Students don’t have to wait until they’ve graduated from high school to meet passionate business academic Ruth McPhail.

TheGriffith Business SchoolAssociate Professor is the driving force behind pre-university aspiration raising and preparation, as the Chair or the Orientation and Curriculum Working Group, Academic lead founder of the Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) strategy and a high school outreach program calledGriffithBUSINESS.

The GriffithBUSINESS program has seen 1072 students from more than 59 South East Queensland Schools graduate with an early understanding of university and a knowledge of where they would like to take their career after high school.

Associate Professor McPhail said the GriffithBUSINESS program also assisted high school students in making good decisions around attending university, what degree to choose and ensuring their aspirations match up with the outcome.

She said the program targeted potential students who would be the first in their family to study at university. It also has been instrumental in assisting students to choose a university career path they might not have considered before.

Associate Professor McPhail’s drive as a teacher and leader of learning and teaching of first-year business students saw her awarded a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning as part of the Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Having begun her teaching career as a high school teacher, Associate Professor McPhail has taught first year business students since she began with Griffith in 2002.

She believes this is the best time to shape and influence our future business leaders.

“I guess I just love the naivety and enthusiasm that a first year student brings and I love the fact that tertiary education provides an even playing field,” she said.

“It’s an opportunity for students to reinvent themselves — you really can become who you choose to become at university.

“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.”

See who else received a Citation here.