Associate Professor Julian Prior

Associate Dean, International Outreach and Engagement - Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law

Julian Prior

Phone: +61 2 6773 3610



I am currently the Associate Dean, International, within the Faculty of Science, Agriculture, Business and Law at the University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia.  My role in this position is to develop international partnerships for research, education and training and capacity development.

For the 20 years prior to coming to UNE I worked in natural resource management in Australia and overseas, while employed by a range of government and non-government agencies and international development organisations

I have  over forty years’ experience in research-extension-development pathways including the following areas: agricultural extension and scaling out of innovations; livelihood strategies in resource-poor farmers and pastoralists; social capital building in farmer groups for connection to markets and climate adaptation; community based natural resource management; the use of Participatory Action Research Approaches for policy and institutional development for agricultural research and development; institutional analysis and capacity development; and extensive experience in program and project design and evaluation.

I have worked in over 20 developing countries in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, including 3 years managing a livestock development and rangeland management development project in northern Somalia.

I have a strong professional and research interest in the developing field of environmental dispute resolution. I have trained in facilitation, conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation, and have conducted research into multiple-stakeholder environmental dispute resolution and consensus building.

I believe that in order to keep abreast of current developments within my areas of teaching and research interest, I must maintain a strong ongoing involvement with industry and government. I maintain this currency through undertaking selected consultancies. Australian consultancy clients include the former Murray Darling Basin Commission and Land and Water Australia, the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Cotton Cooperative Research Centre, Meat and Livestock Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, the Minerals Council of Australia, NSW Department of Premiers and Cabinet, NSW Department of Environment Climate Change and Water, several NSW Catchment Management Authorities, and NSW Local Land Services.

International consultancy clients for projects in Africa, the Pacific and Asia include Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), OXFAM Great Britain, the Secretariat for the Pacific Community (SPC), the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the European Union, and the German bilateral development agency, GIZ.



  • Bachelor of Rural Science
  • Graduate Diploma in Urban and Regional Planning
  • Master in Urban and Regional Planning
  • Graduate Certificate in Higher Education
  • Certificate IV in Workplace Assessment and Training
  • PhD

Teaching Areas

Teaching Profile

I teach one core unit within the Environmental Science Degree program; one core unit within the Rural Science and Agriculture Degree Programs and one core unit within the Bachelor of Sustainability Degree program.  I also contribute in a minor way to several other units within these degree programs.

  • NR 411/511 Natural Resource Policy and the Community (core Unit within the Bachelor of Sustainability Degree Program; also an elective within the Environmental Science Degree program). This Unit has won UNE awards for student satisfaction for the last 5 years.
  • AGEX 310/510 Agricultural and Natural Resource Extension (core unit within the Rural Science and Agriculture Degree programs; also an elective within the Environmental Science Degree program)
  • EM312/512 Environmental Impact Assessment (core unit core unit within the Environmental Science Degree program and the Urban and Regional Planning Degree Program)

Teaching and Learning Strategies

As an educator I believe I must be clear about the learning outcomes I am seeking and the learning processes I am utilising - why these particular outcomes and processes have been chosen.   However, merely telling students what I am planning for them and why, is not enough.  The issues of student interest and student involvement must be addressed, and the relevance and application of their learning outcomes must also be demonstrated. This is particularly important, and challenging, when broaching deeper learning outcomes with students.

I explain to students that lower level skills and competencies provide the building blocks to higher level skills and competencies.  I emphasise that once we have completed one level of the learning sequence, they should not then discard what they have learnt, but take it with them to apply within the next more complex learning environment.   A simple example of this learning sequence utilised with the unit AGEX 310/510 is illustrated below.

Communication skills --> public presentation skills --> critical thinking skills --> group facilitation skills  --> team skills  --> strategic planning skills

One clear message I gleaned from my experiences in adult education and training, and my reading of the associated literature, is that different adults learn in different ways.  I thus try as much as possible in each of my teaching exercises to utilise strategies which appeal to the three learning modalities (i.e. auditory, visual and kinaesthetic).  This might be a simple principle, but it is easy to overlook, and its learning impact is very powerful.

