Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence

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Vice-Chancellor and President's Awards for Excellence

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Each year, through the Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence, exceptional achievements are recognised and rewarded in the key areas of:

  • learning and teaching
  • research
  • engagement
  • service

In 2016, nine staff members and teams received Vice-Chancellor and President’s Awards for Excellence.

For Excellence in Learning and Teaching

The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence for Learning and Teaching is an annual award presented to a member of University staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in learning and teaching.

Dr Anita Hamilton, Deputy Head of School and Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Dr Anita Hamilton commenced at USC in 2012. She is recognised for her innovative approach to blended learning and for her ability to motivate and engage students in the learning process.

She is described as a pioneer, leader and mentor for blended learning and teaching and a passionate, reflective and collaborative academic who is respected by students and colleagues alike.

The Committee unanimously agreed that Anita’s outstanding work and impact in Learning and Teaching has been sustained and significant and that she is an exemplary corporate citizen.

For Excellence in Learning and Teaching (Sessional)

A learning and teaching award is also presented to a member of University sessional staff.

Ms Marama Liebergreen, Sessional Staff Member, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law

Marama is described as a quiet achiever and one of USC’s greatest sessional assets.

She began her work as a sessional staff member in COR109 in 2007 and had a spell over a few years as an Associate Lecturer in the program. She returned to being a sessional in 2013.

While she has been largely responsible for much of the course content and curriculum development that has made USC’s largest course successful, Marama has also been research active, co-authoring five papers that focus on learning and teaching, especially in the area of assessment feedback practice.

Her dedication to USC’s first year students is noteworthy and her SETAC scores are second to none. On top of these not insignificant achievements, she continues to pursue her own professional development through undertaking a Masters of Education at USC.

Marama has been an exemplary sessional staff member over time and will continue to have significant impact on our first year students in years to come.

Ms Kristy Patton, Sessional Staff Member, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Kristy is a sessional staff member teaching in both undergraduate Secondary and Graduate Diploma in Education courses.

Her SETAC scores are consistently high, including ratings of 5 in both EDU614 and EDU603 in semester one this year.

She has been active in the development of the courses she teaches into, including the development of assessment tasks and criteria sheets. Kristy employs a range of innovative pedagogical approaches in her teaching to encourage our students’ engagement with learning.

She is also a senior English teacher at Beerwah State High School and has regularly supervised preservice teachers which has enabled a high level of integration and continuity between USC and preservice teachers.

Through her leadership within and beyond the University and her modelling of professional engagement with all students in her USC classes, Kristy has inspired and shaped students’ learning outcomes.

Kristy is an outstanding sessional staff member who has and will influence the teaching practice of USC’s Education graduates.

For Excellence in Research

The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Excellence for Research is an annual award presented to a member of University staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in research.

Professor Abigail Elizur, Director of the GeneCology Research Centre, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Professor Abigail Elizur has been involved in the application of molecular biology and biotechnology to aquaculture since 1990.

Abigail joined USC in 2004 and is now the Director of the GeneCology Research Centre.

She has consistently been one of the University’s top researchers, excelling in all aspects of research performance, achievement and leadership. She has steadily nurtured many HDR students and postdoctoral fellows and is an exceptional organisational citizen who is loyal, reliable and hardworking. She is also an extraordinary and dedicated role model.

The impact of her work has been recognised both internationally and nationally. For example, Abigail has recently been elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Science and Engineering, one of only 25 new Fellows for 2016, and was also installed as a member of the ARC College of Experts earlier this year.

For Excellence in Research (Early Career Researcher)

Dr Andrew Olds, Lecturer in Animal Ecology, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Dr Andrew Olds was awarded his doctorate from Griffith University in 2013.

He joined the University as a Research Fellow in Marine Sciences in February 2014 and was then appointed as a Lecturer in June of the same year.

Andrew played a significant role in the establishment of the University’s Animal Ecology program and is a researcher in the USC Research Futures Project (CRN) – Water Sciences.

