30 October 2012

It is only fitting that a University of Queensland lecturer who developed a course ranked in the world's top 10 university courses in conflict resolution be recognised for his teaching excellence.

Dr Sebastian Kaempf from the School of Political Science and International Studies was acknowledged for his engaging and inspirational teaching methods at both at the UQ and Social and Behavioural Sciences Faculty Teaching and Learning Awards.

A lecturer in Peace and Conflict Studies since 2009, Dr Kaempf has produced innovative curricula and resources – including the online course International Peacekeeping (Pols2510), which is taught as part of both the school's contribution to flexible learning and the U21 Global Issues Program.

“It's a specialised course focusing on one of the most dominant tools through which the international community is trying to resolve conflicts and reconstruct war-torn societies,” Dr Kaempf said.

This revolutionary, external course brings together students from both UQ and around the world in a virtual learning community and is taught completely online through blackboard, video/audio lectures, blogs, and virtual office hours," he said.

“Besides providing cutting-edge content and employing the latest interactive technology, the guiding principle has been to make this course very personal and to instill a strong sense of a learning community among the students.”

Dr Kaempf believes students value this external format of the course as it provides them with a more flexible opportunity to learn.

“I once had an actual peacekeeper who was based in Cyprus take the course, and sometimes it's taken by students who are travelling through the Middle East whilst learning online,” he said.

Head of School, Professor Gillian Whitehouse, believes Dr Kaempf’s interactive approach to teaching is what connects with the students and motivates them to achieve.

“His use of participatory techniques and a range of multimedia devices excite students, and his obvious enthusiasm for the subject matter encourages them to work hard and engage with the learning experience,” Professor Whitehouse said.

This isn’t the first time the quality of Dr Kaempf’s teaching has been recognised, as he also received an SBS Commendation for Early Career Teaching Excellence in 2011, and placed among UQ's top 10 lecturers in the nationwide UniJobs ‘Lecturer of the Year' Competitions in both 2009 and 2011.

To experience Dr Kaempf’s teaching excellence in action, watch his video here