Dr Vikki Schaffer | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Dr Vikki Schaffer

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

  • Senior Lecturer, Tourism, Leisure and Events
  • School of Business and Creative Industries
+61 7 5459 4705
Office location
Sunshine Coast
Vikki Schaffer

Dr Vikki Schaffer began working at UniSC in 2005. She is a proud UniSC 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 (SDG13, SDG14).

With a transdisciplinary approach aimed at increasing theoretical and practical outcomes, Vikki takes a highly collaborative approach, in both teaching and research, working with industry, government, and community at all levels (SDG17). Sustainability, innovation and design thinking-based solutions underpin her work, reflected in her role as the School of Business and Creative Industries Sustainability Champion. Vikki is a passionate scholar and researcher, community member and volunteer who enthusiastically strives to develop and share her knowledge and expertise to support aspiring tourism professionals in an inclusive industry that values people, places and environments.

Professional Awards

  • 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.
  • 2019 HIGHER EDUCATION ACADEMY (HEA) SENIOR FELLOW for effective approaches to teaching and learning contributing to high quality student learning and leadership.
  • 2018 ADVANCE TEAM AWARD for advancing the student experience
  • 2017 ADVANCED AWARD for Advancing Quality Teaching

Research Grants and Funding


Diverse participation in citizen science by people with disability. Engaging science grant. Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science.


Engaging for inclusivity: Citizen science as a conduit for diverse participation. Funding: UniSC.


Communication for Conservation: Evaluation of Sunshine Coast Councils Regional Flying-fox Management Plan - communication and education. A Sunshine Coast Regional Council funded project.


Soundscapes and tourist engagement. Funding: UniSC.


Understanding the impact of community-based citizen science programs: The volunteer experience in Clean-up for Hatchlings. A Sunshine Coast Regional Council funded project.


Evaluation of visitors’ cognitive appraisal and emotional responses associated with immersive tourism and leisure experiences: real and virtual. A Regional Partners co-funded project: USC/Sunshine Coast Council.


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


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.


New Colombo Plan funded project leader on two undergraduate, teaching and research based tours to Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga. Funding: Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.


Immersive Media: Bringing learning to life to stimulate authentic student engagement. Funding: UniSC


Seafood extension research. Postdoctoral Scholarship. SCRC, FDRC, ACPF, UniSC.


Identification of the core leadership group and network structure of East Coast Trawl to develop, implement and evaluate strategic opportunities. Funding: SCRC, FDRC, ACPF, UniSC


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. Funding: UniSC

Research areas

  • Designing immersive tourism products for enhancing visitor experiences
  • Cognitive appraisal of immersive experiences: Real and Virtual
  • Citizen Science: increasing diverse participation and program evaluation
  • Sustainable tourism: marine and adventure tourism e.g., artificial reefs, whale tourism
  • Tourism, and environmental psychology: e.g., exploring awe and wellbeing, gaming, nature, cognitive and affective dimensions of immersive experiences in tourism and the elicitation of awe, the impacts on wellbeing and pro-environmentalism
  • Visualisation and immersive experiences in teaching and learning

Teaching areas

  • TSM313 Sustainable Tourism, Leisure and Event Management
  • MGT730 Innovation by Design (design Thinking)
  • MGT731 Business Model Innovation
  • Business Internships and Work Integrated Learning Projects
  • International Tourism Management
  • Sustainable Tourism, Leisure and Event Management

Dr Vikki Schaffer's specialist areas of knowledge include immersive experience design, cognitive appraisal (with a focus on the emotion of awe), citizen (tourist) science, inclusive and diverse experiences. Areas of key interest include marine tourism, including artificial reefs and whale related tourism; immersive tourism experience (virtual and real); sustainable tourism, leisure and event management; technology and innovation in tourism, design thinking, business model innovation and destination management. Dr Schaffer is available for collaborative projects, Masters Research/PhD student supervision, media enquiries, membership of advisory committees, guest teaching and speaking opportunities.

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