Southern Cross University lecturers win Carrick Awards

Published 11 July 2006

Two Southern Cross University lecturers have been honoured in the prestigious 2006 Carrick Australian Awards.

Associate Professor Baden Offord and Associate Professor Alison Specht will each receive a Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in a special ceremony in Sydney on August 8.

The annual awards are sponsored by the Carrick Institute for Learning and Teaching in Higher Education.

Dr Offord was awarded his citation for "Pioneering cultural studies and cultural diversity programs in regional Australia; outstanding command of his field and inspiring transformative student learning."

He has established, taught and convened the Cultural Studies program at Southern Cross University since 1999 and is renowned for his work on cultural diversity and human rights.

In his award submission he showed how identity, place and belonging and an understanding of the importance of full participation in society by all people have underpinned his curriculum design, development and teaching practice.

Dr Offord said his teaching philosophy is based on effective and sympathetic guidance and advising of students.

"The innovative and highly successful Cultural Studies program which I developed and continue to lead demonstrates a sustained engagement in equity focussed curricula and continuing commitment to Australian cultural studies and cultural diversity through the integration of teaching and research," he said.

Dr Specht was awarded her citation for "Effective application of authentic, collaborative learning in an emerging discipline in environmental science."

Dr Specht's career as a university teacher has spanned more than 20 years and she has always included authentic components in her teaching.

"In authentic learning, student communities participate in activities reflective of the discipline and workplace culture rather than the culture of the traditional classroom," she said.

"This enhances their learning experience by favouring student ownership of the knowledge obtained, improving the meaning the students construct and the intellectual quality of their work."

Dr Specht used this approach with final-year students in environmental science and management, in a subject called Ecological Restoration and Monitoring, an emerging discipline in environmental science.

In this subject, members of the professional scientific community (many of whom were alumni of Southern Cross University) in both NSW and Queensland, were actively involved in research inquiry with the students, which culminated in a public conference.

Media contact: Zoe Satherley, media officer 6620 3144, 0439 132 095.