I also believe that effective teaching strategies involve:

  • clear and well structured teaching material,
  • explicit learning objectives
  • relating learning objectives to student's high priority learning needs
  • utilising a range of audio-visual media
  • experiential or problem based learning techniques
  • participatory learning environments
  • small group learning where appropriate.


Biggs, J. B. (1991) 'Teaching design for learning, in Ross, B. (ed) Teaching for Effective Learning, Research and Development in Higher Education, 13, pp11-26.

Marton ,F. and Saljo, R. (1976) 'On qualitative differences in learning:outcome and process', British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46,  4-11.

Onsman (1991)  Taking Control of Training: a Guide for Managers, ABC Books,Sydney

Perry, W. G. (1984) 'Different worlds in the same classroom', in Ramsden, P. (ed) Improving Learning:New Perspectives, Kogan Page,London pp 145-161.


Prior J., Zaw, T. Hassen J.Y., & Toperesi E. (2019) Social Capital, Adaptation and Resilience: Case Studies of Rural Communities in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. In: James H. (ed.) Population, Development, and the Environment. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.

Prior, J. & Zaw, T. (2019) Designing Effective Contract Farming Arrangements in Myanmar: Lessons Learned from Case Study Research, Policy Discussion Paper.

Prior, J. & Carnegie, M. (2017) Recommendations for improving agricultural extension in Myanmar: a Discussion Paper, Policy Discussion Paper.

Gabb, S.,  Bell, L., Basuno, E., Prestwidge, D., Prior, J. & Guppy, C. (2017)  ‘Whole farm impacts of forage legumes in smallholder crop-livestock systems’, Australian Agronomy Conference, September 2017, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia.

Hlaing, T. and Prior, J. (2017) ‘Opportunities and Challenges of Visualisation and Open Data in Food Security Analysis’, In Prodromou, T. (Ed.) Data Visualisation and Statistical Literacy in Open and Big Data, IGI Global.

Drielsma, M., Foster, E., Ellis, M., Gill, R., Prior, J. Kumar, L., Saremi, H. & Ferrier, S. (2016) ‘Assessing collaborative, privately managed biodiversity conservation derived from an offsets program: Lessons from the Southern Mallee of New South Wales, Australia’ Land Use Policy, Vol. 59, pp. 59-70.

Gabb, S., Bell, L., Basuno, E., Prestwidge, D., & Prior, J. (2016) ‘Intensifying forage-livestock systems: trade-offs between food security and income’, 14th European Society for Agronomy Congress, 5-9 September 2016, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Huynh, H., Lobry de Bruyn, L., Prior J.  & Kristiansen, P. (2016). Community participation and harvesting of non-timber forest products in benefit-sharing pilot scheme in Bach Ma National Park, Central Vietnam. Tropical Conservation Science 9: 877-902.

Nanedo, N., Prior, J., Lobry de Bruyn, L. & Marshall, G. (2014) ‘Capacities for irrigation water resource governance at the local level: a case study from the Upper East Region of Ghana’, In C. Brebbia, & H. Bjornlund, (Eds.) WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage V,  Vol. 185, pp. 13-24.

Prior, J. (2014) Solomon Islands Draft National Rural Land Use Policy, UNDP, Honiara.

Prior, J. (2014) Guidelines for Community-Based Land Use Planning in the Solomon Islands, UNDP, Honiara.

Prior, J. (2013) ‘Community Engagement to Resolve Climate Adaptation Conflicts: Utilising Consensus Building, Joint Fact-Finding Strategies, and Cognitive Frames Analysis’, Chapter 16, In Palutikof, J., Parry, M., Ash, A., Stafford Smith, M., Waschka, M. and Boulter, S. (eds) Climate Adaptation Futures, pp.167-176, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.

