21 November 2013

Dr Jackie O’Flaherty University of South Australia lecturers Dr Jackie O’Flaherty and David Morris have each won national recognition for their contribution to excellence in teaching at the Office for Learning and Teaching 2013 Australian Awards for University Teaching and a $25,000 cash prize.

University of South Australia Vice Chancellor Professor David Lloyd says being acknowledged nationally for a commitment to excellence in teaching is a prestigious honour.

“Being a great teacher is not only one of the most important roles to play in society, it also requires innovation, an understanding of the psychology of learning and a real commitment to students,” Prof Lloyd says.

“I’m delighted that Jackie and David have been acknowledged for the great work they have done over many years to ensure UniSA students get the best from their experience at University.”

Dr Jacqueline O’Flaherty, who was one of only 13 teachers in Australia to receive an Award for Teaching Excellence, was a successful research scientist before a health scare and a reassessment of her life led to the realisation that her true passion lay in teaching and sharing her excitement about science.

She began lecturing in Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of South Australia in 2006 and has developed and taught a range of biosciences courses for undergraduate nursing and midwifery students. 

An early adopter of new technologies, Jackie has focused her work on online learning, particularly for students who live at a distance, to ensure their learning experience is the best it can be.

The work she has done to build inclusive and transformational teaching practice, including the development of virtual classrooms and peer mentoring, has been adopted broadly by UniSA’s  Health Sciences Division, across UniSA and in Open Universities Australia courses to assist learners across a range of modes (‘here, near and far’ students).

Her students attest to the strength of the relationship she develops even across distance, through her wholehearted engagement, expert voice and academic guidance.

David MorrisDavid Morris, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art, Architecture and Design, was one of nine people across Australia acknowledged with an Award for Programs that Enhance Learning. 

The award recognises his work over the past 20 years to enhance architecture and design education through experiential learning for students of the Design and Construction program.

UniSA’s Student Design and Construction program is Australasia’s longest running and largest teaching program of its type.

Over its 20 year history, the degree program has engaged students of architecture, interior architecture, industrial design, construction management and civil engineering in the design and construction of many community projects in very remote locations and extreme climates in Australia and overseas.

The works include everything from the award winning Patjarr Visitor and Community Arts Centre in the Gibson Desert to the ‘Line of Lode' Miner's Memorial in Broken Hill.

Morris says the goal of the Program is to enhance student education beyond a theoretical understanding of design by providing experiential learning opportunities which engage students in all stages of the architectural design process from concept to construction. 

The Program is highly regarded by the architectural profession and continues to attract teaching, design and community awards and has been the subject of numerous reviews and articles.

The awards are administered by the Commonwealth Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT). This most recent success follows on from the four OLT Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning which were awarded to UniSA staff earlier this year.

Media contact: Michèle Nardelli office: 08 8302 0966 mobile: 0418 823 673 email: Michele.nardelli@unisa.edu.au

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