Katerina and Timo on ANU campus

National award for two outstanding ANU educators

The Promoting Excellence Team in CLT is absolutely delighted to congratulate and celebrate Professor Katerina Teaiwa (College of Asia & The Pacific) and Dr Timo Henckel (College of Business & Economics / College of Asia & the Pacific) on their Australian National Teaching Award success. This is fantastic recognition for ANU teaching staff and ANU more broadly.

Professor Katerina gained two awards, a ‘National Teaching Excellence Award’ and the highly prestigious ‘Australian University Teacher of the Year’. Since 2007, Katerina has been instrumental in building Australia’s first undergraduate program in Pacific Studies. Katerina has been an innovative educational leader who has made an outstanding contribution to Pacific studies in Australia and the world. In 2010, Katerina designed and delivered the highly creative Pacific Islands field school taking students to Fiji, Samoa, Honolulu, the Solomon Islands and Palau.

Students have a fun, interactive and interdisciplinary experience engaging Pacific culture, heritage, the arts, environment, resilience and creativity. This is especially important as the dynamics between foreign interests and Pacific Islander agency and self-determination are themes that run through Katerina’s courses.

Katerina can show students the impact of climate change and introduce students to Pacific arts and environmental justice. By giving students opportunities to connect with Pacific Studies partners and networks, students experience critical, engaged, and Indigenous Pacific centred teaching and learning. This ensures Katerina’s students think out of the box.

Indeed, students are encouraged to embark on a metaphorical voyaging canoe to gain a sense of the Pacific’s vast and diverse social and cultural dimensions where no one gets left behind. In this way, Katerina has been an inclusive champion of diversity. Listen to Katerina talk about her teaching in the video below, which was produced by CLT as part of her submission:

One of Katerina’s students said, “[Katerina] is a fierce role model for ethnically and culturally diverse students. Until meeting her, I had encountered very few strong women of colour in my university education… As a fearless champion of diversity, Katerina taught me a lot about thinking critically about ideas and institutions. She consistently challenged me to view the world through a more intersectional and inclusive lens.”

Dr Timo Henckel, another exceptional educational leader, was recognised with a national Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

Dr Timo Henckel is renowned among his colleagues for humanising economics. His inspiring approach encourages students to look at economics more emotively than is often the case. So empowered, his students apply higher-order thinking skills to nimbly approach the resolution of problems that reflect their own resilience and balanced judgement. The distinctive teaching approach leaves a lasting impression on students – well beyond their university days.

Through modelling, Timo genuinely transforms economics into a living and dynamic social science. Timo frequently draws on his training as a professional actor, inviting students to engage with economic scenarios emotively, and expressing surprise and excitement. He tells stories that move and touch students enough to see and interact with the world of economics more perceptively.

As Timo elicits a rich emotional response from his students, he also builds their self-esteem and sense of wonderment; he notes, “Emotive teaching is like magic,” it is an approach to learning that not only transforms the classroom into a space where students feel invigorated, challenged and safe, but also shapes economics into a riveting and puissant discipline.

Timo values students’ mental health, knowing they appreciate his concern for their overall wellbeing. Timo makes sure that at the centre of emotive teaching is student welfare. Indeed, Timo’s sustained devotion to education has been previously recognised, including two teaching prizes from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2007 and the Crawford School (ANU) in 2008, the CBE Award for Teaching Excellence in 2019 and the ANU VC’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020. Listen to Timo below in this short interview done for his 2020 award:

Great work, Katerina and Timo. You have definitely made ANU a more inspiring place to study and work.

The Promoting Excellence Team within CLT supports the ANU VC awards and Educational Fellowship Scheme as well as the Australian National Teaching Award. For information on how to apply for these pathways to reward and recognition please contact the team at promotingexcellence@anu.edu.au.

March 2022

Anna Buckley is a Senior Promoting Excellence Officer and AAUT mentor with the Promoting Excellence Team at the Centre for Learning and Teaching (CLT)