Individually and collectively hundreds of UTS academics and professional staff have been recognised for commitment to the learning experience of UTS students in the 2016 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning awarded by the Australian Government's Department of Education and Training.
Dr Mark Watsford, Dr Jurgen Schulte, the UTS HELPS team and the UTS First Year Experience team have been cited for innovative learning and teaching practices across the diverse disciplines of sports science, physics, transition into first year and academic language support.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs said it was significant and pleasing that two UTS flagship programs supporting student success had been recognised in the citations.
"The UTS First Year Experience (FYE) project has a long and successful track record of providing opportunities for first-year undergraduates to reach their potential both in and outside class, particularly those students who are less prepared for university," Professor Brungs said. "FYE has coordinators in every faculty with more than 400 academics and professional staff involved in its learning community.
"UTS HELPS similarly has emerged as a key support program for students to develop the English language skills and academic understanding that will underpin the attainment of study and career goals. It also connects with other services such as counselling so that students looking for 'help' find the support they need."
The details of the UTS citations were:
Dr Mark Watsford, Faculty of Health – For developing highly-skilled, work-ready sport and exercise science graduates, through industry-based curriculum design and practice-oriented activities that inspire learning. Mark has influenced graduate skills and work-readiness for sport and exercise science students through work-integrated learning.
Students are inspired by classroom acitivities which use cutting-edge technology, and by indsutry visits and learning initiatives with world-leading sporting organisations, includng the Sydney Swans.
Dr Jurgen Schulte, Faculty of Science – For individual student support and authentic adaptive learning in a whole system curriculum development approach to enhance student engagement and learning in science.
Jurgen has developed science curricula that encourage student engagement in large lecture settings and in prac programs. He has developed adaptive learning environments with individualised support for students that are both engaging for students and rewarding for teachers.
UTS HELPS (Higher Education Language and Presentation Support) – For contribution by the HELPS Centre to the development of language and academic literacy through positive, student-centred experiences to enhance confidence and independent learning.
The 23 person team, led by Andrew Pyke, has developed an accessible service that holistically supports students in an empathetic manner. It actively promotes an open-door policy where all students can receive immediate assistance.
The UTS First Year Experience team – For supporting student transition and success through engaging academic and professional staff in curriculum innovation and collaborative communities
The 11 person team, led by Dr Kathy Egea and Associate Professor Jo Mckenzie, has lead a university-wide program that supports student transition and success, particularly for students from low socio-economic status backgrounds.
Using an integrated program of small curriculum innovation grants and collaborative communities, the team has engaged more than 465 academic and professional staff and embedded curriculum innovations in 88 subjects across all disciplines. These initiatives have resulted in improvements in academic achievement for commencing low-SES students.
The Australian Government's Australian Awards for University Teaching scheme recognises individuals and teams who have made a signification contribution to the quality of student learning over a sustained period, whether they are academic staff, general staff, or sessional staff.