UTS Science dominates 2015 Teaching and Learning Awards
Five staff members from UTS Science have been recognised at the Vice-Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Showcase held on 4 April 2016.
The Faculty of Science scooped up two 2015 Learning and Teaching Awards, two commendations and one 2015 Learning and Teaching Citation.
Dr Stephen Woodcock received one of five Learning and Teaching Citations for “development of enquiry-oriented learning practices in the mathematical sciences.” Dr Woodcock is a keen teacher who has coordinated and taught first year undergraduate subjects, through to supervising students at Honours and PhD levels.
Dr Stephen Woodcock accepts his 2015 Teaching and Learning Award
Dr Scott Chadwick accepting 2015 Teaching and Learning Award
Dr Scott Chadwick won the Early Career Teaching Award for “ongoing development and significant contribution to Chemistry 1 and development of first year students’ awareness of professional practice.”
“It is a real honour to receive this award and be recognised outside of the Faculty,” Dr Chadwick said.
Dr Chadwick took on over 900 Chemistry 1 students in 2015 and saw the failure rate reduce by half. He believes this was achieved by introducing assessments that tested students’ professional, communication and interpersonal skills as well as their knowledge.
“It really gave the students who struggled with some of the content an opportunity to show they knew what was going on,” he said. “Having that greater focus on skills outside of knowledge is something we are really trying to focus on.”
In addition to Chemistry 1, Dr Chadwick will be coordinating another first year subject in 2016, Principles of Scientific Practice.
“I am hoping to put into practice what I learnt from last year and reinvigorate the subject,” he said. “We already have come up with some cool ideas and are going to have an exciting and engaging subject for the students this semester.”
Dr Jurgen Schulte was the inaugural recipient of the learning.futures award for “developing and supporting student engagement and learning in the physical sciences.”
The learning.futures prize is awarded for teaching or curriculum design that embodies the ethos of the UTS learning.futures strategy, such as the application of collaborative and authentic learning.
"[Under learning.futures], the students have an authentic learning experience that represents what they would do, or what they can expect to do, when they go off to their professions,” Dr Schulte said.
He believes that since UTS introduced learning.futures in 2015, the learning experience has improved and engagement has increased.
"I take a whole system approach to curriculum development which includes not just the syllabus itself or how the subject is being delivered, but tying together all ends of the teaching process,” he said. “That results in students being more engaged, and it is visible."
Dr Schulte is currently working on a project called ‘Course Pathways: Making Informed Choices’ which has received a 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Grant. The project aims to uncover statistically significant patterns in students’ course pathway choices with a view to provide support units, course and subject coordinators with indicators that may be used in student support actions.
"If there is a pattern, we can provide more guidance to students to prevent them from making uninformed choices, so they could pick another subject and don't have to accrue unnecessary HECS debt," Dr Schulte said. "It makes it more efficient for the students, teachers and the university as a whole.”
Dr Jurgen Schulte, Professor Attila Brungs with UTS Science Dean, Professor Bruce Milthorpe
Ms Mackenzie de la Hunty accepting her 2015 Teaching and Learning Award
Mackenzie de la Hunty and Rebecca Haack and both received commendations for Teaching by a Casual or Sessional Staff Member.
Mackenzie was acknowledged for “a positive teaching approach, and for development of resources for first year chemistry subjects” while Rebecca was recognised for “the development of flipped learning based case studies that encourage a collaborative and holistic approach to haematology diagnosis.”
In 2015, Mackenzie aimed to create a “student-centred” learning environment that embraced flipped learning by uploading material online that students previously completed in class with pen and paper.
“Instead of spending time trying to help students understand the theory during class, we were seeing them make their own connections between what they had learnt in lectures and the experiments they were undertaking,” she said.
“All of the tutors agree that a massive improvement was seen in the theoretical knowledge held by the students, making the practical classes much more beneficial for the students and much more rewarding for the tutors.”