Dr Vikki Schaffer - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Staff profile

Dr Vikki Schaffer

PhD Sunshine Coast, BA(Hons) Sunshine Coast, BSustTour Sunshine Coast

  • Senior Lecturer, Tourism, Leisure and Events
+61 7 5459 4705
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Dr Vikki Schaffer


Vikki Schaffer began working at USC in 2005. She is a proud USC graduate who completed an undergraduate degree in Sustainable Tourism, BA Honours (Class 1) and Doctorate in Philosophy. Vikki has a strong interest in adventure and conservation with a particular passion for the marine environment.

In recognition, Vikki is a recipient of several L&T based awards including:

  • 2017 Advanced Award for Advancing Quality Teaching
  • 2018 Advance Team Award for advancing the student experience
  • 2019 AUSTRALIAN AWARDS FOR UNIVERSITY TEACHING CITATIONS FOR OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS TO STUDENT for innovative, experiential learning approaches that create stimulating, immersive experiences to engage, motivate and inspire tourism student learning.

In addition, in 2019, Vikki was recognised as a Higher Education Academy (HEA) Senior Fellow for effective approaches to teaching and learning contributing to high quality student learning and leadership.

Research Grants & Funding

2020. $58,605. Evaluation of visitors’ cognitive appraisal and emotional responses associated with immersive tourism and leisure experiences: real and virtual. An RPA Sunshine Coast Council/USC

2018. A$8777. Evaluation of the Sunshine Coast TurtleCare program – stakeholder perceptions. A Sunshine Coast Regional Council funded project.

2018. A$2195. Citizen Science for monitoring beaches – Coastsnap. An examination of social media as a means to collect images to monitor a Sunshine Coast beach. A Sunshine Coast Regional Council funded project.

2015 and 2017. New Colombo Plan funded project leader on two undergraduate, teaching and research based tours to Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga.

2016. A$15,000. Immersive Media: Bringing learning to life to stimulate authentic student engagement.
This project sought to enhance student engagement through the development of innovative curricula supported by visualisation and immersive simulation for authentic learning that recognises and responds to diverse student learning needs. USC.

2013. A$157,000. Seafood extension research. Postdoctoral Scholarship. SCRC, FDRC, ACPF, USC.

2012. A$345,197. Identification of the core leadership group and network structure of East Coast Trawl to develop, implement and evaluate strategic opportunities.
This project investigated the development of collaboration to leverage existing and future market opportunities through an understanding of industry social capital and social networks to support internal leadership. SCRC, FDRC, ACPF, USC.

2011. A$5,115. Improving learning experiences by building collaborative and cooperative networks between undergraduate students, local communities and academics through the integration of work integrated learning (WIL) and social media technologies in assessment tasks.
This project investigated the use of social media technologies and the building of networks between university staff, students and local communities on learning outcomes including the building of cooperative relationships with the local business community; improvement of graduate destinations opportunities (employability); enrichment of the student experience and positively affected retention. USC.

Research areas

  • Immersive experiences for enhancing the visitor experience
  • Cognitive appraisal of immersive experiences (emtional responses; awe)
  • Citizen Science
  • Sustainable tourism: marine and adventure tourism: artificial reefs, whale tourism
  • Visualisation and immersive experiences for teaching and learning

Teaching areas

  • Sustainable Tourism, Leisure and Event Management
  • Technology and Innovation in Tourism, Leisure and Event Management
  • Business Internships
  • Service Quality
  • Event Management
  • International Tourism Management

Dr Vikki Schaffer's specialist marine tourism including artifical reef and whale related tourism; immersive tourism experience (virtual and real immersion); sustainable tourism, leisure and event management; technology and innovation in tourism, citizen science, and destination management

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