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Professor John Cole OAM

Name John Cole
Position Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement)
Section Pro Vice-Chancellor's Office (Engagement)
Office A618
Location Springfield Campus
Phone +61 7 3470 4451
Extension 4451
The views expressed on staff homepages may not reflect the views of the University.

Professor John Cole is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Engagement) at The University of Southern Queensland. Previously, he was Executive Director of USQ¿s Institute for Resilient Regions and founding director of the Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development. He also chairs the board of the Rural Economies Centre of Excellence (a collaboration between 4 Queensland universities and the State Government) and the Clean Growth Choices Consortium, a multi-institutional research and engagement collaboration dedicated to helping build social and economic resilience in regional communities. In 2016, Professor Cole received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to the environment, to higher education and to the community. He has been a longtime adviser to industry, government and communities on sustainable development. In 2012, he received the Queensland Premier¿s Award for Leadership in Sustainability, for promoting sustainability innovation in Queensland¿s regions and industries. Professor Cole was a founding Executive Director of Queensland¿s Environmental Protection Agency from 1998 to 2008. In 2007, he was also the Assistant Director General of Multicultural Affairs Queensland. Appointed to the State Government¿s Chief Executive Service in 2008, he also set up the Office of Clean Energy before moving to USQ in August 2009. Between 2014 and 2019 he was a member of Queensland's long term planning advisory, the Queensland Plan Ambassadors Council. He served nationally on the board of the Banksia Environmental Foundation and was a founder and first CEO of what is today Australia¿s Business Council for Sustainable Development. He was founder and CEO of the Australian Environment Management Export Corporation (AUSTEMEX) (1991-1997) Other engagements have included leadership of the Keep Australia Beautiful Council (Qld) (1998) membership of the Board of Management of the Queensland Trust for Nature (2012-2019) and since 2010 membership of the customer and community reference group of Queensland Urban Utilities. John has participated in US-Australia scholar exchange programs as a recipient of a postgraduate student scholarship (Newberry Library 1979) a Fulbright Postdoctoral Fellowship (1983) and in the US State Department¿s International Visitor Leadership Program (1999). Qualifications: ¿ BA (Hons History) (UQ 1978) ¿ PhD (UQ) in Australian demographic history (1981). Specialist expertise: ¿ Organizational leadership and business development; ¿ Strategic thinking and innovation; ¿ Research leadership and strategy; ¿ Regional resilience, economics and community development; ¿ Sustainable development and training; ¿ Climate Change and energy policy; ¿ Innovation diffusion; ¿ Change agency and leadership; ¿ Australian politics and history.

Fields of Research (FoR)

  • History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified ( 219999 )
  • Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified ( 159999 )
  • Business and Management not elsewhere classified ( 150399 )
  • Commerce ( 350000 )
  • Strategy ( 350799 )
  • Other History ( 439999 )

Research interests
History of the Australian federation
Resilience theory
Regional socio-economic systems
Sustainable development in regional Australia
Economic and environmental policy

Professional memberships
Member, Australian Institute of Company Directors MAICD

Industry affiliations
Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (Qld Trustee)
Queensland Futures Institute

Administrative responsibilities
Director, Australian Centre for Sustainable Business and Development

Publications in ePrints

Cole, John (2014) The historical context of Australia's federation. Working Paper. Committee for Economic Development of Australia , Melbourne, Australia. [Report]

Cole, John (2011) Business performance and organisational sustainability – lessons from the first 2 years of ACSBD. In: Building Business Communities: Justice, Performance and Change Creating a Sustainable Scholarly Community Colloquia, 9 Nov 2011, Brisbane, Australia.

Cole, John (2011) What does the term 'sustainable economic development' mean for local government? [Keynote address]. In: Economic and Regional Development Conference (ERD 2011): Resourced Regions: Shaping up or Shipping Out?, 18-20 May 2011, Gladstone, Australia.

Cole, John (2010) Environmental protection versus economic development in the Asia Pacific: the impacts of Copenhagen. In: 2nd Annual Dialogue Forum of the Sino-Australian Joint Research Program: Collaboration and Governance in the Asia Pacific, 21-23 Jul 2010, Brisbane, Australia.

Cole, John (2010) Green is only way for state to grow. Courier Mail. pp. 30-31.

View full listing in ePrints

Approved research supervisor in the area of:

  • History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified ( 219999 )
  • Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services not elsewhere classified ( 159999 )
  • Business and Management not elsewhere classified ( 150399 )
  • Commerce ( 350000 )
  • Strategy ( 350799 )
  • Other History ( 439999 )