11 April 2017
The senior academic overseeing the development of student learning at USC has been recognised as a Principal Fellow of the United Kingdom’s Higher Education Academy.
Professor Karen Nelson, who has been USC Pro Vice-Chancellor (Students) for three years, received the fellowship for her “sustained, effective record of strategic impact at institutional, national or international level” and commitment to wider leadership in teaching.
USC Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Birgit Lohmann said the academy was highly regarded internationally for championing teaching quality in higher education.
“This fellowship acknowledges Professor Nelson’s ongoing commitment and contribution to student learning, as well as the positive influence she has with her colleagues as a strategic leader in teaching,” Professor Lohmann said.
Professor Nelson’s research seeks to understand and improve students’ learning experiences and engagement, and the institutional conditions that lead to successful completion.
A national project she recently co-led, ‘Shaping the 21st Century student experience at regional universities’, lifted the lid on the types of university experiences that enable and encourage students to stick with their studies and make the most of their time at university, despite previous disadvantage or difficult life circumstances.
The findings reinforced the importance of student wellbeing and positive interactions with peers and staff. The project recommended universal attention to building students’ skills and confidence, and developing their work-related employability skills.
“I’m honoured to receive this esteemed international recognition because it also cements USC’s reputation for providing excellent student experiences,” Professor Nelson said.
— Julie Schomberg