Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) Report

Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) Report

I am pleased to provide an update for this edition of the FHS newsletter. I commenced in this role in July 2014, following the retirement of the previous AD L&T, Professor Sally Borbasi. I have been excited by the many initiatives in the Learning and Teaching area; and the enthusiasm shown by staff for ensuring quality of learning and teaching; supporting the student experience; and undertaking scholarship of learning and teaching.

The Learning and Teaching Team comprises the following staff members:

  • Professor Karen Willis (Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching)
  • Natalie Gamble (Manager, Learning and Teaching)
  • Stephen Guinea (National Coordinator, Simulation)
  • Kristie Nevill (PA to ADLT and Project Officer)
  • Wai-Leng Wong (e-designer) (We are soon to add an educational designer to the team)
We also have staff who are either seconded or working on specific projects:
  • Paul McDonald (seconded from SNMP, Retention and Transition Pedagogy)
  • Tim Baillie (E-designer, seconded from LTC until end November 2014)
  • Meghan Appleby (E-designer, Postgraduate Strategy)
A key university learning and teaching initiative currently being implemented is the Learning for Life Strategy. Launched in July 2014, this four year Strategy ensures that the University has a clear focus on excellence in learning and teaching. I will be working closely with the Learning and Teaching Centre, to ensure that our Faculty is well supported to implement strategies to realise the hallmarks of the Learning For Life Strategy. The hallmarks are:
  1. Guarantee the distinctiveness of the ACU Graduate
  2. Achieve Excellent Teaching Practices
  3. Deliver Excellent Student Learning Experiences
  4. Promote internationalisation and cultural diversity of our courses and equitable access for all
  5. Deliver research-informed learning and teaching
  6. Continue to build a university culture which values and rewards high quality teaching

Valuing and Rewarding High Quality Teaching 

As a hallmark of the Learning for Life Framework, we are well placed to consolidate the work already being undertaken. Staff in the Faculty had good success in the recent ACU Teaching Development Grant round. Congratulations to the successful applicants and best wishes as they carry out their projects:

Farida Saghafi, Stephen Guinea and Nicole Blakey “Evaluating the effectiveness of an innovative simulation program designed to enhance clinical reasoning skills in final semester nursing students”.

Genevieve Morris, Santha James, Tanya Uebergang and Belinda Martinac – “Fundamentals of Biology Learning Module”.

Jane Morrow and Kath Brundell – “Enhancing Midwifery student practice and remote student resources using ACU YouTube visual skills to improve higher education clinical outcomes”.

Laura Miller, Erin Conway, Jenny Murphy and Cate Fitzgerald – “Allied Health professional practice and training”.

Matthew Pink, Natalie Gamble, Karen Nightingale, Karen Flowers, Paul Miller, Jenny Murphy, Stephen Guinea, Katie Bunch and Youssef Taouk – “Facilitating and evaluating enhanced learning quality through international community engagement: Tools and strategies for staff and students”.

Simone Arnott and Diane Jacobs – “Speech Pathology students’ perceptions and experiences following a non-assessed residential care immersion”.

We continue to support scholarship of learning and teaching by encouraging academics to apply for ACU Citations, FHS Teaching Development Grants and FHS Citations.

Initiatives in Course offerings:

The Postgraduate Strategy has seen support for the development of new courses, and we are in the process of ensuring the roll out of high quality, blended or online learning approaches to support the student experience as they engage in postgraduate study.

The following courses commenced in 2014:

  • Master of High Performance Sport (first offering Semester 1 2014)
  • Master of Mental Health (first offering Semester 1 2014)

New postgraduate courses that will commence in 2015 include:

  • Master of Rehabilitation 
  • Master of Paramedicine 
  • Graduate Certificate in HealthCare Simulation Education
  • In addition, the Graduate Certificate in Clinical Nursing has new specialisations; the School of Psychology are extending their offerings to additional campuses; and the Master of Health Administration is being updated.

We continue with expansion of our Undergraduate courses:

  • The new Bachelor of Biomedical Science will be offered from 2015
  • The Bachelor of Paramedicine will be offered at North Sydney in 2015
  • The revised Bachelor of Social Work will commence in 2015
  • Occupational Therapy, Speech Pathology and Public Health are at varying stages of implementing new degrees; and 2014 marks the first cohort of Physiotherapy graduates from North Sydney.

Workshops and Conferences

In June we conducted a Curriculum Mapping Workshop at North Sydney campus. More than 50 people attended from all disciplines, and all campuses – an outstanding achievement. They all considered their first year curriculum holistically and mapped the assessment, graduate attributes and English language development.

The Faculty of Health Sciences was well represented at the Learning for Life Conference held in July in Sydney. We had several staff participating by presenting workshops, papers and posters.

In early October, two full-day face-to-face workshops were held at the Melbourne campus for select teaching teams, with a general session for all FHS staff offered by videoconference. These workshops, entitled “Flipped Learning: A Beginner’s Guide for Health Sciences” (facilitated by Catherine Snelling and Sophie Karanicolas, University of Adelaide), and “Effective Assessment: Asking the Right Questions” (facilitated by Assoc Prof Duncan Nulty, formerly of Griffith Institute for Higher Education) have attracted in excess of 100 registrations from FHS staff.

We are gearing up for our fourth annual ‘Simulation in Health Education Showcase’, to be held at the Brisbane campus on Wednesday 3 December. The program is being finalised at present, and registrations are currently open for this free event, sponsored by Laerdal.

As well as encouraging you to attend and participate in the activities of the University Learning and Teaching Centre, the FHS Learning and Teaching team are happy to work with staff groups on relevant issues. If you would like us to come and work with you, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Case Study Funding

A key initiative from 2013 that we have been able to carry over into 2014 has been the provision of funds to assist in the development, replacement or reinvigoration of case studies. Funding to the value of $4000 assists staff to ensure that the case studies are up to date and relevant.

Blended Learning and Flipped Classrooms project

We are currently calling for Expressions of Interest to take the academic lead in a project to develop a Community of Practice for Blended Learning and Flipped Classrooms. Heads of Schools have been asked to nominate units of study and we are confident that the work of this project will promote interdisciplinary cooperation and the forging of new alliances among Faculty academics to share and disseminate knowledge of good teaching practice.

Learning and Teaching Staff

We would like to acknowledge the contribution of many of the Faculty staff in learning and teaching, particularly those associated with the teaching development grants and learning and teaching working parties. Also to those who participate in workshops and other activities we offer in an effort to build capacity and expertise across the Faculty.

I wish you well as you enter the last stage of the academic year, and look forward to working with you in 2015.

Professor Karen Willis

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