Lobry de Bruyn, L., Prior, J. & Lenehan, J. (2013) ‘Weaving a Stronger Fabric for Improved Outcomes’, Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension, 20:2, pp. 169-189.

Prior, J. (2012) ‘Participation and social capital in sustainable land management: lessons learned from international Landcare’, APECScientific Workshop on Sustainable Land Management to Enhance Food Production of Asia-Pacific Economic Community Members, November 28 – 30, 2012, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Invited Keynote Paper).

Ahmad, S., Hinch, G., Prior, J., Burrell, D., & Thomas, P. (2012) ‘The Role of extension in changing the dairy industry in Pakistan: a review’, Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, 22 (2 Suppl.): 2012, Page: 113-116. ISSN: 1018-7081

Ahmad, S., Hinch, G., Prior, J., & Thomas, P. (2012) ‘A study of Australian dairy extension strategies and their application to Pakistan’s dairy farming sector. Second Joint Conference of the New Zealand & Australian Societies of Animal Production, 2012, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Ahmad, S., Hinch, G., Prior J. & Thomas, P. (2011) ‘Extension professionals and dairy farmers: perceptions of desired outcomes of extension strategies used in NSW & Victoria’, In Hitting a Moving Target: Sustaining Landscape, Livelihoods and Lifestyles in a Changing World, (Ed. G Mills). Proceedings of 2011 APEN national Forum, 28-30 November, Armidale, pp. 30-33.

Prior, J. (2010) Stakeholder Engagement and Communication in Regional Land-Use Planning. Report for the Minerals Council of Australia, University of New England, Armidale.

Prior, J.  (2010) ‘Volunteerism and Inclusiveness and the Future of Landcare’, Celebrate, Communicate, Invigorate, National Landcare Forum, Adelaide 23-25 March 2010. (Invited Keynote Address).

Prior, J. (2010)‘Facilitating and mediating complex environmental negotiations: the role of the chair’, 2010 National Mediation Conference, Adelaide, 6-9 September 2010.

Love, C., Carroll, P., & Prior, J. (2010)Building Social Capital to Achieve Sustainable Farm Practices, Chapter 9, In Jennings, J., Woodside, D., and Packham, R. (eds) Enabling the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and Agricultural Production: The Role of Extension, Australia Pacific Extension Network, Brisbane

Holt, R., Steyn, F. & Prior, J.  (2009) ‘Food, Finance, Forests, Fish or Famine — Sustainable Landcare for Africa: an Agribusiness Approach’, Caring for Our Land, Caring for Our Future, 4th Biennial South African LandCare Conference, 12-16 July 2009, Polokwane, South Africa.

Prior, J., Ghalsasi, P.M., Walkden-Brown, S.W., Chavan, K.M., Kulkarni, S.R. and Nimbkar, C. (2009) ‘Shepherds’ views on the value and management of Deccani crossbred FecB carrier ewes with a higher twinning percentage: implications for a future introgression extension program’,   Proceedings of the Helen Newton Turner Memorial International Workshop on using the Booroola

Consultancy Interests

My research and consultancy interests lie in the areas of natural resource policy, institutional analysis and capacity development, agricultural and natural resource extension and scaling out of technical and social innovations, social capital-building for sustainable natural resource management, community-based natural resource management (including community adaptation to climate change), environmental dispute resolution, and natural resource and environmental management in developing countries.

Much of my consultancy work in Australia and in developing countries has been in the area of policy, program and project evaluation and design in the above areas (a list of consultancy projects is given below). I have provided agricultural and natural resource management policy and institutional development advice to the governments of South Africa (funded by AusAID), Solomon Islands (funded by UNDP), Papua New Guinea (funded by GIZ), Myanmar (funded by ACIAR), and Fiji (funded by GIZ), as well as to Australian government institutions.

I have a strong interest in Australian and international Landcare, and I am an Australian member of the Landcare International Steering Committee.