National Awards recognise teaching excellence at UON

Monday, 28 September 2015

Two exceptional lecturers from the University of Newcastle have been honoured through the 2015 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Dr Peter Howley and Dr Tamara Young

Dr Peter Howley, a Senior Lecturer from the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Dr Tamara Young, a Tourism Lecturer from the Newcastle Business School each received Citation Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

Awarded through the federal government's Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT), the citations recognise exceptional teaching and practice.

Dr Young received a citation for the design and teaching of research informed and industry relevant curricula that fosters independent thinking among tourism students and creates work‐ready graduates.

By integrating tourism industry needs and practices into the curricula, Dr Young has created a rich learning environment that provides students with workplace relevant knowledge and skills.

"This recognition shines the spotlight on the exceptional teaching standards at UON, particularly in driving innovation. By connecting our students with business and industry, and ensuring educational activities reflect real-world scenarios, we send them into the workforce with great confidence knowing they have developed the skills to respond to the challenges ahead of them," said Dr Young.

Dr Howley received a citation for innovative learning design combining online tools, research and course content expertise, addressing perennial concerns in large statistics courses and enabling students to recognise connections.

Dr Howley successfully developed, published and implemented innovative student learning tools with exceptional results. In 2013 he applied his methods to reverse undesirable outcomes in a large, introductory statistics course. By doing so, failure rates were reduced from 25 – 40% down to 7%. At the same time, student feedback on the course went from a low of 2.7 to 4.71 out of 5.

"The transition from high school to University can be difficult and this is especially true of certain subjects. It is incredibly satisfying to be able to play a direct role in changing the learning outcomes for these students. I always aim to implement a holistic approach to course design and delivery which breaks down barriers and helps students make the connection," said Dr Howley.

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