Outstanding ACU teachers win national Citation teaching award

Published: Monday 21st September 2015

Congratulations go to two ACU academics who have been awarded Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning. These awards are highly competitive and are designed to recognise quality teaching practice in Australian higher education. 

The successful nominees are: 

Helen Webb 

Dr Helen Webb, Faculty of Health Science, Ballarat campus: For the development of curricula and learning resources that equip graduates for successful practice and that reflect a command of the field of Paramedicine.

Over the last 20 years, Helen has been instrumental in working to move paramedic pre-service education from a vocational model to a professional model.

She has developed undergraduate and post-graduate curricula in Paramedicine and Disaster Management at three universities including the Australian Catholic University (ACU) (2009 - current).

Through invitation from several educational, professional and government organisations, she has also developed and delivered Paramedicine and Disaster Management programs to paramedic and health professionals in the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Timor Leste and to the United States Military.  

In 2010 Helen was awarded the Grand Cross Pro Merito Militensi - the Order of Malta for her contribution to building the quality of Paramedicine training and operation in Timor Leste. In recent years Helen has focused on curriculum development in wilderness response and disaster/major incident management. Helen is the second Paramedicine academic in the Australian sector to receive an OLT Citation award.


Ms Nicole Blakey (Early Career), Faculty of Health Science, Melbourne campus: For building critical thinking skills in clinical practice and bridging the theory practice gap for final year nursing students.  

Nicole’s 2012 appointment to teaching nurses at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) was based on her strong clinical experience and the University’s need for high acuity nurses with critical care expertise.

As an Early Career academic, she has shown innovative and effective leadership in developing final year undergraduate nursing curriculum and teaching practice for more than three years.

Nicole’s aim is to build the capacity of nursing students to apply critical reasoning in complex clinical environments because errors can occur as a result of healthcare providers’ lack of knowledge and clinical reasoning.

This occurs more commonly with new practitioners who have good recall of the theory but underdeveloped clinical reasoning skills. Nicole has used her knowledge of simulation-based learning (SBL) within the clinical practice setting to incorporate simulation activities into undergraduate curricula, primarily in final year nursing units.

Her leadership has culminated in an innovative simulation program that has highly motivated and engaged students whilst enhancing their clinical reasoning skills and preparing them for work-readiness. Recognition of her curriculum initiatives involving SBL has led to an award, grants and several publication opportunities.