Taking teaching excellence to new heights

Each year the Williams Centre for Learning Advancement recognises and celebrates the valuable contribution of our teachers at the Business and Economics Faculty through the Teaching Excellence Awards.

Professor Angela Paladino, Director of the WCLA.

The Faculty of Business and Economics Teaching Excellence Awards recognise the diverse facets of teaching through five distinct awards administered through the Williams Centre for Learning Advancement (WCLA).

Director of the WCLA, Professor Angela Paladino, said this year's awards were highly competitive with a record number of applications.

"The large number of applications demonstrates the high quality teaching taking place across FBE and reaffirms the valuable contributions of so many of our academics," Professor Paladino said.

"Thank you to everyone who applied and for the extraordinary effort that is dedicated to quality teaching endeavours across the Faculty."

Below, we spoke to the 2019 Winners on why teaching matters to them:

"The most rewarding thing about teaching is the effect that I can have on students’ thinking and their interests": Associate Professor Asjeet Lamba

Associate Professor Asjeet Lamba from the Department of Finance won the Ross Williams Career Achievement Award in Teaching, recognising his inspiration to students throughout his teaching career.

He highlighted his work with first-year Finance students for whom the early lectures are often an eye opener.

"I emphasise to students that they should question the theories we cover in class and keep asking themselves how these theories/models are operationalised in the real world and whether or not they actually work in practice," he said.

Professor Ross Williams (left) with Professor Asjeet Lamba (right)

"It’s seeing the students experience moments where they say to themselves, “wow, I’m really interested in this”: Associate Professor David Byrne

Associate Professor David Byrne, from the Centre for Market Design, Department of Economics, won the Carol Johnston Teaching Excellence Award for promoting excellent learning opportunities.

Associate Professor Byrne has revamped the econometrics curriculum to focus more on skills needed in industry, such as analysing supply and demand and running real-life experiments.

He said getting students excited about research or study can take a lot of work.

"Students have to feel confident that the understand the material being taught to them ... and also that the material is relevant for their lives and future careers they might pursue," he said.

Associate Professor Carol Johnston (left) with Associate Professor David Byrne (right)

"I don't think I've taught the same thing in the same way two semesters in a row": Mr Matthew Dyki

Mr Mathew Dyki, Department of Accounting, won the Excellence in Teaching Award for teachers holding a Level A or B appointment.

He said he really enjoys the team environment within the university.

"Everyone is focused on providing the best opportunities and experience to students and I find that really rewarding. I always ask myself 'how can we design the best outcomes for students and how do all of the activities combine in a whole of subject approach?'" he said.

Faculty Dean Paul Kofman (left) with Mr Matthew Dyki.

"I’m constantly amazed by how much I’ve learned from my interaction with students": Ms Demi Wang

Ms Demi Wang in the Department of Accounting won the Excellence in Tutoring Award. She teaches a subject that she says her students consider to be technical and with few real-world implications. To address this, she has designed learning activities that encourage students to build connections between the subject and real-life examples.

She says the learning journey never ends, for her or her students.

"My interaction with students keeps me updated about their interests and the world they are living in, enabling me to improve my teaching practices that work best for them," she said.

Faculty Dean Paul Kofman (left) with Ms Demi Wang.

"The collegial culture focusing on continuous improvement": Ms Shala Ahmed, Mr Eugene Skewes and Ms Sarah Sadiq

Ms Shala Ahmed, Mr Eugene Skewes and Ms Sarah Sadiq won the award for Excellence in Teaching (Team Category). Ms Ahmed lectures in the breadth subject Strategic Marketing, and Mr Skewes and Ms Sadiq tutor in the same subject.

Their philosophy focuses on experiential learning using a vast array of learning resources. Students learn how concepts apply in the real world and develop their abilities for the workplace

Ms Ahmed, the Subject Co-ordinator, said the team's ability to work together is critical to their teaching excellence.

"We play to our strengths and all contribute differently but equally based on our industry and educational experiences – and of course we all get along well."

Another focus for the team is industry knowledge. Ms Ahmed says each tutor has to study an industry category in depth so that they can teach the subject to a high standard.

"Students appreciate our explanations and “stories” from our work experience in industry as it prepares them well for future employment – they can see what we teach is very useful for their careers and many have been inspired to major in marketing after this subject," she said.

Faculty Dean Professor Paul Kofman (left) with (L-R): Ms Shala Ahmed, Mr Eugene Skewes, and Ms Sarah Sadiq.