Making complex subjects compelling nets UQ teachers top awards

20 Dec 2017

From economics to hypersonics, teachers at The University of Queensland are finding award-winning ways to teach students complex subjects.

Dr Vincent Wheatley and Carl Sherwood received Awards for Teaching Excellence at the Australian Awards for University Teaching Excellence (AAUT), while UQ’s First Year Chemistry Program won an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.

UQ Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Joanne Wright said the university’s commitment to continually improving the student experience was reflected in the way teachers found new ways to engage students.

“While the university invests in new learning technologies and innovations, we also have an exceptional group of teachers who put in so much time and energy to ensure their course content is not only engaging, but is delivered in ways that resonate so effectively with students,” she said.

“The proof is in the outcomes and feedback, and Dr Wheatley, Mr Sherwood and the First-Year Chemistry Program team have delivered this in spades.

“We are immensely proud of them.”

Mr Sherwood, who won the award in the field of law, economics, business and related studies, from the School of Economics has used interactive and storytelling teaching methods to help first-year economics students overcome their fear of learning statistics and increase self-belief in their ability.

Dr Wheatley from the School of Mechanical Mining and Engineering, who won the award in the field of physical sciences and related studies, strives to make students not only active learners but intrigued and enthusiastic by engaging them in scenarios relevant to their potential future careers.

He has demonstrated that the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) concept can be successfully applied to advanced technical courses, having attracted learners from 129 countries to the edX course Hypersonics – From Shockwaves to Scramjets.

The UQ First Year Chemistry Program received an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning in the category of innovation and flexibility in curricula, learning and teaching.

The team is led by Associate Professor Joanne Blanchfield, and includes Dr Denise Adams, Dr Andrew Allsebrook, Dr Bruce D’Arcy, Professor Mary Garson, Dr Efpraxia Kartsonaki, Associate Professor Gwendolyn Lawrie, Professor James De Voss, Associate Professor Mark Riley and Dr Philip Sharpe.

The awards recognise those among Australia’s most outstanding university teachers and programs, contributing to the quality of student learning and student experience in higher education.

Media: UQ Communications,, +7 3346 0561