Griffith University has taken out the 2015 Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year.
Islamic Studies teacher, Associate Professor Halim Rane, shared the honour with Associate Professor Kevin Tant from Monash University when the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham, made the announcement on Tuesday night.
It is the second year in succession the distinguished Office for Learning and Teaching prize has been awarded to a Griffith University teacher, following the success of Associate Professor Brydie-Leigh Bartleet in 2014.
Griffith lecturers also claimed two AAUT Teaching Excellence Awards last night, with Dr Caryl Bosman from the School of Environment and Dr Peter Denney from the School of Humanities named.
Griffith University is the first to have three recipients of the prestigious prize since it was first presented in 1997. Professor Keithia Wilson was previously named the 2007 recipient.
Speaking from Turkey, Associate Professor Rane paid tribute to the role of students in his success.
“My focus has always been on my students and the skills and knowledge they need to be competent in the field of Islam-West relations and beyond.
“It is my students who I thank first and foremost for this award. They are my key source of inspiration and motivation. Student learning outcomes have driven me to innovate in respect to my teaching.”
“It is an incredible honour to receive this award, though it was completely unexpected,” he said.
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“It is also reassuring to have this acknowledged at such a level of higher education in Australia with such a prestigious award.
“I cannot imagine this achievement without the ongoing support of my colleagues and the leadership at Griffith University who recognise the importance of the field in which I teach and value my contributions to it.”
Halim Rane has developed a suite of Islamic Studies with a contemporary, secular focus on Islam-West relations since joining Griffith in 2008, when no Islamic Studies courses were on offer.
The courses address the interests and needs of non-Muslim students, as well as Western-born Muslims. Graduating students have an understanding of, and the capacity to engage with, Muslim communities and the Muslim world.
A central plank of the course is the annual Muslim World Study Tour to Malaysia, Turkey, Spain and Morocco which offers students a first-hand opportunity to engage with a diversity of people, cultures and societies with deep roots in Islamic civilisation.
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Griffith University Vice Chancellor, Professor Ian O’Connor, congratulated Associate Professor Rane on a remarkable achievement. “This award recognises not only the quality teaching at Griffith University but also its important influence in preparing students for life after university,” Professor O’Connor said.
“The innovative and insightful approach to teaching demonstrated by Associate Professor Rane has been outstanding, and this reward is a fitting tribute.
“To be acknowledged in this way for a second year in succession by the Office of Learning and Teaching is a landmark moment for Griffith University and confirms us as one of the country’s best teaching universities.”
Griffith University consistently ranks close to or at the top of Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) citations, awards and fellowship schemes. Since 2010, Griffith is the leading university in the country for OLT Citations and OLT Fellowships, and sits at number four in the OLT Awards listings.
This outstanding success was maintained with Dr Caryl Bosman and Dr Peter Denney acknowledged.
Dr Bosman received an AAUT Teaching Excellence Award for the Priority Area for 2015 – High impact intervention for progression, retention and attainment.
Dr Bosman has driven significant improvements in her students’ academic engagement, performance and retention by designing, implementing and evaluating an effective “quality at scale” Studio Pedagogy in the Planning discipline. Dr Bosman also received an OLT Citation this year.
Dr Peter Denney received an AAUT Teaching Excellence Award in the Early Career category. Dr Denney is an innovative and engaging early career academic in the discipline of History who has taught courses across first-year, undergraduate, honours and postgraduate levels.
His teaching is motivated by the belief that knowledge of the historical context of current issues enables transformative learning and students to see those issues in entirely new ways.