Dr Gayle Mayes is an associate member of the Sustainability Research Centre at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and teaches courses in Tourism, Leisure and Event Management, Sports Marketing and Marketing in the USC Business School.
Her current research projects include sustainable coastal and marine tourism, climate change and anthropogenic impacts on coral reefs, cultural tourism, community-based tourism and sustainable tourism development in the Asia–Pacific region.
Gayle has taught in universities for approximately 25 years in the interconnected fields of tourism, health and lifestyle, sport, environmental education, outdoor pursuits, leisure and events. Her successful use of experiential education (learning through experience) as her main teaching and learning strategy, earned her a national award for outstanding contribution to student learning in 2007.
Her learning and teaching methods motivate students to gain experience by volunteering for events and participating in internships, both overseas and locally, with businesses in order to become more competitive in the job market and prepare themselves for the workplace after university.
Gayle also introduced opportunities for students from all faculties to participate in educational tourism expeditions to remote destinations in the Asia–Pacific region in the areas of health, education and business/tourism. These expeditions give students a unique hands-on experience with small scale businesses and corporate social responsibility activities, and empowers them to become change agents for sustainability.
Her strong interest in sport and events was developed through competing at world championship level in numerous paddle sports, including the women's 500 metre flat water kayak event in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
After retiring from elite sport, Gayle coached teams and individuals to international level, attended the Atlanta and Beijing Olympics as a spectator and worked as a volunteer for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Gayle returned to competition in 2012, winning gold, silver and bronze medals at the World Outrigger Sprint championships in Calgary, Canada. This interest and expertise has led to new research and international recognition her achievements in developing policy, planning and peak performances for paddlers with physical disabilities. Her strengths include: use of innovative teaching methods, enthusiasm and energy, community engagement and service, and a passion for applied research.
Gayle is committed to using her research and teaching to assist in the sustainable development and management of tourism, businesses and regions.