Dr Nickolas James
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Organisational Unit:
School of Law


Dr Nickolas James is an outstanding teacher in both large and smaller groups.  He is passionate about teaching - an aspect of his work he most enjoys.  His objectives are to facilitate and motivate learning, to show respect for students and to practice the art of continuous improvement.  His strengths lie in his ability to connect effectively with students and hold their attention, using a range of methods to communicate with them.  To achieve these outcomes he invests a great deal of effort in the preparation of his classes and materials.  These qualities mean that he is particularly effective as a teacher of law to non-law students, helping them to appreciate its relevance in their own contexts.

Nick seeks to encourage a critical approach to the study of law in his students.  He firmly believes that it is important that undergraduate law students do not simply accept what they are taught about the law in class and what they are told about law by legal authorities.  He seeks to develop and foster a critical spirit which students apply in their lives beyond university and which will motivate them to participate in changing the world for the better. Nick has adopted a number of innovative teaching methods.  For example, in order to encourage students to keep abreast of lecture material and avoid cramming, he has introduced a series of on-line quizzes for mid-semester exams, resulting in considerably improved student learning outcomes.

Nick takes a scholarly approach to his teaching, attending legal conferences, courses and seminars to enhance his knowledge and understanding of his discipline and of teaching.  He is a member of the Queensland Law Society and the Australian Law Teachers Association, and has presented papers to these and other professional associations over a number of years.  He has recently completed a doctoral thesis entitled Power-Knowledge and Critique in Australian Legal Education 1987-2003, and has written several papers about legal education.  His research into Australian legal education and the nature and importance of critique has significantly influenced his own teaching and, through his publications, the teaching of others

Nick has made a significant contribution to the activities of the School, including engaging with colleagues on flexible delivery and the use of technology in teaching. As the senior law school representative on the Ipswich campus, Nick has assumed responsibility for the hiring, training and supervision of tutors and for liaison with faculty staff on various administrative matters.  He has assisted colleagues within and beyond the school with course materials and by assuming increased teaching loads.  He is highly regarded by his colleagues for the sustained quality of his teaching and his commitment to student learning.


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