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Dr Nicola Cooley

Dr Cooley, Director of Higher Education, is responsible for leading the delivery of Higher Education Qualifications at Melbourne Polytechnic, which support a wide portfolio of industries that include Accounting, Agriculture, Architecture, Business, Creative Industries (Music, Songwriting and Illustration), Education, Engineering, Hospitality, ICT, and Veterinary.

Dr Cooley is also responsible for:

  • Overseeing the quality of teaching;
  • TEQSA course accreditations;
  • Industry/professional course registrations;
  • Leadership to academic, scholarship, applied research and innovation frameworks across the Higher Education Directorate/Melbourne Polytechnic.
  • Contributing towards and supporting implementation of Melbourne Polytechnic strategic planning;
  • Higher Education academic policy advisor; and
  • Fostering professional and industry relationships, across Victoria, Australia, and internationally.
Portrait of Dr. Nicola Cooley. Smiling woman with brown hair, glasses, and a yellow floral blouse.
Dr Nicola Cooley, Director of Higher Education

The Higher Education Directorate consists of two departments that delivered 26 high quality qualifications across 2023 - 2024.

  • Arts Education and Agritech (HE)
  • Business and Construction (HE)

Nicola has been teaching and researching in plant production and stress physiology for over 20 years at a wide range of international institutes including the University of Cambridge / University of East London (UK) partnership, Aberystwyth University (Wales), University of Melbourne (Australian), CSIRO (Australian), and Melbourne Polytechnic (Australian). Nicola has taught an extensive cohort of Agriculture students the production of Viticultural, Horticultural, and Agronomical crops.

Prior to joining Melbourne Polytechnic, Nicola was researching the impacts of climate change in a wide range of sectors including horticultural, viticultural, and agronomical crops. Nicola’s research focus was on:

  • measuring and understanding the impacts of climate change on plants and how commercial outputs (e.g. wine, grape, apple etc) were impacted; and
  • the development of mitigation strategies that could be implemented on the farm/vineyard/orchard/glasshouse to optimise commercial outputs.

Nicola has extensive experience addressing complex industry issues that require in depth consideration of the problem and as such require working in multi-disciplinary research teams. Research projects have included both;

  • (1) Applied research outputs
    • insights into plant stress and how to manage these impacts,
    • knowledge and tools that assist irrigation decisions

    ensuring optimal commercial outputs for plant production are achieved.

  • (2) Novel and fundamental research outputs into
    • climate change impacts on plant physiology and function,
    • plant stress and impacts on resource / carbohydrate partitioning,
    • the co-inventor of novel plant sensor technology

Nicola supports translation of her knowledge and research findings through; book chapters, peer review journal research articles, presenting at conferences, industry publications, and teaching. Nicola focus is on addressing complex industry problems with innovative solutions that the sector can use to drive solutions.