dooren, SEI Deputy Director

Education and member engagement are essential to the work of SEI as a Multidisciplinary Institute, particularly in the strengthening of collaborative opportunities and varied research outcomes as we move forward in the new year.

Both leadership positions will significantly contribute to SEI’s mission to bring together multidisciplinary research and knowledge to address key environmental problems, and we’re looking forward to the vast knowledge and enthusiasm that Associate Professor Quinnell and Associate Professor van Dooren bring to the SEI Leadership Team.

A huge congratulations to our new Deputy Directors!