Profile image of Raylene Cooke

A/Prof. Raylene Cooke



Associate Professor


Faculty of Sci Eng & Built Env


School of Life & Env. Sciences


Melbourne Burwood Campus

+61 3 925 17608

Biography summary

Raylene has been an academic at Deakin since 2002.  A passion for education and research has seen her develop an impressive teaching and research portfolio.  She has a dedication to creating learning environments which promote the development of skills in her students which readily transfer into employment.  Raylene is a champion for creating highly stimulating real world field based education platforms,  enhancing opportunities for work integrated learning, and encouraging engagement in global learning experiences.  Her teaching is backed up by her strong research background in wildlife conservation. A passion for raptors has seen her working for many years on powerful owls and how they can be better conserved in urbanizing landscapes.

Raylene is the course director for the Bachelor of Environmental Science (Wildlife and Conservation Biology) where she has worked to scaffold work integrated learning, field based learning and global engagement across the degree program.  She is also part of the faculty working group for work integrated learning, and is part of the faculty team driving the increase in global mobility of our students.

Research interests

Raylene is an active researcher with a focus on how disturbance processes such as urbanization, fire and introduced species impact upon our unique ecosystems and wildlife.  Much of her research has seen her working on the outskirts of Melbourne tracking down the elusive powerful owl, one of the few native top-order predators still residing on the edge of our cities.  Using spatial modelling and GPS tracking technologies with powerful owls has changed our perceptions of how predators can respond to urbanisation processes.  Raylene is also an important part of our long-term research program in the Grampians National Park investigating the role of fire and climate change on small mammals.  She has been part of this research since it started in 2008 and was integral in the team winning the Nancy Millis Award in 2016 for research that changes the way Parks Victoria manages its park assets.

Raylene has a dynamic research team of honours students and postgraduates working on urban processes, raptor ecology, invasive species and conservation ecology.

Teaching interests

Raylene has been a major driver of creating highly experiential learning environments in the field, the workplace and around the world.  Encouraging the integration of work integrated learning opportunities across the Bachelor Environmental Science suite of degrees, has seen her become a leader in preparing students for the transition out of university and into employment.  Creating a dynamic and exciting learning environment has been fundamental in Raylene driving the delivery of our highly immersive field studies programs and global environmental placements.  A dynamic educator, Raylene has been recognised both at the University and nationally.

Units taught

SLE114 Introduction to Parks and Wildlife Management (Unit Chair)
SLE225 Global Environmental Placement (Unit Chair)
SLE301 Professional Practice (Unit Chair)
SLE302 Wildlife Field Studies (Teaches into)

Research groups

Wildlife and Conservation Biology


2017  Vice Chancellors Award for Teaching Excellence
2016  Nancy Millis Award for Science in Parks
2015  Vice Chancellors Award for Outstanding Contributions to Global Experiences
2007  Carrick Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (National award)
2005  Vice-Chancellors Award for Distinguished Teaching
2005  Deakin University Award for Teaching Excellence