Michèle, Senior Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, BSc (Wits), BSc Occupational Therapy (Hons), PhD(University of Ireland), has a strong interest in the use of technologies in meaningful occupation. Her work includes researching and supporting occupational therapists and students in the use of technologies in everyday clinical practice. She received a National Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2017, for enabling occupational therapy students to do, to be, to become and to belong through innovative pedagogy and effective use of technology.
Michèle joined the USC occupational therapy team in 2013. Prior to her USC appointment she spent 13 years working as an occupational therapist at the National Rehabilitation Hospital, in Dublin Ireland. Michèle graduated as an Occupational therapist from The University of The Witwatersrand in 1996 and she is now a Carnegie Alumni Diaspora. She spent the first years of her early career working at Natalspruit Hospital in Khatlehong, South Africa where she developed a keen interest in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Her clinical experience in South Africa and Ireland developed several special interest areas including neurological rehabilitation and the use of technology.
She was awarded a PhD from the University College Cork, Ireland having received a Health Research Board of Ireland doctoral fellowship. This allowed her to explore the experience of using environmental control systems for people with spinal cord injury. Michele’s research collaborators include The University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), University of Limerick, (Ireland); The National Rehabilitation Hospital, Ireland ;The University of Manitoba, Canada Queensland Health Spinal Outreach Team. Michele is on the board of management of the Australian Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Association as the social media secretary.
- 2017, Department of Education and Training National Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning Australian Government
- 2017, Vice Chancellor and President Equity and Diversity Award, USC – for reverse integration in wheelchair basketball
- 2016, Advance Teaching Award Commendation: Able award – advancing the blended
- 2015, Advance Teaching Award: - AQT award for Advancing Quality Teaching, USC
- 2015, Advance Teaching Award: - ASE award for Advancing the student experience (team award)
- 2015, Learning and Teaching Week People’s Choice Award, USC
- 2014, Advance Teaching Award: Able Award – Advancing the Blended Learning Environment, USC, 2014
- Health Research Board, Ireland, Research Fellowship for the Clinical Therapies, CTFP-06-15 (2007-2012)
- ARATA, Australian Rehabilitation & Assistive Technology Association
- Occupational Therapy Australia
- Establishment and progressive refinement of a high-performance Paralympic student-athlete program at an Australian University: A participatory action research project. Funding awarded by Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) Centre of Excellence for Applied Sport Science Research (2016-2019) $369 600 (Lead researchers Michele Verdonck and Florin Oprescu)
- Health Research Board, Ireland Research Fellowship for the Clinical Therapies, CTFP-06-15 Funding awarded: €256,528.11/ Aus. $323 293.22 (2007-2012)
- Faculty Research Collaboration Grant: Increasing engagement opportunities for people with physical disabilities: The role of reverse integration in sport, (2017-2018) $7000
- Diversity Week Activity Grant: Reverse Inclusion Spinners basketball workshop: $1000 (2017)
- Exploratory Learning and Teaching Grant: Learning, Teaching, Practice: A common understanding and integration of sustainability within Nutrition and Dietetics, (2016-2017) Value $40990 (project member)
- Exploratory Learning and Teaching Grant: Supporting Innovative Blended Learning – Exploring the experience of learning and teaching in a technology‐enabled tiered lecture theatre, 2015, USC Funding value $36091.53 (project lead)
- CHI collaborative Seed Grant: What meaning do individuals who use wheeled mobility devices (including wheelchairs and scooters) ascribe to these devices? 2015, $1 519.26 (lead researcher)
- Enhancement Learning and Teaching Grant: Using Pebble+ to track learning and create stepping-stones to development of an ePortfolio for transition to practice in occupational therapy.2015, $133 972.47 (Co-researcher, Lead: Anita Hamilton)
- Enhancement Learning and Teaching grant: Mapping and evaluating the flipped classroom at USC: Integrative teaching and learning, 2015, $429 600 (Co researcher, Lead Jane Taylor)
- assistive technology
- mainstream technology
- occupational therapists use of technology
- environmental control systems
- spinal cord injury and neurological conditions
- parasport and adaptive/disabled sport and reverse integration
- dual pathways for parasports students
Michèle's specialist areas of expertise include: the use of technologies in meaningful occupation,supporting occupational therapists in the use of mainstream technologies in everyday clinical practice, spinal cord injury rehabilitation, teaching wheelchair skills; wheelchair transfers, the application of the Bobath approach in incomplete spinal cord injury rehabilitation and functional electrical stimulation.