Four RMIT Vietnam academics were recognised for their outstanding commitment to teaching innovation and student learning at the 2019 RMIT Vietnam Excellence in Learning & Teaching Award ceremony this week.
During his opening remark at the ceremony, RMIT Vietnam Vice President (Academic) and Head of School of Communication & Design, Professor Rick Bennett said that the Excellence in Learning & Teaching Awards recognise educators who have gone above and beyond the teaching attributes that RMIT University highly values.
“They’ve taken a scholarly approach to teaching, they’ve reflected and grown from their reflections, and they’ve engaged learners in a dynamic, learner-centred approach,” Professor Bennett said. “These awards are based on RMIT Global selection criteria and the application process is rigorous and robust, and teachers really need to demonstrate the highest levels of excellence to be in the running.”
The 2019 RMIT Vietnam Excellence in Learning & Teaching Awards honoured awardees from two categories: Teaching Innovation, and Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.
Accounting Associate Lecturer from the School of Business & Management, Clara Nkhoma was presented with the Teaching Innovation award for her success in implementing and sustaining a scholarly, systematic, and reflective teaching practice.
“Clara’s focus on the creative application of technology to enhance the student experience and learning in a traditionally challenging discipline has been shown to have had a positive impact through student feedback, improved results, and peer recognition,” said RMIT Vietnam Director of Academic and Student Services Glen O’Grady.
Ms Nkhoma was delighted to accept the award and showed her gratitude to the Learning and Teaching department, her manager and colleagues for their unwavering support, and to her students for inspiring her to do her best.
She believed that the “development of an evidence-based approach to designing and delivering more engaging courses that enable students to develop both technical and employability skills” brought her the award.
The three other awardees from the School of Business & Management and the School of Communication & Design, Dr Reza Akbari, Associate Lecturer Nguyen Thi Huong Giang and Dr Rajkishore Nayak were presented with the Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning award.
Acting Discipline Lead of Logistics & Supply Chain Management Dr Reza Akbari was awarded for his commitment to encouraging students to learn through authentic, industry relevant experiences and assessments that are responsive to diverse student needs.
“Reza has demonstrated a commitment to developing engaging experiences and taking an informed approach to pedagogic design,” Mr O’Grady said. “Outside of the classroom, he has leveraged his industry connections to build a flexible and inspiring learning environment that positively impacts students learning outcomes.”
Dr Akbari was inspired to apply for the award after his supervisor received the Award for Teaching Excellence during the time he conducted his doctoral candidature. Dr Akbari said getting the award was a dream come true.
“Dreams don't work unless you take action,” Dr Akbari shared. “The surest way to make your dreams come true is to live them.”
After only three short years at RMIT Vietnam, Digital Marketing Associate Lecturer Nguyen Thi Huong Giang from the School of Business & Management was honoured with an award for having a dramatic impact on the student experience within her program.
“Demonstrating dedication to an inclusive and authentic student learning experience, Giang has leveraged her considerable industry experience and connections to inspire and engage students,” Mr O’Grady said. “Drawing from a strong teaching philosophy, Giang has created meaningful learning experiences that have resulted in significant improvements in student feedback on challenging courses.”
Ms Giang’s said her objective in teaching is to make sure that “students in my class do not only study well, but also study with fun, with excitement, and with high engagement and inspiration. At the end of the day, it is not only about how much students learn within the classroom, but it is also about how much they can apply outside the classroom.”
The fourth awardee who was presented the Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning award was Dr Rajkishore Nayak, a Fashion Merchandising Senior Lecturer from the School of Communication & Design. Dr Nayak has already established himself as a leader in his specific discipline in just over two years at RMIT Vietnam.
“Rajkishore has had a significant impact on student learning through his enthusiastic and professional approach, strong engagement with industry and use of authentic assessment that clearly demonstrates a commitment to the student experience,” Mr O’Grady said.
“Through the strong infusion of real-world practices in the classroom, he ensures students are well prepared for the world of work.”
The four award winners will now have the opportunity to apply for an RMIT Global Teaching Award in the future.
Story: Ha Hoang