13 October 2009

The University of Queensland has maintained its position for having Australia’s best teachers, adding three more national teaching awards to its portfolio.

UQ has received one Award for Programs that Enhance Learning and two Awards for Teaching Excellence from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

UQ came joint second overall in numbers of awards out of the winning 12 teams and 24 individuals from 18 universities in this latest round.

The result brings the University's national teaching awards and citations to 62, and maintains its record of winning more national awards for teaching than any other Australian university since the national awards system began in 1997.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Deborah Terry congratulated the winners, whose accolades illustrated the high standard of teaching excellence at UQ.

“These awards highlight the relevancy of UQ teaching to a modern world where our students will eventually need to forge careers and make their contributions,” Professor Terry said.

“For example, the Internship Program, led by Dr Andrew Hindmoor and Claire Pomery, offers students a taste of working life before they complete their degrees as well as valuable experience they can use to secure highly sought-after jobs on the international stage.

“Similarly, Dr Galea’s work enables students to develop the professional skills they will need to answer a major skills shortage in the agricultural sector.

“Professor Memmott’s work is not only helping to clear up historical records but is educating students to understand Indigenous built environments and housing needs.”

The 2009 winners are recipients of previous UQ-wide teaching excellence awards. The prizes to UQ total $75,000 ($25,000 each).

The 2009 winners are:

• 2009 Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning

– The Internship Program (Educational Partnerships and Collaborations with Other Organisations category)

Project team:
Professor Stephen Bell,
Dr Richard Devetak,
Dr Marianne Hanson,
Dr Andrew Hindmoor
Claire Pomery,
Professor Emeritus Roger Scott,
Dr Rae Wear

The School of Political Science and International Studies Internship Program is an innovative and highly effective learning and teaching activity in the School’s four undergraduate majors in the Bachelor of Arts. It is also available at the postgraduate level as an Applied Fieldwork Experience (International Studies) and Internship (Governance and Public Policy) in Masters degrees in International Studies, Public Policy and Development Practice (International Development Stream). The program was developed in partnership with a range of state, national and international organisations, parliamentarians and civil society groups.

• 2009 Awards for Teaching Excellence

– Dr Victor Galea (Biological Sciences, Health and Related Studies category)

A senior lecturer in Plant Pathology with the School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences based at UQ’s Gatton campus, Dr Galea has developed a highly interactive CD learning resource called “The Virtual Plant Pathology Lab” to help students understand and apply clinical processes to the diagnosis and management of plant diseases. Dr Galea combines class and fieldwork with this technology to better prepare his students so that they not only enjoy their studies but develop appropriate professional skills.

– Professor Paul Memmott (Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education)

Director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre within UQ’s School of Architecture, Professor Paul Memmott has inspired an independent field of study into Aboriginal built environments against a wider social reform context. In 1998, he initiated Australia's first curriculum on Aboriginal people-environments in an architecture course. The centre he heads is a national and international point of reference for resources on Indigenous housing, architecture and a related set of socio-cultural problems. Where possible, his teaching is also informed by field experience – a recent initiative has been the establishment of the Arid Zone research station at Camooweal in western Queensland. His recent book, Gunyah, Goondie + Wurley, published by University of Queensland Press (UQP), turns on its head a widely held belief that Indigenous people were devoid of houses or towns when Europeans first reached Australian shores.

Executive Director of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Professor Richard Johnstone said the awards celebrated the exceptional effort made by university teachers and general staff to improve the student experience of Australian higher education.

“The Awards provide recognition and support to a range of teachers acknowledged by their colleagues as making an outstanding difference to the learning experiences of their students,” Professor Johnstone said.

Media: Shirley Glaister at UQ Communications (07 3365 1931)