Each year the Australian Government recognises teaching excellence and outstanding contributions to student learning with the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) program. This program includes the Australian University Teacher of the Year Awards, Awards for Programs That Enhance Learning and Awards for Teaching Excellence.
These are JCU's most outstanding programs to be awarded.
Award for Programs That Enhance Learning: Student experiences and services supporting learning, development and growth in higher education
Team members: Dr Andrea Lynch, Ms Kellie Johns, Ms Kylie Bartlett, Ms Colleen Kaesehagen, Mr Brijesh Kumar, Mr Lyle Cleeland, Ms Louise Myers, Ms Jess Watt, Ms Maddie Bornschlegl, Ms Rachel Barber, Ms Marnie Campbell
Since 2012, JCU's Learning Centre has provided a comprehensive and complementary suite of activities that address the development of both generic and discipline-specific literacies and numeracy. A small team of 10, including learning advisors and other general staff, supports student learning across multiple physical campuses, study centres and the virtual environment. The suite of activities delivered through this program is grounded in strong theoretical framing of the key areas of learning, language development and discipline numeracy.
The program aims to develop confident, independent, successful learners through authentic and relevant engagement with the demands of their chosen field of study and eschews deficit notions of students. The core innovation of this program is a systematic and whole of institution approach to the provision of learning support and development that has proven benefits in terms of retention, engagement and achievement for the diverse student cohort at JCU.
Award for Programs That Enhance Learning: Widening Participation
Team members: Professor Tarun Sen Gupta , Dr Teresa O'Connor, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, Ms Sharon Barnwell, Ms Simone Ross, Dr Robin Ray, Ms Maggie Grant, Dr Nichole Harvey, Mr Donald Whaleboat, Dr Roy Rasalam, Associate Professor Sarah Larkins, Dr Torres Woolley and Professor Richard Murray
Established in 1999, the JCU medical program has a distinct mission to recruit students from across Australia willing to work in remote and underserved communities, and then train them to be competent graduates with enhanced skills in tropical medicine and the health of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. The program is committed to addressing health inequalities and workforce mal-distribution in northern Australia.
The program utilises strong international evidence to select and support a high proportion of students from non-traditional backgrounds, thereby widening access to medical education, particularly for rural and Indigenous students. JCU has established a distinctive brand and reputation for its medical program and has the selection processes, curriculum, support strategies, rural clinical placements and research activities to facilitate and actively support student progression to demonstrably confident and competent graduates who choose careers in areas of workforce shortage and contribute widely in terms of service and advocacy.
Award for Programs That Enhance Learning: Remote Area Teacher Education
Team members: Ms Helen McDonald, Mr Ian Hodges, Ms Gail Mitchell, Associate Professor Lyn Henderson, Mr Max Lenoy and Ms Woendi Southwell.
The (former) Remote Area Teacher Education Program (RATEP) was a community-based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program which aimed to qualify registered Indigenous teachers and education paraprofessionals. RATEP began in 1990 to support those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote areas who previously had to relocate to access study opportunities. The program was expanded to rural, regional and urban areas.
RATEP achieved its aim through the flexible delivery of courses to peoples living in their home communities. It was a formidable partnership between JCU, the Queensland Department of Education Training and Employment and Tropical North Queensland Institute of TAFE (Cairns), working in association with the Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Committee, the Torres Strait Islanders Regional Education Council, the Department of Employment Education and Workforce Relations and Education Queensland schools.
Over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have graduated through JCU with either a Bachelor of Education or Educational Services. Graduates have achieved national acclaim, with one student awarded the highly competitive Governor General’s Indigenous Student Teacher Scholarship (2012) and another ten awarded Pearl Duncan Teaching scholarships.
Award for Programs That Enhance Learning: Postgraduate Education
Team members: Professor Sue McGinty, Professor Yvonne Cadet-James and Felecia Watkin
The (former) School of Indigenous Australian Studies (SIAS) postgraduate program had a philosophical framework built upon the following principles: acknowledging and valuing the ontology of Indigenous peoples (how people view the world), and ways of being in the world (epistemological positions). The program actively worked towards strengthening students’ knowledge, skills, confidence and research capacity to make a valuable contribution to their personal and professional lives and to society. Its strength was in the capacity for students to move between coursework and research streams according to their individual study needs and requirements, professional and career aspirations and particular learning styles.
The program aimed to produce researchers of the highest ethical, spiritual, and knowledge standards and who were deeply committed to the progress and advancement of Indigenous peoples through their research and related activities. This was achieved through rigorous training and systematic approaches to the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of the courses and subjects offered within the program.
Impacts of the program was widespread, with graduates achieving leadership roles and senior positions in the public service, schools, private enterprise and academia. The teaching excellence of SIAS staff was also recognised through invitations to assist with the design of other universities’ Indigenous postgraduate training courses, and to lecture and participate in their programs. Most importantly, the program facilitated sustainable research projects to empower and enhance the social wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, an outcome which underpinned the program’s overall direction, implementation and review.