The recognition of our 2022 VC Award recipients was promoted as an event for ‘Celebrating Teaching Excellence at ANU’. In other words, a special time and place to recognise some of our colleagues as standout teachers, supervisors, tutors and/or demonstrators. Of course, the academic calendar grips tight to competing obligations but with good reason: over 120 registrants found time to share their appreciation of teaching at its best.
The evening was started off with a Welcome To Country from Paul Girrawah House Any non-spontaneous celebration needs some coordination and those in the background were fortunate to have the enthusiastic support of some notable champions of education at ANU. For instance, our two Emcees – Dr Katerina Teaiwa and Dr Timo Henckel – brought with them a long string of award experiences that highlighted the value of teacher recognition programs such as ours. Katerina and Timo spoke encouragingly of the impact that ‘education specific’ awards can have when building a balanced academic career.
Flying the flag, front of stage, the Vice-Chancellor was flanked by Professors Grady Venville (DVC-A) and Maryanne Dever (PVC-E&D). Together, as portfolio partners, Grady and Maryanne brought to the celebration a bold new story (in the form of a captivating three minute video) focusing attention on Grady’s academic projects and Maryanne’s educational initiatives; poised to transform the context of our teaching and learning experiences over coming years.
Good ‘celebrations’ have their poignant moments. At this event, we had the opportunity to recognise the culmination of Brian Schmidt’s oversight of the VC Awards. As of 2024, Brian will return to his astronomical heartland and once again share his passion for scholarship as a practicing Teaching Fellow.
Being a Senior (Teaching) Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (along with Timo Henckel) the two authenticated their enthusiasm for teaching by recognising the growth in membership of our own home-grown Education Fellowship Scheme (EFS). Unlike the VC Awards, the EFS program welcomes fellowship using a non-competitive professional framework as its entry criteria; adding depth to the professional status of our teaching community.
Having walked the stage, the 2022 VC Award recipients have now joined a long list of notable ANU teachers, all of whom can proudly attest to having made a positive difference to the student experience; and what’s more, added to our reputation as a research-based university that can also teach with distinction.
Returning to the point of celebration. In an unsolicited reaction to the night, the owner of Bella’s Feast (our catering service) offered the following reflection: “Wow, what a night! A HUGE thanks to your volunteers for helping out with food service. They did a fantastic job! A sincere and huge thanks for inviting us to contribute to your wonderful event this week – there really was a great buzz in the air. Well done to you and your team for putting together such a successful event!”
To conclude with a beginning: in the coming weeks, Maryanne Dever will invite nominations for the 2023 VC Awards. From within your college auspices this is a great opportunity to raise the profile of education as it happens – often well-deserving of greater attention, exposure, recognition – and of course celebration!
Photos of the recipients who attended on the night are below – and you can learn more and listen to all nominee and recipient here.
Tim Grace is the Manager of the Education Communities and Environments team at the Centre for Learning and Teaching.