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Rewarding Australia's best University teachers.



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Media Release

REWARDING AUSTRALIA’S BEST UNIVERSITY TEACHERS

2 December 2003, MIN 546/03

(UNDER EMBARGO until 11.30am, Tuesday 2 December, AEST)

Eight Australian academics and five universities are being recognised today for dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm which sets them apart. They are winners of the 2003 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT).

Professor Ian Cameron from the University of Queensland has been awarded the top honour -- the Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year. Professor Cameron also won a Teaching Award in the category of Physical Sciences and Related Studies and so received total grants of $75,000 to continue valued work in his field.

Winners in the Teaching Award categories receive a grant of $40,000 each. Institutional Award winners receive $50,000 each, from a total grant pool of $605,000.

The Australian Awards for University Teaching were established in 1997 to celebrate and raise the status of Australian university teaching - but we still have a long way to go.

It is long past time that university teaching was accorded a status equal to that of research. After all, the next crop of world class researchers, in all disciplines, are being produced by inspiring and dedicated lecturers and tutors.

The Government is determined to drive this attitudinal change.

The Higher Education Reform package, Backing Australia’s Future, now before the Senate contains a range of measures focused on enhancing the quality of teaching and rewarding the teachers in our universities. These include:

● $138.5 million over 2006 and 2007 for a Learning and Teaching Fund which will

recognise excellence in teaching and learning ● $21.9 million per year from 2006 for a National Institute for Learning and Teaching

in Higher Education ● $2.7 million per year from 2006 for an additional 250 awards recognising quality

university teaching

I congratulate all those academics and institutions recognised today.

Please see Attachment A for a complete list of winners and Attachment B for winners’ profiles.

Media Contact: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Laila Lacis 0412 040 034

Attachment A

TEACHING AWARD WINNERS

Biological Sciences, Health and Related Studies Ms Dawn Gleeson, The University of Melbourne ($40,000 grant) Dr Judith Murray, The University of Queensland ($40,000 grant)

Economics, Business, Law and Related Studies Associate Professor Sally Kift, Queensland University of Technology ($40,000 grant)

Humanities and the Arts Ms Felicia Zhang, University of Canberra ($40,000 grant)

Physical Sciences and Related Studies Professor Ian Cameron, The University of Queensland ($40,000 grant)

Social Sciences Professor Laurie Brady, University of Technology, Sydney ($40,000 grant) Professor Lesley Cooper, Flinders University of South Australia ($40,000 grant)

The Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Teacher of the Year Mr Bevan Cassady, Macquarie University ($40,000 grant)

INSTITUTIONAL AWARD WINNERS

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of support services that assist the learning of students Griffith University, QLD ($50,000 grant)

Innovative and practical approach to team teaching in large, first year classes The Australian National University, ACT ($50,000 grant)

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of educational services to the local and/or regional community University of Tasmania ($50,000 grant)

Innovative and practical approach to the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning Edith Cowan University, WA ($50,000 grant)

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of services to Indigenous students The University of Western Australia ($50,000 grant)

The Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year Professor Ian Cameron, The University of Queensland ($35,000 grant)

Attachment B

Winners’ Profiles:

Biological Sciences, Health and Related Studies

Ms Dawn Gleeson, The University of Melbourne Ms Dawn Gleeson is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Genetics. As Director of First Year Studies in Biology she is creating a ‘Biology Community’, including a Biology Learning Centre, which provides a physical space and help facility for the students.

She is passionate about teaching genetics to her 1,500 first year Biology students. As a genetics education researcher Ms Gleeson has developed curriculum materials to improve genetics teaching and learning, including a number of interactive computer packages.

Ms Gleeson has a special interest in the transition of students from secondary to tertiary education. She has played a major role in the development of a transition programme in the Faculty of Science at the University, which has been used as a model for other Faculties.

Ms Gleeson is truly an inspiration to students, with an outstanding reputation based on her personal style of lecturing, her development of innovative tools and use of information technology, her dedication to raising public awareness of genetics, and her commitment to cutting edge teaching.

Dr Judith Murray, The University of Queensland Dr Judith Murray is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Population Health. She is regarded as an Australian pioneer in the teaching and research of a psychology of loss. She developed the unique, and now very popular, multidisciplinary Graduate Health Studies Programme in Loss and Grief.

Through her extensive workshop and lecture programme she has forged strong links into the tertiary, professional and general communities throughout urban and rural Queensland and other Australian states.

Dr Murray is a passionate teacher who inspires in her students an enthusiasm and motivation to learn. Her dedication, energy, approachability and intellectually stimulating teaching style, incorporating humour and creativity, are highly regarded by her students and her colleagues. Students praise her enormous ability to impart knowledge, share information and enrich their understanding in the difficult, sensitive field of loss and grief.

