Teaching context and philosophy

Teaching context and philosophy

The philosophies underpinning my teaching delivery and curriculum design are a strong research-teaching nexus, building a learning community and the development of professional skills. I am passionate about helping the students develop skills such as critical thinking and an understanding of the molecular basis of drug action that will allow them to be life-long learners and have the ability to adapt to the continual advancement of scientific knowledge and clinical practice.

My teaching activities span both science and medicine programs, incorporating all modes of teaching. In my teaching, I focus on developing my students’ skills in the critical evaluation of information and developing a community of practice within the discipline of pharmacology. To achieve these aims I have embraced a multimodal approach to teaching over many years.

I am the primary convener of third-year courses, Molecular Pharmacology, and Drug Discovery Design and Development, which draw on my expertise in molecular pharmacology and drug discovery. I also teach in Phases 1 and 2 of the medicine program. Over my 17 years of teaching at UNSW I have contributed to all the courses offered by the Department of Pharmacology as well as courses from other, Departments, Schools and Faculties.

I have a mean MyExperience overall satisfaction score for the past 4 years of 5.53 ± 0.2, 97.5 ± 3.2 % agree. The courses I convene have an overall satisfaction score of 4.87 ± 0.27, 89.8 ± 5.6 % agree (2019-2022).

In both my teaching and in my education leadership roles I strive to build a supportive encouraging environment for students and staff that builds communities. Some of the ways I achieve this include, embedding an online ‘social club’ in a course and running careers workshops in 3rd-year courses inviting back course alumni to talk about their jobs in industry. In my role as Chair of the Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Toxicology Education Section, I organised monthly Zoom catchups in 2021 to provide support and connections for academics across Australia and New Zealand during the times of COVID lockdowns and working from home.

Feedback given and received supports the learning and development of the students I teach, the courses I convene and my professional development. I undertake continuous review and improvement of all my teaching activities based on student feedback but also knowledge gained from literature and education presentations. Feedback-driven review and refinement is a vital part of learning and as such, I am committed to the development of my students’ skills in giving constructive feedback and responding to feedback.

I have embraced a blended approach to teaching over many years. This is exemplified by the pharmacology online/video-based prelab project. (Awarded a VCAT contribution to student learning, 2016). Since then, I have continued to develop online learning resources and approaches to increase student engagement and learning in an online environment.

I have used many approaches to enhance my teaching and the courses I convene. These have included the use of a course-wide immersive teaching approach, the development of authentic assessment tasks, and flipped-peer lead classes. The esteem in which my teaching innovation is regarded is evidenced by multiple presentations at National conferences and invitations to present at UNSW Connections in Learning and Teaching Seminars, the Faculty of Medicine and Health new staff induction day and MEDU workshops.