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New academic leader for JCU

Leading teaching and learning academic Professor Sally Kift has been appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic at JCU.

Feb 9, 2012: - Leading teaching and learning academic Professor Sally Kift has been appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic at James Cook University.

In announcing the appointment, JCU’s Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said that Professor Kift was one of Australia’s leading experts in the field of teaching and learning.

Presently Professor of Law at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Professor Kift received a national teaching award (Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT)) in 2003 and led a Law Project Team, which received a further the Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) National Program Award in 2007.

She was appointed one of three inaugural ALTC Senior Fellows in 2006 to investigate the first year experience, a field in which she is an acknowledged as an international expert and in high demand for as a speaker and consultant.

The ‘transition pedagogy’ that was developed under the Fellowship has been adopted by several universities to frame their student experience strategies.

A former Assistant Dean of QUT’s Law Faculty and in 2006-07 that university’s foundational Director First Year Experience, Professor Kift last year was appointed a member of the Council of Australian Law Deans inaugural Law School Standards Committee and was elected President, Australian Learning and Teaching Fellows.

Professor Kift has published widely on education and student transition and has delivered keynote addresses both in Australia and internationally on issues relating to transition and the first year experience, curriculum design, teaching quality and student engagement.

Professor Kift said she was excited to be joining JCU and was looking forward to building on the University’s existing strengths in learning, teaching and student support as it delivers on its distinctive remit as a university for the tropics.

“JCU has a deservedly strong reputation for teaching and research excellence both nationally and internationally,” she said. “What particularly attracts me to JCU is the very real difference it is making to the peoples and economies of the region, particularly under-served and non-traditional students.

“In the context of the government’s ambitious social inclusion agenda, I look forward to working with the wider university community and JCU’s many talented teachers to enhance the quality of the student experience.

“We know the transformative effect that higher education can have on the lives of individuals and their communities. Ensuring that all students who come to university, regardless of their background, are supported in their learning is a key priority. We cannot afford to leave student success to chance,” Professor Kift said.

Professor Harding said that she was very pleased that Professor Kift had accepted the challenge to take on the new position at JCU, which is dedicated to shaping the academic profile of the University and providing strategic leadership in relation to education and academic quality in teaching and learning.

“Her experience and knowledge will be invaluable as the tertiary education sector moves into the new student demand era and the issues that will raise in such areas as engaging students, with many being the first in their families to attend university,” Professor Harding said.

“JCU has been engaged in a major curriculum refresh project right across the University, and Sally will lead this program to make our courses more flexible in delivery and focused on student needs and demands.”

Professor Kift will take up her new position at JCU at the end of May.

Issued: February 9, 2012

JCU Media Liaison, Jim O’Brien 07 4781 4822 or 0418 892449