Carolyn Hendriks

Built upon diversity with versatile solutions in CAP

It is well known that democracies thrive on diversity – this is equally true for Carolyn Hendriks, Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the Crawford School in the ANU College of Asia and the Pacific (CAP), and since February 2021, the Associate Dean of Education (ADE) for CAP. Gaining an understanding of Carolyn’s appreciation of diversity is just the start of unpacking her more complete profile, which is best described as versatile. The intersection of academic interests and professional roles is seamless: “I’ve always had a strong interest in the education aspects of my role as an academic – they complement each other – I think there’s quite a lot to learn from democracy and the ways in which civics and citizenship crossover into education.”

It’s evident that Carolyn’s scholarly approach to blending her teaching, research and engagement activities finds expression as an ADE. Propelled by pandemic forces, Carolyn has worked closely with all teaching staff from the four schools that comprise CAP: the Crawford School of Public Policy, the School of Culture, History and Languages, the School of Regulation and Global Governance and the Coral Bell School of Asia and Pacific Affairs. “These four schools have quite distinct and different types of teaching and they have their own educational committees. So part of my role as the ADE in our college is to really support the Deputy Directors (Education) that do education work in the schools.”

Supporting the work of teaching staff, particularly through disrupted times, is high on Carolyn’s list of responsibilities. “There’s a lot of project and reform-work going on, and it’s important that the particular perspectives and the innovations that are coming from conveners can be factored into those reform projects. I see my role as both representing and bringing those innovations to these reform projects, but also ensuring that they’re going to work on the ground.”

Carolyn doesn’t bear the weight of teaching support on her shoulders alone. “A big part of my day-to-day work is actually engaging with an enormous team of professional staff and digital education services teams that do provide important face-to-face work with our teachers and our students and supporting those professional staff, getting their expertise in the work that I do. It’s all part of making sure that I can best represent the college, but also contribute to the ANU-wide education reforms.”

From Carolyn’s perspective, these challenging times have provided opportunities to do things differently and learn from the experiences. “Probably the biggest lesson and learning that’s going to come out of this period has been… firstly… that many conveners across our college have engaged in quite radical curriculum reform in order to deliver and achieve the kind of learning outcomes that they’re trying at the course and program level. … secondly … and that has led to some very innovative and new forms of assessment. It’s led to much more interactive teaching. So the paradox actually in some parts of our college is that there’s more interaction in some classrooms than there ever has been before, particularly with the core convener.”

Beyond people, Carolyn’s background in ‘environments’ is ever engaged. “I’m really focusing on trying to support our academic and professional staff in ensuring that they can teach innovatively under these changing conditions. And that means providing conveners with opportunities to deliver in high-quality environments, whether that’s high-quality online environments or high-quality classroom environments, where they might offer hybrid lessons or what we call dual offerings and/or provide students who do want to come to campus with safe opportunities to do so. This delivery aspect, if you like, of our teaching and learning, is really a big part of my work at the moment. And that’s not just the facilities and the technology part of it, it’s the human resources and the important work that goes on in working with the education leaders in our schools, and also the professional staff that support them, to try and make sure that the kinds of teaching that our staff undertake that it can be supported and that can deliver excellence to students.”

Carolyn Hendriks with some of her students

Oct 2021

Carolyn Hendriks is the Associate Dean (Education) in the College of Asia & the Pacific

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