23 November 2001

The University of Queensland announced the 2001 winners of its teaching excellence and research supervision awards at a ceremony at Customs House in Brisbane last night.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Margaret Gardner said the eight winners were presented with awards valued at $10,000 each.

“The awards were designed to recognise, encourage and reward sustained excellence in teaching and supervision of research higher degree candidates,” Professor Gardner said.

Funded by the University and the Alumni Association, the Awards for Excellence in Teaching were established in 1988.

Dean of Postgraduate Students, Professor Alan Lawson, said UQ created an Australian first last year when it introduced official university awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision.

“These awards are an initiative of the Graduate School and UQ Union and signal the University’s commitment to quality supervision for its higher degree students,” Professor Lawson said.

The winners of the Awards for Excellence in Teaching were:

* Dr Peter Adams – lecturer in the School of Physical Sciences. Dr Adams’ ability to make mathematics accessible and enjoyable to a wide range of students is one of the reasons behind his success. His research interests include combinatorics, high-performance computing and bioinformatics. In 2000 he was awarded a UQ Research Excellence Award for finding a way of generating enormous computing power through a network of PCs.
* Dr Jose "Jimmy" Botella – senior lecturer in the School of Life Sciences. After studying chemistry, Dr Botella discovered a keen interest in biology and he portrays this enthusiasm in his lectures. Genetic engineering and molecular biology are his main research interests. His current projects include genetic engineering of tropical and sub-tropical fruits and signal transduction in plants.
* Ms Sandra Haswell – lecturer in the School of Journalism and Communication. A UQ Bachelor of Arts graduate, Ms Haswell worked as a journalist for more than 25 years and it is this experience that has allowed her to successfully pursue a career as a broadcast journalism lecturer. Her research interests are media and politics, in particular the voting behaviour of Australians. She is currently completing her PhD on the voting gender gap in Australia.
* Dr Ottmar Lipp – senior lecturer in the School of Psychology. Dr Lipp joined the University as a postdoctoral fellow in 1991 and remained with the University to take up the opportunity to teach in his area of research expertise. His emphasis on student interaction is driven by his desire to make challenging courses interesting and relevant. His major areas of interest are the psychology of emotion and attention, associative learning and psychophysiology.
* Dr Judith Murray – senior lecturer in the School of Population Health. Dr Murray established UQ’s Loss and Grief Unit in 1996 and has been instrumental in establishing multidisciplinary postgraduate education in loss and grief and a new pastoral care field of study. A 2000 teaching excellence award finalist, she has brought innovative ideas to distance course packages to reduce students’ isolation and encourage self-awareness of their work. She enjoys developing intervention strategies for families in crisis and exploring loss in people’s lives and its effect on resilience to adversity.

The winners of the Awards for Excellence in Research Higher Degree Supervision were:

* Associate Professor Stephen AdkinsSchool of Land and Food Sciences. Since his arrival at UQ 12 years ago, the Executive Director of UQ’s Tropical and Sub-Tropical Weeds Research Unit has been the principal supervisor for 29 PhDs and research masters programs, with a further 10 PhDs still in completion. As a plant physiologist, he is interested in weeds, seeds and plant tissue culture, predominantly in Australian agricultural and rangeland environments. Dr Adkins was a 2000 research supervision award finalist.
* Associate Professor Carolyn Baker - School of Education. Dr Baker has been actively involved in building and maintaining a school-wide program of support for research students. She specialises in analysing qualitative data and convenes a large research group of students interested in language and social interaction. Her research interests include language, literacy and communication in schools and workplaces. Currently she is studying literacy and pedagogy in early schooling, calls to a software technical support service and narrative practices in research interviews.
* Professor Ross Smith - School of Molecular and Microbial Sciences. The head of UQ’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has been instrumental in organising a program to help postgraduates with the administrative side of their research. From writing workshops to assistance with confirmation processes, the program is designed to ensure the best possible results for the students and the school. Professor Smith’s primary interest is in protein structure and function, however he is also pursuing current projects in molecular genetics and cell biology.

Commendations in teaching excellence went to Dr Simon Cool, School of Biomedical Sciences; Dr Peter Green, School of Commerce; Associate Professor Jay Hall, School of Social Science; Dr Peter Holbrook, School of English, Media Studies and Art History; and Associate Professor Dorothy Watts, School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics.

Certificates for meritorious supervision performance were also awarded to Associate Professor Maree Smith, School of Pharmacy; Professor Deborah Terry, School of Psychology; and Professor Helen Tiffin, School of English, Media Studies and Art History.

Next year the University plans to implement up to two $20,000 teaching awards for teams, programs and organisational units. Instituted by the University Academic Board, the Awards for Enhancement of Student Learning, will recognise and promote excellence in the learning environment and the provision of student services.

To download the winner's citations, visit: www.uq.edu.au/media/download/awards/citations.doc

Media: For further information, contact Joanne van Zeeland at UQ Communications (telephone 07 3365 2619 or email communications@uq.edu.au).