Dean's Teaching Awards 2021

The Faculty of Business and Economics has celebrated its sixth annual Dean’s Teaching Awards – commending excellence in teaching across the Faculty.

This year, the Dean’s Teaching Awards recognised the commitment of all FBE staff throughout the challenging circumstances of COVID-19. Professor Angela Paladino, Director of The Williams Centre for Learning Advancement, hosted the awards.

Dean Professor Paul Kofman welcomed staff to the virtual event , and acknowledged that now, more than ever before, we need to celebrate excellence in teaching.

“While continuing to improve online learning, our academic colleagues responded with extraordinary agility in alternating between dual delivery and the exclusive online campus,” Professor Kofman said.

“With students across the globe engaging with our classes, their experience is at the heart of the University's Student Life initiative. Our students expect a challenging learning experience; one that is responsive…and prepares them to find their way into fulfilling careers or further academic study. Our academics are right in the midst of that evolving educational experience.”

Five different awards were presented today to celebrate teachers who have been exceptional in the level of engagement that they have achieved with their students, as well as their capacity to excel through this change. The award categories are: the Carol Johnston Teaching Award; the Dean's Excellence in Tutoring Award; the Excellence in Teaching (Level AB) Award; the Ross Willams Career Achievement Teaching Award; and the Team Teaching Award.

Due to the high calibre of applicants in 2021, the Dean and panel decided to offer commendations to staff who narrowly missed out on awards but contributed greatly to the culture of teaching within FBE this year. They were: Dr. Vanessa Pouthier, Dr. Franz Wohlgezogen, Dr. Nuzhat Lotia, Dr. Joeri Mol, Dr. Karthyeni Sridaran (Management & Marketing) for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching; Dr. Georgy Artemov (Economics) for the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (A/B); and Associate Professor Reshad Ahsan (Economics) for The Carol Johnston Teaching Excellence Award.


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Dr. Bec Rees

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Tutoring was awarded to Dr. Bec Rees from the Department of Management Marketing.

Dr. Rees has 20 years of industry experience, is the founder of her own consultancy, and recently completed her PhD. Dr. Rees was noted for her ability to teach from her personal industry experience, which has resonated with many students; as well as her ability to foster a safe, respectful, inclusive and highly engaging learning environment that accommodates a diverse range of needs. The positive impact that Dr. Rees has made on her students has been evidenced by her high SES scores and feedback.

Dr. Rees acknowledged that these award presentations were the first time she’s been publicly recognised as a ‘Doctor’, of which she was very appreciative.

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Dr. Zhen Shi

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (Level A/B) was awarded to Dr. Zhen Shi from the Department of Finance.

Dr. Shi has taught a wide range of core elective and capstone subjects in finance. She has implemented a variety of methods including the flipped classroom, blended learning, and technological aids that are all aimed to improve students’ critical thinking, teamwork and employability skills.

Dr. Shi has also enhanced the teaching and learning outcomes by combining theories and in class tailor made and critical tasks, which involve the usage of databases to help students develop a deeper understanding of the real-world implications of these theories. Dr. Shi’s efforts in both teaching and student support have been extremely well received by her students.

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Dr. Sarah Yang Spencer

The Carol Johnston Teaching Award was presented to Dr. Sarah Yang Spencer in Accounting. In her teaching portfolio, Dr. Yang Spencer has developed case studies, introduced authentic business challenges, and upscaled experiential learning to enhance Accounting education at a postgraduate level. Dr. Yang Spencer thanked two influential female mentors, who’d helped her carve out her career as an academic.

“I would like to acknowledge two women who have significantly influenced my teaching philosophy. One of them is my former manager from CPA Australia, Kerry-Anne Hoad. Kerry-Anne taught me the meaning of constructive alignment and showed me the professional certification at a level that few of us knew. She demonstrated the essence of leadership,” Dr. Yang Spencer said.

“I would also like to thank Professor Anne Lillis. She understands the teacher and student dynamic....I have personally benefited a lot from working with her…observing how she works has inspired me to emulate her approach to teaching. These two remarkable women blazed a trail….it is now my turn to take up the baton and run my journey.”

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Professor Sean Pinder

The Ross Willams Career Achievement Teaching Award was presented to Associate Professor Sean Pinder (Finance). This award rewards the valuable career contribution of teachers within the Faculty who have motivated students to excel over a prolonged period.

Associate Professor Pinder has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate study for over 20 years, as well as executive education, domestically and internationally. His approach to teaching is underpinned by two central tenets: “Bring the markets to the classroom,” and “Bring the classroom to new students.”

“There's a certain symmetry about being the recipient of the Ross Williams award. Professor Williams was Dean of the Faculty when I was appointed in January 2001,” Associate Professor Pinder said. “This led to Paul Kaufman, who not only talked the talk, but walked the walk. Indeed, I recall him putting up his hand for the Friday Night Master of Applied Finance meetings when few others stepped forward…I'd like to acknowledge my colleagues in the Department who continue to innovate, challenge and excel in the teaching and learning space,” he said.

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Teaching (team category) was given to Dr. Wasana Karunarathne (Lecturer); Professor David Harris (Head of Department); and Mr. Chin Quek (Tutor) (Economics). This team has taught Quantitative Methods – a first-year core Undergraduate subject in the Bachelor of Commerce with an annual enrolment of over 2000 students. The team has redeveloped the curriculum since 2017, to make it interesting, practical and relevant to the real world so that more students are intrinsically motivated to learn the content.

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Mr. Chin Quek (Tutor); Dr. Wasana Karunarathne (Lecturer); Professor David Harris (Head of Department) (Economics)

Learn more about the Dean’s Faculty Teaching Awards here.