Dr Murray has demonstrated a strong capacity for leadership in teaching and curriculum development. She has achieved national and international recognition by government, the churches, and emergency services, amongst others, as a key resource in Australia for knowledge and skill development in the loss and grief area.

Economics, Business, Law and Related Studies

Associate Professor Sally Kift, Queensland University of Technology Associate Professor Kift is a lecturer within the Faculty of Law. She is one of Australia’s brightest and most effective legal academics working in legal education scholarship and curriculum development.

Associate Professor Kift rejects traditional approaches to legal education in an effort to reinvigorate the discipline. She strives to provide students with a more relevant and credible educational experience.

She has made significant contributions to the development of teaching and learning initiatives and cultural change at the University. These include the development of the first year curriculum, support for casual teaching staff, online teaching policy development, the improvement of first year student experience and the development of

graduate capabilities.

Associate Professor Kift is developing a national and international profile through her own excellent scholarship and legal research. She works extremely hard and aims to achieve practical, effective, life-changing outcomes for students.

Humanities and the Arts

Ms Felicia Zhang, University of Canberra Ms Zhang is a lecturer in the School of Languages and International Education. She is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and a near-native in English and Cantonese with 15 years of teaching and research experience in languages.

Ms Zhang is currently undertaking a PhD in Applied Linguistics, and conducting research into how Mandarin pronunciation might be taught more effectively by means of specially developed audio-visual materials, classroom activities and software.

Her belief in the usefulness of technology for language learning has led her to develop and promote useful technology tools to students and staff. Ms Zhang keeps up to date with current developments in the field and embraces new ideas. She also regularly presents papers on teaching and learning Chinese and using technology in language teaching.

Ms Zhang’s whole approach to education is one of ‘the teacher as the facilitator’, rather than as an ‘authority on a pedestal’. She encourages students to be independent, to think critically, and to research additional language resources, such as on the Internet.

She believes that her role as a language teacher is to be the initiator of a process of acceptance and tolerance towards other cultures so that her students might more fully reap the benefits of language learning.

Physical Sciences and Related Studies

Professor Ian Cameron, The University of Queensland Ian Cameron is currently a Professor in Chemical Engineering. He has made a significant contribution to chemical engineering through his involvement in innovative curriculum design and development as well as the learning environment. He has played a leadership role in the development and implementation of a chemical engineering curriculum which has excited national and international interest from engineering educators.

Professor Cameron is internationally known in the area of process systems engineering research, publishes his work widely and collaborates with European and American colleagues. He is the co-author of two books in the area of control and process modelling and is currently completing a book on process systems risk management.

Professor Cameron is widely respected by students and staff as an excellent and caring teacher. His selfless attitude to education and his discipline make him an outstanding role model of excellence in professional engineering practice.

Social Sciences

Professor Lesley Cooper, Flinders University of South Australia Professor Lesley Cooper teaches in the Social Work Program in the School of Social Administration and Social Work. She has engaged in considerable research on work-integrated learning in social work and social administration. She has gained an international reputation in this field and is invited to provide keynote addresses worldwide.

The strength of Professor Cooper’s approach is that she has woven together her interests in teaching, research and services to the Faculty, University and profession. Her

classroom teaching uses practical examples from human services and ‘hot learning’ to promote enquiry, stimulate critical thinking, and link practice with theory.

As a teacher, researcher, writer and life-long learner, Professor Cooper is passionate about stimulating student learning across all levels of university education.

Professor Laurence Brady, University of Technology, Sydney Professor Laurence Brady is a Professor of Education. For many years the focus of his teaching ‘about teaching’ has been all-encompassing, including the planning for teaching (programme and curriculum design), the broad repertoire of teaching models and strategies, and the assessment of student and teacher performance.

His work on teaching has been adapted for radio and television, and he has developed and compered teaching programmes for children on commercial television.

Professor Brady has written 15 books about the planning, organisation, management, direction and assessment of teaching which have been widely adopted nationally and internationally.

He constantly evaluates his own teaching practice, and works systematically to improve it, drawing upon information from students, schools, the system and research. Students acknowledge the relevance of his assessment tasks, the high quality of his professional guidance and support, and his compassion.

Professor Brady believes passionately that a purpose in life is to make a difference for the betterment of all, and that the ‘skilling’ and ‘humanising’ of teachers is his purpose.

Neville Bonner Award

Mr Bevan Cassady, Macquarie University, NSW Bevan Cassady is a lecturer in the Department of Indigenous Studies. He has made a significant contribution to the development and implementation of the Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Services) at the University.

A prime mover for the development of the degree, Mr Cassady perceptively identified the need for such a qualification, contributed to the development of appropriate curriculum and delivery models, was instrumental in developing successful teaching and learning strategies, promoted the programme to communities, and provided exemplary teaching, including mentorship and learning support.

