Celebrating UQ’s champions of inclusive teaching and learning

Champions of inclusive education have been celebrated at this year’s University of Queensland Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Joanne Wright said the awards recognised the important work of inclusive teaching to create a sense of student belonging at UQ.

“UQ is a diverse institution and richer for this diversity,” Professor Wright said.

“As an institution, we recognise that not all students come to UQ with the same access, capabilities, languages, or cultural backgrounds.”

She said in recent times with COVID and remote learning, the social cues of a classroom setting could be missed, and issues such as mental health become more problematic.

“COVID has posed many challenges over the past 18 months, and in some cases these challenges have led to some innovative ways of engaging our students in the learning process,” Professor Wright said.

“It’s important we showcase the efforts of our teaching and learning staff, particularly in some quite difficult working conditions.

“Research tells us that learning is a social activity – to enable good learning, our students need to feel safe, valued and included – and there are many examples of that in action in the awards announced tonight.”

Dr Taylor Dick has received an award for Teaching Excellence for her innovation in anatomy and biomedical sciences courses through the development of interactive teaching resources.

Dr Poh Hillock was recognised for Teaching Excellence for transforming first year mathematics courses at UQ by building an extensive support network and collaborative learning environments for students.

Professor Wright said there was much the UQ community could learn from one another during Teaching and Learning Week.

“Understanding what people are doing across the disciplines at UQ, and learning new strategies and approaches that can improve teaching in the future, is an important part of the week,” she said.

“This is also a time for connection with colleagues – providing time for academic and professional staff to share plans, challenges and successes, and to support one another.”

She said the University’s efforts to deliver inclusive teaching and learning were paying dividends for students and staff.

“UQ has recently opened the new Student Central Hub which is an inclusive space, purpose-built to provide support and services for students including guidance counselling, health and wellbeing advice and study skills,” Professor Wright said.

UQ Teaching and Learning Week 2021 (Monday 1 November to Friday 5 November), provides opportunities for the UQ community to learn from one another and celebrate inclusive teaching and learning practices designed to enhance student learning and facilitate a sense of belonging.

This year’s workshops, seminars, roundtables and showcases will highlight UQ’s excellent teachers and tutors, initiatives and T&L leaders around the theme of inclusion.

The program of events is designed to give staff opportunities to network and discuss contemporary teaching and learning.

The awards presented last night were: https://teaching-learning.uq.edu.au/award-winners

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