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Jill Lawrence

Jill LawrenceI am the Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Communication in the Faculty of Arts. I have always been interested in learning and teaching, understanding that learning is a lifelong experience for us all. For example, I completed a BA/Dip Ed at UNE and started teaching high school students in Dubbo and Sydney. When I returned to study I completed my PhD which investigated how students learn to succeed at university.

I have taught at USQ in a number of areas, in access and equity courses, tertiary preparation courses, core first year courses and postgraduate courses as well as in different faculties. In 2006, along with my colleague, Eleanor Kiernan, I won an Australian Citation for Teaching Excellence and, in 2007, I was the recipient of a Carrick (later Australian Learning and Teaching Council) Award for Australian University Teaching. I received the award in the Humanities and Arts Category, in relation to my contribution to students’ learning, with a specific focus on first year communication courses.

One of the best things about working at USQ is making learning connections with the diversity of students here. Their learning successes help you feel that effective learning and teaching can make a difference to their lives. Another of the best parts of my job are my colleagues, both within the faculty and across the university. Together we work hard to enhance students’ learning experiences. Another positive feature of working at USQ is the support here. Communities of Practice have been a particular source of support as they create a collegial environment for the purpose of sharing practice and learning from each other. I am also secretary of the USQ Women’s Network and, with Associate Professor Lorelle Burton, who is the President, we try to be inclusive of all three campuses and both professional and academic staff. Another source of support is the professional development on offer here: from the new Digital First Carpe Diem workshops to the USQ’s Aspire Program, a pilot program designed to assist with professional and personal development for women at USQ. Working at USQ has encouraged my growing passion for making higher education accessible and doable for students of all ages, cultures and economic levels. USQ is small enough to develop richly rewarding relationships with a plethora of colleagues and students as well as with the community that nourishes it.