Monday, 12 November 2018

About the FABLE Teaching Fellowship Scheme

The FABLE Teaching Fellowship Scheme provides PhD students with the opportunity to undergo teaching and learning professional development while employed on a casual teaching contract. Its aims are to:

  • develop the teaching and learning skills of PhD students, particularly students who intend to pursue an academic career or look at teaching as a way for developing people skills for a career outside academia;
  • enhance the teaching quality provided by PhD students (and eventual PhD graduates) employed on teaching contracts across the Faculty; and
  • assist with the recruitment of PhD students by providing an attractive professional development and opportunity.

About the authors

Stuart Molloy is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in English and Literary Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education.

Ali Mollinger-Sahba is a PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow at the Business School.

Having both studied Bachelor of Arts degrees in English and returned to postgraduate study as mature-age students, Stuart and Ali research and teach in the Schools of Humanities and Business respectively – Ali in Marketing and Stuart in English and Literary Studies. Ali’s research looks at how social innovation has shaped the Australian social impact investment market, while Stuart’s explores the characterisation of three iconic psychopaths of late twentieth-century fiction – Alex of A Clockwork Orange ; American Psycho ’s Patrick Bateman; and Hannibal Lecter as remediated in NBC’s Hannibal – focusing particularly on the challenge these extremely violent protagonists pose to culturally accepted understandings of motive.

Over the last year, Ali has taught the popular third-year unit ‘International Marketing’, and ‘Changing the World: Social Innovation, Finance and Enterprise’, a broadening unit developed by the Centre for Social Impact. Stuart has taught two upper-level units new to 2018: ‘Netflicks: Cinema and Long-form Television’ and ‘Writing the Environment’.

In both their teaching and research, they share a commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to solving real-world problems, and a common belief that fiction plays an important part in people’s lives as a tool for navigating reality.

Joining the Fellowship

We each came to our Fellowship journey at different points in our PhDs, Ali in her second year and Stuart in his fourth and final year.  An academic career beckoned, and teaching experience was the missing piece of our preparatory puzzle. The Teaching Fellowship offered an invaluable opportunity to gain experience and insight into teaching excellence in a university setting. Ali is committed to pursuing an academic career, while Stuart is keen to find a role working with students in either academia or a broader support capacity, for example as a learning skills officer, enhancing student learning competencies, or as a learning designer, supporting academics through the development and delivery of engaging and effective content.

How the Fellowship works

There are two dimensions to the Fellowship, one practical and one theoretical. The practical dimension is the teaching itself. For both of us this has consisted mostly of tutoring, but has also included some lecturing as well as assisting unit coordinators with curriculum development. The theoretical dimension comprises a program of professional development workshops. These workshops have introduced us to pedagogical theory and offered us some valuable insight into the conversation around best practice for teaching in the university sector. Very usefully for both of us, given our aspirations, the culmination of the program was the development and submission of a teaching portfolio.

Along the way we’ve been fortunate to engage with a community of peers and to receive the support – gratefully accepted – of our respective Education Supervisors and Unit Coordinators, not to mention other staff across FABLE who have supported our development and our ambitions. The extra money was nice too! Neither of us was particularly keen on upholding the tradition of the impoverished scholar, however proud it may be.

The Fellowship and teaching excellence

Teaching excellence for both of us is about a connection between the individual and society.

For Ali, teaching excellence is about empowering students with the intellectual and emotional resilience they need to flourish in a complex and unpredictable world. Resilience comes from a joy in learning and the sense of wonder that comes with knowledge and skills mastery.

For Stuart, teaching excellence is about cultivating the individual for engagement with the overlapping spheres of the economy and broader social relationships and structures. Inspired by John Dewey, Stuart believes that spaces of education are loci where individualism and socialism can be reconciled, and that teaching excellence within the university sector should contribute to that reconciliation.  Ultimately, the Teaching Fellowship set us on a journey of mastering both practical and theoretical ways to translate our fascination with the individual-social dynamic into educational experiences that enrich student learning and contribute to personal and societal progress.


Education Quarterly