Academic staff in the Office for Environmental Programs
Associate Professor David Kennedy
Director, Office for Environmental Programs
David Kennedy is an Associate Professor in coastal geomorphology and the Director of the Office for Environmental Programs at The University of Melbourne. His research focusses on the impact of climatic and environmental change and how sea level, storms and tsunami drive our dynamic coast. David’s research partners with many agencies from Surf Life Saving Australia, to AusAID as well as state and federal government agencies in Australia and overseas (incl. U.K., Tonga, Niue and New Zealand). David is the elected chair of working groups for many academic societies such as The International Association of Geomorphologists. As Director of the Office for Environmental Programs, he oversees the University's large cross-faculty, interdisciplinary coursework program the Master of Environment.
Dr Stephanie Lavau
OEP Subject Coordinator, Interdisciplinarity and the Environment
Stephanie Lavau is a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Environmental Practice. Her research and teaching focus on social and cultural aspects of environment management and governance, particularly in relation to ecosystem health, environmental risk, biodiversity conservation, and natural resource management. Stephanie's research interests include: the production and intersection of environmental knowledges; nature-cultures; and policy-practice interfaces in governing environments. She has studied sustainable river management in Australia (funded by an APA and CSIRO); the extension of biosecurity policy into food production and environmental management in Britain (funded by ESRC); the socio-technical challenges of biological control for crop protection in Britain (funded by Plymouth University); and the role of biological indicators in lay and expert apprehensions of environmental change (funded by ISSR). Stephanie's research is primarily qualitative and ethnographic, and is situated at the intersection of science and technology studies, human geography, and environmental sociology. Stephanie has recently returned to Australia from the UK, where she was a Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Exeter and then a Lecturer in Human Geography at Plymouth University. She has previous professional experience in science communication and science policy in government and environmental organisations.
Dr Lavau coordinates the core subject Interdisciplinarity and the Environment
OEP Senior Tutor, Research subjects and Sustainability Governance and Leadership
Gab is an OEP graduate with a background in politics, sociology, and environmental governance. Since completing her masters, she has been teaching at both RMIT University and the University of Melbourne, with a particular focus on public policy and environmental social science. Gab is concerned with the politics and policy of environmental sustainability. She is particularly interested in the contested nature of decision making, how contemporary socio-environmental justice issues are named and framed in the policy process, how these can be disrupted and resisted, and the discursive and lived effects of this. She has assisted with research on the tensions between market logic and conservation practices, critical urban governance and green space accessibility, housing instability and seeking asylum, and sustainability transitions. Gab is concerned with divergent value positions, and how and why we engage in certain behaviours. As a teaching focused academic, Gab is passionate about engaged environmental education, and aims to be reflexive and transformative in her teaching practice.
She currently co-coordinates the research subjects offered by the OEP, and tutors into Sustainability Governance and Leadership, a core subject in the program.
Dr Sebastian Thomas
OEP Subject Coordinator, Sustainability Governance and Leadership
Dr Sebastian Thomas is a transdisciplinary researcher with a background in climate strategy and environmental social science. His work examines human-nature relations – the interconnected economic, social, and policy dynamics of sustainability innovations, climate governance, and environmental management. In the context of global change issues – including technology, climate and environment, new economic forces, social movements and conflicts, and resource constraints – he investigates how communities can connect to global economic and policy frameworks to achieve resilient and prosperous sustainability outcomes. His research interests include vulnerability and resilience, ‘blue carbon’ in coastal ecosystems and its role in sustainable development, ocean governance, energy transitions, and the role of policy innovation in adapting to global challenges. Dr Thomas’ expertise crosses sustainability science, political ecology, management strategy, environmental economics, and social-ecological systems dynamics. Dr Thomas is a lecturer in the Office for Environmental Programs, and affiliated with the Australia-Indonesia Centre, the Australia-Germany Climate-Energy College, the EU Centre for Shared Complex Challenges, and the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences. He set up and coordinates the Sustainability Science Lab @ Melbourne which applies innovative transdisciplinary research to uncover the complex dynamics of human-nature relationships
Prior to joining the University of Melbourne he was Education Program Manager at the International Energy Centre, coordinating the professional, interdisciplinary Master of Energy Studies, and lecturing on topics of energy policy, global change, and sustainability leadership.