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Dedicated teachers were awarded and celebrated at the annual UWA Awards for Excellence in Teaching recently.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Johnson, said at the special occasion in the University Club Banquet Hall that it was great to recognise an outstanding group of teachers in the University's Centenary year.
"We recognise the fundamental importance of undergraduate teaching - an undertaking that is at the heart of the role of any university," he said.
Professor Johnson added that with new technologies such as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and e-learning, teaching as a practice was perhaps more in flux now than at any time in human history.
"You - this evening's winners - are at the vanguard of change in teaching and you are adaptable and keen to rise to the new challenges you face. You are to be congratulated," he said.
One of the awardees was PhD candidate Emma Nicoletti from the discipline of English and Cultural Studies. Emma's high commendation was for Excellence in Teaching - Early Career.
Emma perhaps summed up what many of the other top teachers on campus believe when she said: "I find tutoring both stimulating and rewarding because of the engaging, challenging and sometimes surprising discussions that occur. Discussions often follow unexpected trajectories and students often asking probing and insightful questions that contribute to my understanding of the world. Such moments are not unusual in tutorials and are one of the delights of engaging with enthusiastic and intelligent students."
Professor Nigel Laing won a Teaching Excellence Award in the category Outstanding contribution to student learning, for what his students describe as his quirky manner.
The Winthrop Research Professor, who heads WAIMR's team researching genetic muscular disorders, was recognised by the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
Professor Laing has been teaching for almost 35 years, starting in Edinburgh, Scotland but pursuing most of his life's work in Perth.
He said he appreciated being recognised as a teacher. "I like seeing light bulbs going off in people's heads," Professor Laing said.
"I tend to teach small groups rather than lecture so I'm able to ask students questions and get them to think. They respond well to that."
A former student who nominated Professor Laing for the award said that the laboratory head had a "quirky and unusual teaching method which makes you to want to get your answers right even if you're not enthusiastic about the subject matter."
A postdoctoral researcher in Professor Laing's laboratory, Gina Ravenscroft, agreed that Professor Laing's teaching technique was very effective.
"He tells students to put themselves in the situation of families with a genetic pre-disposition to crippling muscular diseases. He asks them what their work will mean to these couples who want to have children not knowing whether they¹ll survive. It really makes you think about what you're learning to do," she said.
The 2013 awardees are:
From the Faculties of Education; Law; and Architecture, Landscape and Visual Arts:
Professors Marnie O'Neill and Richard Read for Excellence in Teaching -Research Supervision; Assistant Professor Rebecca Faugno for Excellence in Teaching - Early Career; Associate Professor Christine Howitt for Excellence in Teaching; and Assistant Professor Kate Offer for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
From the Faculty of Arts:
Assistant Professor Jonathan McIntosh for Excellence in Teaching - Individual; Ms Loretta Dolan for Excellence in Teaching - Early Career; Ms Myles Riley for Excellence in Teaching - Tutors and Sessional Staff; Professor Lyn Parker for Excellence in Teaching - Research Supervision; Ms Ines Bortolini and Assistant Professor Tauel Harper for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning; and Emma Nicoletti for Excellence in Teaching - Early Career.
From the Business School:
Assistant Professor Leo Langa for Excellence in Teaching - Postgraduate Coursework; Assistant Professor Tim Day for Excellence in Teaching - Undergraduate Coursework - Small Class; Associate Professor Andrew David Williams for Excellence in Teaching - Undergraduate Coursework - Large Class; Ms Dee Roche for Excellence in Teaching - Adjunct Lecturer; Assistant Professor Aleksandra Luksyte for Excellence in Teaching - Early Career; Ms Natalie Drew and Ms Amanda Tedjamulja for Excellence in Teaching - Tutor; and Ms Marjory Harvey and Mr Michael Sutherland for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.
From the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics:
Professor Karol Miller for Excellence in Teaching -Research Supervision; and Associate Professor Farid Boussaid for Teaching Excellence.
From the Faculty of Science:
Professor Bob Grove for Excellence in Coursework Teaching; Assistant Professor James Fogarty for Excellence in Coursework Teaching - First Tear Class; Mr Shane Rogers for Excellence in Coursework Teaching - Early Career; and Ms Jenna Blumberg for Best Student Teacher.
From the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences:
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