The University of Newcastle, Australia

National awards salute teaching excellence

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Four remarkable University of Newcastle academic staff have received national acclaim for their significant contribution to the quality of student learning.

Clockwise: Dr Jesper Gulddal, Mr Sean Sadler, Dr Bonnie McBain and Ms Gail Tillman

The Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) have awarded Dr Jesper Gulddal, Dr Bonnie McBain, Mr Sean Sadler and Ms Gail Tillman a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, recognising quality teaching practice and outstanding contributions to student learning.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parfitt, said the awards acknowledged the high calibre of UON’s teaching staff and their reputation for innovative and engaged teaching.

“UON teaching staff are renowned by their willingness to change the status quo when needed, take on new challenges and provide inspirational leadership. Our teachers engage cooperatively to deliver solutions and the best outcomes possible for our students, partners and communities.”

This year’s recipients will be presented with their award at the NSW/ACT Citations Ceremony on Friday 16 September at the Museum of Contemporary Art, The Rocks, Sydney.

2016 AAUT Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning recipients:

Dr Jesper Gulddal, School of Humanities and Social Science, for developing an innovative thematic approach to teaching literary theory to undergraduate students that has consistently achieved excellent learning and outcomes.

“Over the past five years, Dr Gulddal has undertaken a significant exercise to develop and implement an innovative ‘thematic approach’ to teaching literary theory to undergraduates. The results will appear shortly the leading literary studies learning and teaching journal Pedagogy.”

Dr Bonnie McBain, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, for developing innovative curricula for students, providing resources and services to improve teaching, and providing national and international leadership in teaching for sustainability.

“In the challenging field of environmental complexity and sustainability Bonnie inspires, engages and empowers her students with high quality, creative teaching, rooted in a strong pedagogical evidence base. Her work informs teaching quality at her own institution. She also provides national and international leadership for curriculum design in teaching for sustainability.”

Mr Sean Sadler, School of Health Sciences, for the use of interactive, research-driven methods of teaching to inspire and motivate students to engage with the podiatry program and become lifelong learners.

“Sean Sadler is a sessional staff member whose diverse yet complementary roles as teacher, clinician, and researcher, have led him to become an outstanding educator that uses a range of teaching methods to stimulate students’ curiosity for learning. Sean’s teaching philosophy motivates and inspires students therefore maximising their engagement with course material and the podiatry profession. His empathetic approach to feedback and the hands-on style to learning ensures students become life-long learners and critical thinkers.”

Ms Gail Tillman, The Wollotuka Institute, for innovation in the provision of Aboriginal Studies within an online format to a diverse cohort, that empowers critical student reflection and cultural learning journeys.

“Ms Tillman is an innovative and self-motivated academic who has enthusiastically moved her courses into online delivery and willingly shares her experiences and knowledge with colleagues. She is passionate in her desire to foster students’ interest in course content and does this through the development, application and review of course design, student engagement and assessment.”


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