Swinburne University of Technology: National recognition for Swinburne teaching excellence and innovation – India Education Diary


Three innovative teaching excellence projects at Swinburne University of Technology have received Citation Awards at this year’s Australian Awards for University Teaching.  

The awards spanned initiatives across Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Media, Film and Education. 

Professor Sarah Maddison, Swinburne’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education, Experience and Employability) congratulates the award recipients and is excited to see teaching excellence at Swinburne recognised nationally.  

“Swinburne is known for our deep industry connections and our technology-led approach to learning and teaching. It’s fantastic to see our staff recognised and celebrated for this by Universities Australia in this year’s Australian Awards for University Teaching.   

“We are transforming the future of education and our dedicated teachers are continuously pushing boundaries to help create enriched learning experiences and outcomes for our students,” says Professor Maddison. 

A tech-led approach to nursing 
The inaugural team behind Swinburne’s Bachelor of Nursing received a Citation Award for establishing nursing excellence and clinical best practice. Professor Georgina Willetts, Dr Loretta Garvey and Laurina Nieuwoudt were commended on implementing a course that is innovative, contemporary and sufficiently agile to respond to the changing needs of 21st century healthcare professionals.  

The program was developed in response to the gaps the team identified in existing Bachelor of Nursing programs in Australia, using the novel underpinning of ‘Strengths Based Nursing’ developed out of McGill University in Montreal Canada. Led by Professor Georgina Willetts, the team developed a curriculum that uses blended and active learning approaches including gamification, case studies, authentic simulations and train-the-trainer methods to inspire the ethos of learning to think like a nurse. This diverse approach to teaching thoroughly prepares students for the real clinical environment so they can hit the ground running when they begin their graduate roles. 
Behind the scenes experience  
Senior Lecturer, Cinema and Screen Studies, Dr Jessica Balanzategui has been awarded a Citation Award for implementing industry-engaged Media and Cinema and Screen Studies curricula.  

Dr Balanzategui’s approach has enabled Swinburne Media and Screen Studies students to graduate with real world industry experience and contacts thanks to a range of industry-engaged learning experiences with major screen and digital media companies.  

Students have had the chance to learn directly from industry, including from experts at Village Roadshow, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI),  Matchbox Pictures and Adobe. For instance, first year Screen Studies students have had the opportunity to contribute material to ACMI’s new permanent exhibition and an innovative digital visitor experience app, Constellations.  

The Constellation
Swinburne students contributed material to ACMI’s innovative digital visitor experience app, Constellations.  
From placement students to real-world consultants 
Swinburne’s Media and Communications Course Director, Associate Professor Rob Gill has received a Citation Award for his unique approach to developing students’ active learning and employability through industry placements which facilitate solving real-word problems. 

Associate Professor Gill identified a gap in the curriculum in terms of opportunities for students to make decisions with real implications in an authentic work environment. In response to this, he introduced professional partnerships to the course, giving students genuine issues and opportunities to work directly on. These live projects give students experience in problem solving and helped them to become expert consultants developing solutions. Students in this program now successfully and independently manage major communication campaigns and consultancies with partners including Flinders Island Council, Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW), AMCOR Australia, Mt Wellington Cablecars, Tadpac, Healthe Care Australia and Glenorchy District Football Club. 

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