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Educators reap national recognition

woman standing
University of Southern Queensland educators reap national recognition.

Four University of Southern Queensland educators have been recognised among the country’s best at the 2021 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

Professor Odette Best, Associate Professor Andrew Hemming, Dr Katie Burke and Yvonne O’Neill received 2021 Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

University of Southern Queensland Provost Professor Karen Nelson congratulated the four award recipients.

“These awards are a powerful recognition of Odette, Katie, Andrew and Yvonne’s commitment, dedication and innovative practices as educators,” Professor Nelson said.

“AAUT Citations are awarded in a very competitive national process, and these awards acknowledge Odette, Katie, Andrew and Yvonne’s excellence in supporting students and their learning.”

“We were delighted to see both Odette and Yvonne’s outstanding contributions to Indigenous Education recognised this year.”

Professor Odette Best (School of Nursing and Midwifery) was acknowledged for her leadership of Australian Nursing education in the pioneering development of Indigenous curricula and learning resources that support Yatdjuligin – learning in a good way.

“As a multi blood lined First Nations woman, this award recognises my contribution but also the millennia of my ancestors and Elders innate responsibilities of our teaching and learning,” she said.

Yvonne O’Neill’s (First Nations Outreach and Engagement) citation was for creating a transformative program that inspires and empowers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students to embrace their culture and pursue Higher Education.

“When I was told I was nominated for this, I wondered why me? To be mentioned alongside all of these people is an honour and a little surreal,” she said.

“My work with young Indigenous people is a lifelong journey for me, something that started with my great-grandmother, grandmothers and my mum. They planted the seed with me; I just keep sowing it.

“I'm lucky enough to be strong in culture, which is what gives me the strength each day to continue this journey and legacy of my old people and my parents.”

Associate Professor Andrew Hemming (School of Law and Justice) received a citation for developing innovative, integrated legal education resources that prepare students for a career in law using contemporary materials relevant to students and the legal profession.

“My first reaction was a mixture of pleasant surprise and relief,” he said.

“You put in a big effort with the award application and hope that it is going to be good enough. But, at the same time, you know it is a very competitive process, and there are many other worthy entrants.

“Over the years, I have benefited from a considerable amount of constructive student feedback, which has resulted in me producing better teaching materials.”

Dr Katie Burke (School of Education) was recognised for designing, enacting, evaluating and disseminating a pedagogy of care in a fully online creative arts classroom, bringing the studio learning experience to online students.

“Receiving this citation is a wonderful confirmation that quality creative arts learning can be facilitated online,” she said.

“I recognise the encouragement, feedback and support of my colleagues whose commitment to teaching excellence inspires me deeply and promotes my efforts to improve continually.”