Senior Lecturers Lynn Gribble and David Kellerman and Associate Professor Adrienne Torda have been recognised at the 2020 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) for outstanding achievements in university teaching.

Universities Australia run the annual awards program, which is the nation’s premier recognition for university educators.

Associate Professor Adrienne Torda from UNSW Medicine & Health was awarded a citation for creating and sharing innovative and effective tools to improve student engagement and critical thinking about medical ethics. More than a decade ago, A/Prof. Torda recognised the difficulty medical students faced in grasping the importance of proficiency in medical ethics when applying their knowledge to real clinical situations. She saw the need for innovative, consistent training for students in medical ethics and created several online tools and modules to immerse them in lifelike clinical scenarios. Her programs have been so effective they have influenced teaching of medical ethics across the globe, including at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka, University of Wisconsin in the USA and the University of Hong Kong.

Senior Lecturer Dr David Kellermann from UNSW Engineering was recognised for bringing higher education to the forefront of global technology with a deeply integrated, collaborative AI-driven and human-centred model preparing students for the modern workplace. Concerned by the lack of collaboration, digital technology and accessible/inclusive design in university lectures, Dr Kellermann began using online, interactive, multi-user platforms to conduct his classes. He’s the first academic worldwide to use collaboration software Microsoft Teams (MS Teams) for higher education teaching, increasing class communication by 900 per cent and achieving student satisfaction scores of 99 per cent. He also developed a data-driven and human-centred “question bot” using artificial intelligence, where students can type a query into an MS Teams channel and the bot quickly finds them answers. The bot greatly enhances student learning by either providing answers it has learned from a previous encounter or looking up a tutor to assign the questions to in order to prompt a response.

Dr Lynn Gribble, a Senior Lecturer from UNSW Business School, received a citation for a decade of creating, sharing and advocating deeply personalised, learner-centred and innovative online teaching strategies for Business students using readily available technologies. Dr Gribble has used technology creatively and innovatively to support students as individuals, even in large online classes. Her understanding that students come from wide-ranging demographic and linguistic/cultural backgrounds, coupled with the potential for social and academic isolation while learning online, led her to create solutions that give a personalised feel to her courses. An example is including her voice in various teaching materials and including voice recordings to soften, strengthen and customise students’ assignment feedback, which worked across all class sizes and whether they were on or off campus, online or blended. She transformed curriculum design and delivery and course evaluations, and as a result her student satisfaction ratings are consistently very high at 92 to 100 per cent.

Professor Rorden Wilkinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education & Student Experience at UNSW, congratulated the three citation awardees for their outstanding teaching practice and contributions to student learning.

“These awards reflect the hard work, dedication and commitment to delivering an outstanding experience that is the hallmark of a UNSW education.  I am delighted that Adrienne, David and Lynn have been recognised in this way.  They are true champions of educational excellence and we are proud to work with them.”