Teaching context and philosophy

Teaching context and philosophy


As a UNSW Scientia Education Fellow, I foster networks within UNSW, and across the sector both nationally and internationally to develop and share leading edge innovation, showcase our practice and people, and to generate novel ideas to enhance the UNSW student experience. 

As the Discipline Head, I lead my team to deliver anatomy education to learners in a range of programs and contexts. While this has required a flexible approach, I am strategic in leading my discipline, drawing focus to discipline application, problem-solving and reflection. I focus my efforts on the design of a supportive constructively-aligned curriculum that leverages technology and innovation to support learning, and in leading by example.

My discipline, anatomy, is a fundamental medical science discipline for safe and effective practice of medicine and allied health practice, yet students don't always appreciate its relevance to their future profession. Anatomy is also a challenging discipline as it requires students to digest complex relational information and to use this data to build a three dimensional model in their minds that they can adapt to simulate how altered structure may impact function and relations. As an additional cognitive load, students learn anatomy from human donor bodies – this involves them confronting their deep notions of death and life...of what it means to be a human.  Thus, I believe anatomy is uniquely placed to bring together diverse learning paradigms such as a hidden 'humanistic' curriculum with technology-enhanced learning. 

Teaching Philosophy

I have a student-centred and relational teaching philosophy that is evidence-based and pedagogically led. I focus my efforts on designing a supportive learning environment coupled with a constructively aligned curriculum that thoughtfully integrates technology to enhance the student experience and learning.  As a discipline leader, I am committed to working through partnerships and bring a mentorship-mindset: I support academic/professional teams by leading through example, while in student partnerships, I focus on understanding experience, thus supporting students to find solutions to their challenges. In all contexts, I focus on being available, accessible, and present, and in engaging with diverse thought to ultimately co-design creative solutions. I focus on problem-solving, creative thinking, teamwork and reflective practice, believing firmly that these high-order skills enable mastery and high degree of competency by framing learning in meaningful ways to the learner.

I strive to optimise every opportunity to engage with students, whether in person, or online, and to scaffold learning in an inquiry-driven supportive environment. I focus on making explicit integration of learning activities with other disciplines through clinical and functional relevance, and correlation with medical imaging, health, biomechanics, or biomedical applications. I provide multiple opportunities for students to find answers to their questions, to construct their knowledge as they discover ‘for themselves’ and problem-solve.  I believe in empowering students to advocate for their learning needs. Students are encouraged to provide feedback on what is working and to proactively ask for the help, when required.

Key Strategic Initiatives

I have led the development of several educational resources and learning experiences to support and enhance students’ learning in my discipline and at UNSW:

  1. Best Network: Anatomy Lead (2014-2019): created more than 40 learning packages used by academics across Australia and beyond
  2. Integration of Blended Learning in Teaching Practice (Awarded 2016 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence & AAUT Citation)
  3. Teaching Technology Toolkit: a platform to support technology-enabled learning
  4. Healthy Universities Initiative: co-lead an initiative of the Scientia Education Academy to support student wellbeing
  5. Virtual Anatomy Resources e.g., Virtual Bone Box: designed and developed VR and AR learning resources to enable student learning at their own pace and in their own time
  6. Digital and Technology Uplift: Anatomy courses (2017-2019): blended learning adoption in anatomy courses to adopt best and leading practice
  7. Digital uplift of Phase I Medicine Ageing and Endings (AE) A and AE B courses (2017-2021): led the adoption of blending learning that provided students with pre- and post- formative review activities, as well as concept videos for core course content
  8. Integrating Self Determination Theory into curriculum design (2018-2021): integrating SDT into Medicine Phase I courses (AEA and AEB)
  9. Transition of Anatomy from face-to-face delivery to remote delivery (2020-2021): to enable continued anatomy education during the pandemic
  10. Integration of Complete Anatomy into Medicine Program (2021)