Teaching Excellence in a Dynamic Environment

William's Centre for Learning Advancement - towards advanced teaching and enhanced student experience.

The launch of the new Williams Centre for Learning Advancement (WCLA) marked an important moment in the Faculty's history, cementing our commitment to improving teaching quality and enhancing the student experience.

At the official launch, the Centre's namesake Professor Ross Williams reminisced over the journey of the then Teaching and Learning unit, in which he played a significant role. A solid foundation of student support was laid under the leadership of Professor Williams. Now, as the teaching landscape evolves, the Faculty has become acutely aware that student expectations and needs have also changed said Dean, Professor Paul Kofman, speaking at the launch.

Launch cake
Prof Ross Williams, Prof Paul Kofman, Prof Nilss Olekalns and Prof Angela Paladino celebrate the official opening of the Williams Centre for Learning Advancement

"The tertiary education environment is no longer the first point of contact for teaching content, rather students now have a multitude of outlets where they can gauge this information," said Professor Kofman.

"They still seek our expertise as educators, but we face challenges surrounding how best to convey our expertise and share this knowledge to assist the learning of our students.

"Students still seek an exciting university experience, look to lecturers as experts and role models and increasingly search for applicability of their learning to maximise their career prospects. Academics are often relied upon to evolve with these changes without the necessary tools and understanding to do so."

The WCLA offers a variety of support services informed by international best practice; professional development programs, one-to-one consultations, support for transition to online and flipped models of teaching, and assistance with teaching quality evaluation, teaching grant applications and collaborative research opportunities. According to WCLA Director Angela Paladino, 2016 has been significantly focused on capacity building and as this continues to grow, so too will the service offering.

"Competitive teaching research funds to better understand our students and make an impact in business education are high on our agenda," said Professor Paladino.

"We will continue to inspire staff through the growth of our International Visitor Program, which has included esteemed visitors such as Professor Russell Belk and Professor Terry Cobb, and assist more staff in the roll-out of blended models of learning. We will increasingly involve staff in addressing areas of concern and take a lead in prompting conversations."

The Faculty of Business and Economics has always recognised the need for teaching quality and has invested significantly in improving the student experience over the years.

The Williams Centre for Learning Advancement Team: Ms Rebecca Todd, Dr Camille Dickson-Deane, Prof Angela Paladino, Dr Angelito Calma, Ms Sonia Puglielli and Ms Valerie Cotronei-Baird.

"What the WCLA seeks to do is to instill academics with the knowledge and tools to go about maximising the student experience in the classroom, be it in the lecture theatre, tutorials, seminars, workshops, blended models or online," explained Professor Kofman.

This is a significant strategic priority for the Faculty of Business and Economics.