A tireless advocate for the vital importance of early childhood education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Mr Cassady has used his networks to attract, retain and develop skilled early childhood educators. The comparatively low attrition rate, the progressive flow of graduates to postgraduate study and the programme’s continued vitality are largely the results of his talent, energy and dedication.

Mr Cassady is an unwavering supporter and mentor to his students, and a superb role model for male students as the impact on Indigenous youngsters of having well qualified male teachers in a caring early childhood educational environment is vitally important from an early age.

INSTITUTIONAL AWARDS

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of support services (on, and/or off campus) that assist the learning of students

Griffith University, QLD - ExcelL Intercultural Skills Program In order to enhance intercultural understanding, Griffith University developed the

innovative support programme ExcelL (Excellence in Cultural Experiential Learning and Leadership).

ExcelL is a theory-driven and evidence-based group programme designed to enhance international students’ confidence and skills in academic, social and career contexts. This then leads to decreasing any stress associated with cross-cultural encounters, encouraging social contact with students from other cultures.

ExcelL has demonstrable benefits for improving intercultural understanding between local Australian, international and immigrant students, thus maximising the potential benefits of the cultural diversity of Griffith University students.

Innovative and practical approach to team teaching in large, first year classes

The Australian National University, ACT - Resources, Environment and Society: an interdisciplinary team-taught first year course Resources, Environment and Society was born out of the desire to combine Arts Faculty and Science Faculty approaches to understanding the relationship between people and the environment. While meeting the needs of both Arts and Science students it has also attracted a wide range of students from across all of ANU’s faculties.

The course has a strong skills development focus that aims to give students the research and communication skills required to successfully complete later year courses. Particular attention has been given to critical thinking and writing skills.

The course is team-taught by staff from the Science and Arts Faculties, key researchers from the ANU Research Schools, staff from the Information Literacy Program and the Academic Skills and Learning Centre, experts from Australian and ACT Government departments, as well as key Canberra-based non-government organisations.

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of educational services to the local and/or regional community

The University of Tasmania - Building a Learning Neighbourhood: Mooreville Road Education Precinct The University of Tasmania has initiated a significant cultural change in north-west Tasmania, a region with among the lowest higher education participation rates in Australia. Through the innovative work of its North-West Centre in Burnie, the University has established a vibrant, creative and culturally rich Learning Neighbourhood.

The Mooreville Road Education Precinct is based around a ‘creative pathway’ which uses landscape design elements and art works to provide visual links on the actual roadway that connects the education institutions.

The communication between the educational partners has resulted in the effective delivery of relevant and meaningful education to a neighbourhood previously reluctant to embrace higher education.

The institutions have developed a ‘joined up’ pathway of learning, which sees a network of interactions between their students, their staff and their communities. The pathway is cemented through formal interactions, special projects and resource sharing, initiated by the University in building a Learning Neighbourhood.

Innovative and practical approach to the enhancement of the quality of teaching and learning in the applicant’s institution

Edith Cowan University, WA - Retention and Persistence Transition Support (RAPTS) The RAPTS program is a holistic, strategic initiative, developed specifically to support students in their first year of the University’s psychology course.

A small group of psychology lecturers and general staff met to share their concerns about the difficulties students were experiencing in the transition into university, and the high attrition rate. One way identified to provide support was mentoring, so the group designed their own programme, then trialled it with a group of 30 volunteer students. This was a success right from the beginning. The result was the Retention and Persistence Transition Support (RAPTS) programme, which now underpins the whole first year for psychology students.

A variety of components have been developed for the RAPTS programme: peer mentoring, learning communities, school liaison, orientation, tutor training and curriculum reforms.

The power and success of the programme comes from the whole-of-school approach, with academic staff, tutors, general staff, and the whole student body working together. The University is committed to sharing their learning with the wider community, through publication and dissemination of the results.

Innovative and practical approach to the provision of services to Indigenous students

The University of Western Australia - Succeeding in Mainstream: Graduating Indigenous Professionals The School of Indigenous Studies provides programmes to Indigenous students that are innovative, flexible, responsive to student needs as well as community aspirations and highly successful.

The School is distinguished from many of its counterparts by its commitment to ensuring Indigenous students have access to highly competitive mainstream degree courses in professional areas such as Law, Medicine, Engineering and Social Work; and by its extensive work with Indigenous secondary students not just in relation to UWA courses, but in promoting courses at other Western Australian universities to help students make informed career choices.

A series of pathways has been developed into mainstream degree studies that help Indigenous students tailor a programme to meet their own educational needs and aspirations by choosing or combining study options.

The School has also recognised the need for course specific support in particularly difficult and academically competitive areas by creating a full-time Law Tutor position, and working with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry to establish the Centre for Aboriginal Medical and Dental Health.

The School has empowered and enabled Indigenous students to fulfil their potential and to develop knowledge and skills that are valued by employers, professional associations, labour markets and society.