Ensuring inclusivity of every student
As an inaugural recipient of a DVC(A) Merit List Award for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Senior Lecturer in the Newcastle Business School, James Hunt, shares how he embeds our values of equity and excellence through his teaching, ensuring inclusivity of every student.
I strive to leave no student behind. A great teacher has passion, drive to improve, a mindset that seeks to always become better at facilitating the learning experience for others, and a genuine desire to see all students succeed, regardless of their ability level. I make sure that every lecture and every class in the courses I teach are engaging, relevant, and interesting. All three things are important. I try to pull out all stops to enable every individual to successfully complete their course – whilst maintain high standards!
People learn in different ways, through a variety of experiences. Instructors and learning facilitators need to adapt and be able to generate easy to use and engaging digital content. Students want easy-to-consume knowledge parcels. We as learning facilitators need to think creatively to produce the range of resources that will enable the widest spectrum of participation and deep engagement in our courses.
Embracing diversity is part of our University’s culture. Our University is unique in that it opens its doors to larger numbers across a wider array of socio-economic groups than most other universities around Australia. Embracing diversity is part of our culture and this permeates through to the values-driven teaching experiences we provide, where a sense of humanity, inclusion and social responsibility informs our classroom conversations and our learning climates.
The biggest challenge we face is trying to do and be too much as academics. We have scarce resources and it is wise therefore to deploy these strategically. Asking every academic to produce world-class research and to deliver outstanding teaching experiences at the same time is unrealistic. Our biggest challenge is to feel comfortable in letting our staff develop their strengths so that they can innovate. To do this we need perhaps to let go of the artificial performance targets of past eras and to trust our people to do and be their best.
James joined our University in 1990 as a lecturer in management in the then Department of Management – which has since morphed into the School of Business. In 1992 he was fortunate enough to be nominated for and recipient of the University’s inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. James teaches several courses on our MBA Program; Organisational Behaviour and also Leadership in Contemporary Organisations.