Two outstanding lecturers and an innovative teaching team have won the RMIT Vietnam 2015 Excellence in Learning and Teaching awards, presented by the Vice-Chancellor Martin Bean CBE and RMIT Vietnam President Professor Gael McDonald.
Individual teaching awards were won by Dr Blooma John, Business Information Systems lecturer at the Saigon South campus, and law lecturer Dr Quynh Thuy Quach at the Hanoi City campus.
Both lecturers are in the Department of Management, Law and Business IT and Logistics, within the Centre of Commerce and Management.
The third award went to the Student Support team from the Centre for English, led by Joel Swenddal. The team included: Travis Henry, Trevor Edmunds, Raymond Gustafson, George Chapman, Brendan Smith, Isabella Van Staden, Sean Lopez, Adriano Herdman, Eleanor Dunlop, Jonathan Western, Ronnie Hill, June Lee, James Block, Robert Ongcoy, Robert Worrell, Jonathan Western, Michael Owen, Peter Moore, Thomas Payne, Luke Kemp, Crystal Montouri, Donald Morrison, Scott Millner, Calum Nicholson, Urica Lopez and Eric Asato.
Announcing the awards, Vice President Academic Professor Beverley Webster said that outstanding teachers are those who put their students at the centre.
“They continue to ask: How can I better help my students to engage in their learning, to be challenged, to be confident and to experiment?” she said.
“How can I design a curriculum, a set of learning experiences and assessment opportunities that are authentic, are relevant and will prepare my students to be ready for work and for life?”
Prof. Webster described Dr Bloom as a teacher who is willing to trial online learning opportunities for students and has developed an evidence-based approach to designing blended learning experiences.
“Dr John demonstrates reflective practice and she is proactive in sharing her teaching approaches, successes and challenges with her colleagues,” she said.
Dr John, who has worked at RMIT Vietnam for almost six years, credited her teaching mentors and guides over the years including her teacher Sister Dalmatia and her RMIT Vietnam team “who always challenge” her.
Prof. Webster said that Dr Quynh was “driven as a teacher by her understanding of the challenges faced by business students in Vietnam studying in the discipline of law, and is distinguished by her scholarly approach to meeting this challenge.
“She actively and methodically explores effective teaching strategies for stimulating student’s learning, develops their skills in critical thinking and argument construction and uses authentic and relevant case studies and assignments drawn from local situations to stimulate their curiosity.”
Receiving the award Dr Quynh thanked her colleagues in the law team: “They tolerate my mistakes and help me to correct them, and they constantly teach me to do things in a new way.”
Presenting the team award to Joel Swenddal, Prof. Webster said the Student Support Team in the Centre for English has been instrumental in implementing a revised support model for learners in the English for University and Pathways programs.
She said three learning and teaching goals had guided their work: taking an individualised, learner-centred approach to language and literacy instruction, fostering students’ independence in learning, and building students’ confidence and motivation to achieve their individual learning goals.
“This team has achieved remarkable success in all of these areas through a targeted, integrated and comprehensive suite of services planned and delivered over a span of two years.”
Mr Swenddal said the English team had worked to support individual students’ learning needs better.
“We organised group study hall events to focus on common problems and used online products to help address problems challenging individual students,” he said.