Dr Lydia Kavanagh
Dr Lydia Kavanagh

School of Engineering
Faculty of Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture

Dr Lydia Kavanagh - Award for excellence in teaching [3.2MB MOV]

Dr Lydia Kavanagh is an innovative, enthusiastic and dedicated teacher and mentor who brings to her discipline a wealth of professional engineering experience and a widely informed view. She encourages her students to expand their knowledge, adapt to challenges, take risks and enjoy learning – principles which she embraces in her own teaching.

Central to her teaching philosophy is Lydia’s belief that students need to be in charge of their own learning. She seeks to broaden their view of their chosen profession, recognising the need for engineers of the future to be facilitators and change agents as well as experts in their chosen fields. To fulfil these objectives, she actively engages, empowers and supports students in creative ways.

Lydia is an excellent communicator, sharing her professional and personal experiences to support the relevance of the work students are undertaking. She introduces, in context, material which challenges them to grapple with the ambiguities and uncertainties inherent in real-world practice, emphasising the relevance of ‘soft skills’ in complementing technological expertise.

Lydia has been instrumental in the design and implementation of a number of curriculum and resource developments of significance. The stream of courses in the newly emerging area of product design deals not only with technical aspects of product development but also examines issues such as business development marketing and entrepreneurship. The project involving chemical, mechanical engineering and journalism students has introduced multidisciplinary work into engineering courses and has been nationally recognised as best practice. Lydia was invited to give a full paper presentation at the World Congress of Chemical Engineering in Glasgow in 2005 and has also published on this work.

The PETS (Proactively Ensuring Team Success) process which Lydia developed to more effectively support and manage student teams, operates within project centred courses. The process includes purposeful team allocation, in-semester mentoring and peer assessment as formative feedback. Elements of the process are now used by a number of different cohorts across the University and have attracted positive feedback from students and academics. Lydia has presented several successful workshops and leads a significant national Australian Learning and Teaching Council project on the process. She has formed a cross-campus, cross-institution steering group which has strengthened the development and affords the opportunity for further joint international projects and benchmarking. Lydia’s approaches to teamwork and team-based assessment have been widely acclaimed.

Lydia co-founded the Special Interest Group on Engineering Education (SIGEE) which facilitates communication across and within disciplines in engineering education and is greatly valued by the School and the wider engineering education community. She participates in various other panels within the School of Engineering, such as the First Year Engineering Teaching Team (FYETT).

Dr Lydia Kavanagh is an outstanding role model whose professionalism, inclusiveness and empathy are greatly appreciated by all.

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