Adam Switzer’s main research interest lies in using coastal stratigraphy to define the recurrence interval of catastrophic marine inundation events (tsunami or large storms). His most significant contributions to the field include:

  • The first study of modern storm deposits from the Australian southeast coast;
  • The recognition that immature heavy mineral suites in coastal sandsheets may indicate tsunami deposition rather than storm deposition in coastal settings;
  • The recognition of an erosional signature of large scale washover of coastal dunes using Ground Penetrating Radar;
  • Initial evaluation of the sedimentary processes associated with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami on the southeast coast of India a definitive review and re-analysis of large boulder accumulations in coastal settings on the southeast Australian coast.

When I was an undergraduate I experienced the full spectrum of teachers. Fortunately, those who stand out in my memory have particular attributes in common and it is these that I take as a baseline of my teaching philosophy. My mentors presented their subjects in a way that caught my interest, as a student. They challenged my thinking, clarified difficult concepts and led me through complex areas of the topics I studied. Of particular note most of them used contemporary examples that placed my knowledge into context so that its relevance was apparent. By employing this philosophy I primarily view myself as an educator, rather than as a lecturer who simply delivers information to students. When developing a curriculum or interacting with students I am conscious of the diversity of the student body in any class. I consistently get good teaching evaluations and I received the SPMS teaching award in 2010. I make an effort to take note of the feedback from students, as it has been vital to the development of my teaching style. On thing I recently focussed on is the pacing of lectures and the importance of teaching a few concepts well rather than overwhelming students with mountains of information.

  • PhD: University of Wollongong, Australia, 2005
  • BSc: University of Wollongong, Australia, 1999
Professional Experience:
  • 2007 - 2009 Centenary Research Assistant Professor, The University of Hong Kong
  • 2005 - 2007 Post-doctoral Research Fellow, The University of Hong Kong
  • 2005 Cheung Kong Endeavour Australia Fellow, The University of Hong Kong
  • 2003 Associate Lecturer, University of Wollongong, Australia
  • 2000 - 2004 Casual academic, University of Wollongong, Australia
Professional Activities:
  • Guest editor of two special issues in high impact journals; Quaternary International (2010) and Quaternary Science Reviews (2012).
  • Developer, primary proponent and co-leader of UNESCO-IUGS backed project IGCP588
  • Preparing for coastal change Involving more than 250 scientists globally.
University Service:
  • EOS Outreach committee
  • DES/EOS Safety committee
  • DES Curriculum development committee
Courses Taught:
  • ES7009 - Living with coastal processes and hazards
  • ES8005 - Environmental Earth Systems Science

  • ES7001 - Natural Hazards, Climate Change and Society
  • ES8001 - Natural Hazards, Climate Change and Society 

Honours and Awards:
  • SPMS Teaching award 2011
  • Singapore NRF Fellow 2010
  • Endeavour Australia Cheung Kong Research Fellowship 2005



Project List: