USQ academics have ranked among Australia’s brightest minds in education after receiving prestigious accolades from the national Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT).
Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning have been awarded to Dr Barrie Todhunter and Dr Jon Whitty for their work in building a learning community model at USQ’s Springfield campus. The award recognises the ability for time-poor postgraduate students to balance their work study commitments via intensive learning workshops.
Associate Professor Yan Li and Dr David Lai were also recognised for developing a curriculum based program that allows students to become more work ready through flexible access to industry accreditation training.
Dr Todhunter said his award recognised the intensive workshop program he’d established that allowed for up to 50 postgraduate students to travel to Springfield for intensive workshops over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, meaning they needed to take fewer days off work.
‘The model encourages a lot of interaction between the students, staff and industry practitioners and it has been very successful,’ he said.
‘If they weren’t able to attend our workshops they would have to study externally and be isolated from their fellow students, so they really love the flexibility of studying in a hybrid environment.
‘This proves that we are truly living the student-focused rhetoric — it’s good to show that USQ is truly walking the talk in terms of personalised learning.’
Associate Professor Li and Dr Lai have also been recognised for their innovation after successfully embedding a computing industry certificate training program into the existing USQ teaching system.
They developed two Networking Major core courses and a certified training structure which is offered parallel to USQ degree courses.
‘It feels great to have our work formally recognised nationally,’ Associate Professor Li said.
‘It indicates that USQ ICT programs are leading programs in Australian universities because we ensure that our students learn the cutting-edge skills and technologies to make them ready for work by graduation.’
USQ Vice-Chancellor & President Professor Jan Thomas congratulated USQ’s academics, saying the University’s core business was providing a quality and flexible education.
‘It’s important that our outstanding staff are recognised for being dedicated to their work and for being truly student-focused,’ Professor Thomas said.
USQ is also an integral member of the Regional Universities Network (RUN), with staff from RUN universities collectively receiving an impressive total of 22 citations from the 152 citations awarded.
‘These prestigious Citations indicate that all six RUN universities are excelling in their learning and teaching,’ the Chair of RUN, Professor David Battersby, said.
‘The Citations cover a wide breadth of teaching disciplines, not least in programs directly relevant to regional Australia.’
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