Dr Helen Keates
Awards for Teaching Excellence Citation

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Dr Helen Keates has demonstrated teaching excellence over many years. After beginning her working life as a high school teacher, she soon broadened her horizons and indulged her love of science and animals by completing the veterinary science program. Helen consolidated her interests and experience when soon after graduation she became a clinical tutor at the University of Queensland in what was then the Faculty of Veterinary Science, with minor responsibilities within the anaesthesia course.
 
Over the ensuing two decades, Dr Keates’ enthusiastic and conscientious teaching of veterinary anaesthesia has laid the foundations for graduates to practice competently.    With the support of a team of clinical anaesthetists, she is now responsible for the content and delivery of the entire anaesthesia program to veterinary science students in their clinical years, striving to achieve ‘practice readiness’ in all of the 100+ students in each graduating class. 
 
Helen emphasises understanding as the basis for learning and clinical problem solving so that students are able to perform not just a series of discreet tasks, but also to have an integrative approach to anaesthesia and a rational basis for all they do. She encourages critical thinking and self directed learning believing these to be essential qualities for a professional career.
 
Helen takes a multifaceted approach to her work offering didactic teaching as well as small group or individual interaction in practical classes, tutorials and through hands-on clinical work. She keeps the course under constant review, drawing on the scholarship of the entire team, her own research and that of her RHD students to ensure currency and to add depth to her teaching.
 
Much of the emphasis of course development has been focussed on directing student learning appropriately through carefully designed assessment.   The introduction of an oral exam undertaken by each of the final year students has resulted in a vast improvement in knowledge and clinical acumen, outcomes that have been acknowledged by employers.
 
Helen demonstrates clear leadership in the School of Veterinary Science both as a year coordinator and through contributions to the Teaching and Learning Committee. She actively embraces her role as student mentor and coordinator in the BVSc program, providing a high level of pastoral care, academic guidance and professional development. Her success in this area is reflected in her election as patron of the the University’s Veterinary Students’ Association. 
 
Helen’s expertise extends beyond the undergraduate domain to participation in the National Overseas Recognition of Skills program, a program that mentors and evaluates overseas veterinarians seeking registration in Australia. Her participation in postgraduate and continuing education has also led to a high profile in the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists.
 
Dr Helen Keates is an inspiring and accomplished educator and contributor to her discipline who has turned around veterinary anaesthesia teaching at the University to the point where our graduates are recognised nationally for their outstanding clinical competence.

 

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