Dr Liam Phelan
Place of work?
GradSchool. My job is supporting folks to do great teaching right across all of UoN's 60 or so online postgraduate coursework programs. We in GradSchool support colleagues in Schools and Faculties in several important ways: by marketing all UoN's great online postgrad programs, by providing smooth student admissions, by providing ongoing support to online students, by delivering timely logistics support to get learning materials out to students, and by working together closely with teaching academics who want to teach well online.
What do you like about your work?
I really love working with the GradSchool team - they're a great crew. At GradSchool, we're in a unique place with an interesting view. Being in the Academic Division means we have a view across all of UoN. Our long-standing focus on online programs means we're tuned into broader external education contexts too. I also really love having the chance to work with colleagues - professional and academic staff - right across UoN. We've a whole lot of incredibly committed, extremely talented and truly inspiring folks working here. I like that we get to dream up and try out great ideas. Right now, for example, colleagues in four Faculties are trialling ways to teach and assess oral communications skills online - great fun, and it's incredibly important that we become able do this well.
What is your background?
I started teaching at UoN in 2004, sessionally, in Geography & Environmental Studies. I was quite sure teaching online wouldn't work. Over time though, I've developed a genuine interest in the constraints and possibilities of teaching and learning online. I knocked out a PhD a few years back on climate change and insurance - my academic background is in the environment area. I'm very interested in transdisciplinary teaching, learning and research. For me it's the complex problems - like climate change - that are most interesting, and the idea that any one discipline has a mortgage on how to solve them is obviously nonsense. Working together, respectfully, is how we'll solve the big ones ;-).
What do you think others don't understand about your work?
My sense is GradSchool - who we are, and what we're great at - is not well understood across all of UoN. That's OK I guess - not everybody needs to know everything about everyone else(!). But all the same, it's when we're working collegially that we're most effective, and better understanding of each other will surely open up more opportunities for doing just that.
One thing you like about UoN?
I'm extremely proud of our commitment to equity programs - all of them.
Any last words?
We've a Community of Interest in Online Teaching, Learning and Research here at UoN. We've been a bit quiet in the first half of this year, but we've a bumper program planned through to Christmas, so stay tuned. If you interested to know more, please be in touch: Liam.Phelan@newcastle.edu.au, or x16464.