Associate Professor Lawrence Gahan
Award for Teaching Excellence

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Associate Professor Lawrie Gahan has taught with distinction at The University of Queensland since 1984, lecturing at all levels in chemistry. He has a sustained record of mentorship of undergraduate research students and successful supervision of Honours and PhD students.
 
Lawrie’s teaching is grounded in a desire to motivate students and deepen their knowledge and interest in the fundamentals and concepts of chemistry while developing their skills in critical thinking, analysis and assessment. He seeks to do this in ways that build their understanding of the essential framework of the discipline as well as their appreciation of its application and relevance to issues of 21st century science. He motivates students to engage in independent learning that clarifies, consolidates and extends their thinking, providing them with an opportunity to foster their own scientific curiosity. He inspires students to live up to the high standards that he sets and he has impressive evidence of consistently superior teaching both from formal teaching evaluations and qualitative evidence. Lawrie’s commitment to student guidance and advice is exemplary.
 
The impact of Lawrie’s efforts as an innovative leader in course and curriculum development can be seen by the continuous improvement in his course ratings   He has been the major instigator of reforms in teaching in his discipline area and he has taken the lead in promoting good practice in teaching and learning within the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences. He has championed the creation of a laboratory-intensive second year course as part of the BSc curriculum review and has played a major role in maintaining assessment standards and implementing new assessment tools within the discipline of chemistry.
 
Lawrie is an internationally respected scientist and has pursued a stellar research career, drawing on this varied experience and breadth of knowledge to inform and enrich his teaching. His academic research interests include bioinorganic chemistry, particularly in relation to the modelling of the structural and functional roles of bimetallic metalloenzymes that play significant roles in diseases such as osteoporosis and in the detoxification of pesticides and nerve gases. His other interest is the toxicology of nanoparticles and the potential of nanoparticles to have a detrimental effect on health.
 
In 2008 Lawrie was the recipient of a University of Queensland Teaching and Learning Strategic Large Grant and is currently one of two project leaders on an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Grant 2009 – 2010 IS-IT learning? Online Interdisciplinary Scenario-Inquiry Tasks for active learning in large, first year STEM courses that involves the development of active learning experiences to address the diverse needs of large first year chemistry cohorts. 
 
He is greatly respected as a mentor of junior academic staff and under his guidance numerous new academics have learnt to become better educators, an outcome that is of great benefit for the School in particular, and to the University in general. Lawrie Gahan is an outstanding teacher and colleague who has been tireless in his efforts to improve the pedagogy of the courses he teaches and to provide the best possible educational experience for students.

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