Two University of Western Australia lecturers and the University's UniSkills program have been recognised in the 2008 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
The UWA winners for individual Awards for Teaching Excellence are:
- Neville Bonner Award for Indigenous Education - Ms Violet Bacon (School of Social and Cultural Studies)
- Early Career - Dr Peter Whipp (School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health)
- In the Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning, the winner is: UniSkills (Dr Judy Skene, Ms Sarah Evamy, Ms Megan Henderson and Mr Jon Stubbs, Student Services) in the category The First Year Experience
Social Work and Social Policy lecturer Violet Bacon is Australia's first indigenous social worker appointed as a lecturer within any university in Australia. She has drawn many accolades from students for her dedication, innovation and care. One popular innovation is what Violet calls Narrative Therapy which involves telling stories.
"The telling of stories is to inform, educate and learn and draws on rich traditional Aboriginal oral ways," she said "It is the students' ability and willingness to listen and ask questions that are crucial because there is always another story interwoven with the answers we receive."
Dr Peter Whipp, a lecturer in the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health, is in his sixth year of co-ordinating and teaching in the Health and Physical Education (HPE) domain of the UWA Graduate Diploma in Education. His students have benefited from a variety of learning strategies designed to meet a wide range of needs and demonstrate effectively what they have learned.
Manager of Student Support Services and Equity and Diversity Adviser, Dr Judy Skene, said the UniSkills program had grown from an enrolment of 30 students in 1987 to 470 this year and had proved very successful in supporting students in their first year at UWA. Students new to the university could sign up for a range of activities like social events and peer assisted study groups which made it easier for students to work together with help from accomplished senior students.
Twenty-two of Australia's most outstanding university teachers will receive awards this year while a further 10 Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning will be presented at a ceremony at Parliament House Canberra on 25 November.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, congratulated the winners and recognised the outstanding contributions of all staff nominated for the 2008 Awards.
"The list of nominees and their achievements is a tribute to the excellent standard of teaching at The University of Western Australia," he said.
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716