Recognising teaching excellence

"In an era of technological disruption and digitally-enhanced educational delivery, good teaching is ever so important" - Professor Paul Kofman, Dean Faculty of Business and Economics

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2018 Dean's Teaching Excellence Awards:

  • Professor David Dickson and Professor Christina Cregan awarded the Ross Williams Career Achievement Award in Teaching
  • Professor David Harris awarded the Carol Johnston Teaching Excellence Award
  • Andrew Zur, Dr Gamze Koseoglu, Dr Melissa Wheeler, Dr Ryan Perry and Dr Peter Hayes awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award (Team Category)
  • Dr Gamze Koseoglu was also awarded the Level A/B Excellence in Teaching Award
  • Maggie Singorahardjo awarded Excellence in Tutoring Award

Awarded annually, each category recognises diverse contributions to teaching across the Faculty and recipients are mentored to apply for University and other relevant teaching awards through the Williams Centre for Learning Advancement. We caught up with some of the award winners.

The Carol Johnston Teaching Excellence Award acknowledges teaching that influences, motivates and inspires students to learn.

A leader in the field of econometrics, Professor David Harris has a passion for statistics and statistical methods but inspiring others can be a bit of a challenge.

"When teaching a subject like statistics (a favourite of almost nobody!), the first challenge is to attract and retain student attention and engagement with learning," says Harris.

Associate Professor Carol Johnston, Professor Angela Paladino, Director WCLA and Professor David Harris

"I try hard to communicate the 'why' of the subjects as well as the 'what' and the 'how'. The students seem to appreciate this."

He quotes the old Scottish joke;

"How do I get to Aberdeen from here?,'" the traveller asks.

To which the local replies: "Och, if I were going to Aberdeen, I wouldna start from here."

There's an important lesson in this. According to Harris: "We must start from where our students are in order to take them where they need to go. This requires us to listen, and to exercise some empathy and imagination, to find effective ways to communicate."

Both Harris and fellow award winner Gamze Koseoglu agree there is a strong team aspect to being an effective teacher. The people we are surrounded by drastically influence our effectiveness and our success. So, even for teachers, the process of continuous learning is vital.

"My greatest challenge in teaching has been delivering first-year Quantitative Methods in a meaningful way," explains Harris.

"Meeting this challenge has been a joint effort with Wasana Karunarathne and a team of dedicated tutors. For me working with colleagues like Wasana, Daniel Tiong, and David Moreton is a highlight."

Koseoglu uses experimental learning methods to teach Managerial Psychology, Advanced Organisational Behaviour, and Conflict and Negotiation.

"I want to create an engaging and collaborative classroom environment that inspires students to go beyond understanding the fundamental concepts, towards practical applications of them," says Koseoglu.

Dr Gamze Koseoglu

"I incorporate three main components into my teaching; employing experiential learning methods, creating an inclusive and engaging class climate, and combining a wide variety of teaching materials to satisfy the needs of students no matter their learning style."

Koseoglu, recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award in both the individual and group category, says she puts a lot of emphasis on making sure her students know they are her priority.

"I always reply to student emails on the same day, and frequently remind them that I am available to help when they need assistance."

An important part of preparing students for the world of work is pushing them outside their comfort zones.

"At the beginning of semester, I tell students that my goal for the end of semester is that they will feel very comfortable and excited to talk in class. I run activities outside and around the building, and assign students to different teams for these activities to help them build connections with each other and develop a sense of community."

Outside of the classroom, Koseoglu has served the teaching community by taking an active role in the annual Teaching and Learning Conference hosted by the Academy of Management for more than 500 participants. She also organises teaching workshops at various international conferences on such topics as 'designing the first day of class', 'teaching at a new institution', and 'designing business games'.

"Recognising and awarding our very best teachers, who engage and activate the learning of our students, signals our commitment to continuously improve teaching and learning at the University of Melbourne," says Professor Kofman.

Experimental learning lead by Dr Gamze Koseoglu

Find out more about the events, training opportunities and the support available at the William's Centre for Learning Advancement