He has published extensively in high quality journals and has impact and influence in his field as is demonstrated through citations. Apart from his outstanding research performance, Andrew has also played a significant leadership role in the delivery of a strong fieldwork program, which has contributed to the consolidation of the University’s resources on Fraser Island.

He is a strong corporate citizen, a supportive colleague and an exceptional teacher and researcher.

For Excellence in Engagement

The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Engagement is an annual award presented to a member of the University's teaching and research staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in engagement with the community.

Dr Peter Grainger, Lecturer in Education, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering

Peter was nominated for this Award by his Head of School, Professor Shelley Dole.

Since Peter commenced at USC in 2013, he has established, maintained and improved strategic and productive partnerships, connections and relationships with people, groups and organisations related to Languages education in the region.

He has impacted and influenced the Sunshine Coast community through the creation of professional development opportunities and discussion of intellectual, social, economic and cultural issues that are important to the Languages community.

For example, Peter has been a pivotal figure in the organisation of the annual Speech Contest held at USC and coordinates USC students to provide logistical support for this event.

He also provides professional development opportunities for teachers from state, independent and Catholic schools and organisations and, this year, Peter has played a significant leadership role in a collaborative project to offer community short courses in 8 languages at USC.

Generally, Peter’s activities in Language education have benefitted students and staff and strengthened engagement with our communities.

Mr Gerard Jefferies, Field Education Coordinator in Social Work and Human Services, Faculty of Arts, Business and Law

Gerard commenced working as the Field Education Coordinator in Social Work and Human Services in August 2012.

He was nominated for this Award by his Head of School, Professor Doug Mahar, in recognition of the strategic leadership he has provided to increase and improve WIL placements in Social Work and Human Services.

His substantial efforts and comprehensive plan for the management of the projected growth in WIL has resulted in significant enhancement of USC’s engagement with regional partners and an increase in the quality and quantity of WIL opportunities for Social Work and Human Services students. There has been a 300% increase in WIL capacity since 2013.

In summary, Gerard’s work has enabled the School to meet rapidly growing student numbers, enhance students’ WIL experiences and forge new sustainable relationships with regional partners.

For Excellence in Service

The Vice-Chancellor and President's Award for Service is an annual award presented to a member of the University's administrative, professional and technical staff in recognition of demonstrated excellence in service to the University.

The Education Technology Support Team from the Centre for Support and Advancement of Learning and Teaching

Keith Murfin, Donald Mackay, Chris Morgan, Teagan Williams, Peter Delgado and Sherelle Norman from the Education Technology Support Team were nominated by their Director, Kylie Readman, for their collaborative approach to their work; the proactive, calm and knowledgeable assistance they provide to colleagues; and the ways in which they have improved efficiency in an ever-changing digital learning environment.

The Team’s success and achievements can be put down to a team culture in which being responsive and providing service are valued and practised; the deliberate development and coherence of the Team and its members; their authentic engagement with academic staff; and the Team’s capacity to “think beyond the technical” to ensure the outcomes of their work focus on pedagogy and the learning experiences of students.

In summary, the Team’s ways of operating are exemplary and their work fosters and impacts success for students and staff.

The Simulation and Practice Learning Team from the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine

Suzy O’Brien, Kris Cox, Tracey Seymour, Louise Johnson, Melanie Scovell, Amanda Thomson and Crystel Schuchmann from the Simulation and Practice Learning Team were nominated for this Award by the Academic Director, Simulation and Visualisation, Associate Professor Patrea Andersen, for providing high quality learning experiences for students; establishing productive links with academic staff and external health providers; and promoting and providing safe teaching environments which enhance the efficacy of students’ learning.

Feedback from students about simulation and practice learning experiences is consistently excellent and confirms the impact of the Team’s work on their learning.

The Simulation and Practice Learning Team is respected by colleagues and students alike for its commitment to teaching excellence and its contributions to the success of the University’s Nursing and Midwifery programs.

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