Five Griffith University academics have been recognised as among the best teachers in the nation.
In the Australian Awards for University Teaching, Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning have been awarded to:
- Dr Caryl Bosman and Dr Tim Stevens from the School of Environment,
- Griffith Business School’s Associate Professor Ruth McPhail,
- Associate Professor Halim Rane from the School of Humanities, and
- School of Medical Science’s Dr Andrew Pearson.
The citations recognise those who have made a significant contribution to the quality of student learning in a specific area of responsibility over a sustained period.
Griffith Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Ian O’Connor, said the awards are another welcome recognition of Griffith’s scholarly, innovative and student-centred teachers.
“These national citations recognise and reward the diverse contributions that our individuals and teams give to the quality of student learning,” Professor O’Connor said.
Dr Caryl Bosman (School of Environment) received her citation for leading the design, implementation and scholarly evaluation of studio pedagogy at scale in the planning discipline. As a senior lecturer in the Urban and Environmental Planning program, Dr Bosman, has been a driving force behind “studio teaching” or “student centred learning” at Griffith University.
“A studio is a large physical space that is hands on, interactive and allows students to work with real life urban and environmental planning issues,” Dr Bosman said.
“I don’t see myself as an academic who imparts knowledge; I see my role as a person who stimulates knowledge.”
Associate Professor Ruth McPhail (Griffith Business School) was acknowledged for her sustained commitment to facilitating the aspirations and success of first year business students. Associate Professor McPhail is passionate about assisting high school students in making good decisions around attending university and helping them make a successful transition once they get there.
She is Academic lead founder of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) strategy and a high school outreach program called GriffithBUSINESS which has seen 1072 students from more than 59 South East Queensland Schools graduate with an early understanding of university and knowledge of where they would like to take their careers after high school.
“They are our future and we only have a very short period of time to influence and really impress upon them the sorts of values they should strive to achieve in their entire careers. It’s a very privileged position to be in.”
Dr Andrew Pearson (School of Medical Science) was awarded for scaffolding the success of commencing health science students. Responsible for supporting the learning of 1000 new students each year in the Schools of Medical Science, Allied Health Sciences, Dentistry, Medicine and Pharmacy, Dr Pearson has developed a strong specialist interest in facilitating the early transition and success of all his students.
Dr Pearson has developed and implemented a suite of curricular and co-curricular strategies designed to improve readiness for learning by identifying and redressing potential barriers to success.
“These strategies have produced measurable positive outcomes for a significant number of first year students studying chemistry and physics in diverse health programs,” he said.
Associate Professor Halim Rane’s citation for scholarly and educational leadership relates to his work in promoting mutual understanding between Islam and the West.
Associate Professor Rane has developed a suite of Islamic studies courses addressing the interests and needs of non-Muslim students, as well as Western-born Muslims and which have a contemporary, secular focus on Islam-West Relations.
“My courses motivate and inspire students because they provide the necessary knowledge and skills to deal with complex Islamic and Muslim issues sensitively and professionally from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences.”
Dr Tim Stevens (School of Environment) was honoured for innovation and leadership in the Griffith marine biology major. Through the creation of a marine life identification app, a field course at Heron Island and a new innovative curriculum, Dr Stevens has increased student enrolments, improved student engagement and retention and facilitated graduate employability.
“One of my innovations in teaching within the marine biology major at Griffith has been the introduction of structured field work into the two bookend courses, Coastal Environments and Marine Biology,” he said.
“Through this, students are introduced to field work which helps bridge the gap between academic learning and future professional engagement and employment.”
Dr Stevens also won the 2014 Griffith University Teacher of the Year award.