Our award-winning teachers

UQ values the hard work our teachers put in to improving the teaching and learning experience. We’re proud to celebrate their success through our internal award program, which qualifies them for national recognition.

Each year our best and brightest are recognised with the UQ Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards. Academic and general staff can win in one of three categories. As a winner of the UQ awards, you'll be invited to submit an application to be considered for the Australian Awards for University Teaching.

UQ also recognises excellence in Higher Degree by Research supervision. Visit the Graduate School website to find out more about these awards.

We have a long tradition of winners both at UQ and nationally. This year's winners of each award are listed below.

Apply for UQ awards

Visit the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation website for more information about applying for the UQ Awards for Excellence and the Australian Awards for University Teaching.

This includes information about award categories, key dates, assessment criteria and submitting an expression of interest.

ITaLI holds information sessions to provide an overview of the award schemes available at UQ, and to assist you with writing your application.

2018 UQ Awards for Teaching Excellence

These awards recognise individuals and teams who have made a broad contribution to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching at UQ. Each winner receives a certificate and a grant of $10,000.


Dr Kay Colthorpe
School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Kay Colthorpe is an 18 year veteran teacher in the field of Biomedical Science, and her sustained excellence in teaching is demonstrated by her many successes and achievements as a teacher, course coordinator and curriculum designer, across biomedical science courses and many allied health programs. 

Her teaching is underpinned by the conviction that high impact learning experiences occur when students develop a deep understanding of their knowledge and learning processes. 

She uses an evidence-based approach to design innovative curricula, engaging inquiry-based laboratory classes and inventive assessment tasks to create an effective learning environment and support student learning. Students are given opportunities and prompts to critically reflect on both their understanding and learning behaviours, helping them develop into highly self-reflective and independent learners. 

As a mentor to other teaching-focused academics, post-graduate students and teaching and research academics, she creates a supportive and productive environment to enhance teaching and pedagogic research.


Associate Professor Kate O’Brien
School of Chemical Engineering

Associate Professor Kate O’Brien builds resilience in graduates and encourages life-long learning by teaching students to solve their own problems. Associate Professor O’Brien uses compassion to inspire students to overcome their obstacles and move forward in their studies and fosters a culture of deep learning and shared responsibility. 

She motivates students by placing their learning in context, making clear connections between what they already know and what they will learn next, as well as drawing links between what they are learning and what they will do as graduate engineers. 

Associate Professor O’Brien mentors other academics and tutors across disciplinary boundaries to build connections between teaching staff and students.

2018 UQ Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning

These awards recognise learning and teaching support programs and services that make an outstanding contribution to the quality of student learning and the student experience at UQ. Recipients receive a certificate and a grant of $10,000.


UQ Drama: Building Pathways to Creative Careers
School of Communication and Arts / School of Languages and Cultures

Dr Stephen Carleton, Dr Bernadette Cochrane, Dr Chris Hay, Associate Professor Rob Pensalfini

The UQ Drama: Building Pathways to Creative Careers project combines activity from within and outside the curricular drama program, which are designed to work together to maximise students’ engagement across their studies, and to enhance their employability upon graduation.

The program combines:

  • annual cohort building activities
  • ongoing curriculum redesign
  • extra-curricular opportunities, including the UQ Drama Creative Fellowship and the UQ Drama Employability Initiative.

The aim of the project is to recruit and retain outstanding students in the Drama program by providing a robust, cutting-edge curriculum, developing a strong sense of cohort and creating ‘well-rounded’ graduates.

The innovation and distinctiveness of the project lies in its imaginative recognition that a well-rounded drama graduate is the sum of their curricular and extra-curricular activities which take place in an inclusive, collaborative and creative environment. Systematic planning ensures that each element makes its own contribution to the project at large while leveraging the knowledges gained from the other elements.

2018 UQ Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

These awards recognise and reward individuals or teams who make a significant contribution to student learning in a specific area of responsibility and who are acknowledged for their achievements within a faculty or the wider university community. Recipients receive a certificate and a grant of $4,000.


Clinical Science Lead Educators
Faculty of Medicine

Dr Janet Clarkson, Dr Sharon Darlington, Dr Louise Green, Dr Mary Kelleher, Dr Cherri Ryan, Dr Tammy Smith

For ‘making us feel like real doctors’: an innovative case-based learning model promoting application of knowledge and development of clinical reasoning skills in medical students.


The Everest Team
UQ Business School

Dr Geoffrey Greenfield, Ms Elizabeth Nicholls, Dr Gemma Irving, Associate Professor April Wright, Mr Ross Strong, Dr Cle-Anne Gabriel

For innovation and leadership in creating simulation experiences that deepen undergraduate student learning of the theory-practice connection in a very large introductory management course.

Dr Christopher Leonardi
School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

For promoting experiential learning of mining engineering without digging up the classroom floor: Authentic education via the integration of international expertise, industry best-practice and virtual reality.




Tutor Trainers in Economics
School of Economics

Dr Bruce Littleboy, Mr Carl Sherwood, Associate Professor Kam Tang, Dr Frederique Bracoud, Dr Bryan Morgan

For enhancing the student experience through innovation in selecting tutors best suited to facilitate small-group active learning and in training them through small-group active learning.