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 in Teaching and Learning and the Australian Awards for University Teaching.

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


2018 Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) Awards for Teaching Excellence

These national awards have been recognising outstanding teachers in higher education for more than 20 years.


Associate Professor April Wright
School of Business

Associate Professor April Wright has transformed the learning experiences of business students in large core courses at the entry and exit points of the undergraduate program. April creates a meaningful learning journey by orienting first year students into a disciplinary way of thinking about management and by inspiring final year students to become practical theorists who bring their theoretical knowledge to business problems in insightful and evidence-based ways. Students gain confidence in making connections between management theory and practice as they learn actively, collaboratively and progressively in large classes through innovative team-based learning models, authentic case studies, and online simulations. A dedicated educator with more than two decades of teaching experience in higher education, April has pioneered the evaluation of threshold concepts to drive change in management courses and programs and to flip classrooms to create capstone learning experiences. These innovative approaches deepen learning and enhance the employability of business graduates by supporting development of relevant and integrated knowledge and practical skills. To improve student learning by sharing effective practices and informing debate, April disseminates her teaching innovations through scholarly publications and professional development workshops and plays leadership roles in the field of management education internationally.

Overall AAUT Committee Feedback
“The nominee is an experienced academic with 23 years teaching experience of medium to large cohorts of management students. She has written a high quality, well written and thoughtful application. There are clear links between criteria and supporting evidence. Solid supporting evidence arises from examples, student comments, peers and disseminated publications. There is good evidence of dissemination via publications, recognition and awards and very good supporting references.”

Associate Professor Timothy McIntyre
School of Mathematics and Physics

Associate Professor Tim McIntyre has had a significant impact on teaching and learning activities in Physics at the University of Queensland (UQ). He has developed new approaches to teaching, enhanced program design, and mentored fellow staff. He adopts active learning approaches in his classes and develops teaching strategies that enhance and extend it. Tim combines his earlier experiences in the development of online simulations with contemporary web technology to create online interactive modules that allow students to prepare for his classes in an engaging and informative way. He incorporates purpose-built simulations in his teaching, helping students to visualise difficult concepts, and to further explore during class and assessment activities. He coordinated a team of academics and learning designers to further develop simulations and associated teaching packages for use in courses across the physics and mathematics disciplines. Tim has introduced active components to other aspects of his teaching including the development of inquiry-based learning laboratories, and tutorial classes encouraging peer assisted learning. He continually looks for new ways to enhance the student learning experience, and to assist his colleagues to develop new ideas of their own.

Overall AAUT Committee Feedback
“The application describes a dedicated classroom teacher who works to inspire students in the discipline. The application has demonstrated numerous examples of excellent teaching practice for over ten years. The application is well structured and presents strong evidence for each of the criteria.”

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 AAUT National Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

Citations recognise and reward the diversity of contributions made by individuals and teams to the quality of student learning.


Associate Professor Chris Landorf
School of Architecture

For leadership in innovative, contextualised, inquiry-based learning in construction-related disciplines, including creation of a 4-dimensional digital environment that enables virtual access to live building sites to facilitate work-readiness in graduates.

Dr Anna Rumbach
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

For developing an interactive and future-focused learning environment that enhances speech pathology students’ preparedness to successfully transition from the classroom to the clinic.

Dr Tammy Smith
Office of Medical Education

For her three decades of work in collaborative leadership, innovative curriculum design and exemplary student support practices that have enhanced the medical student experience and environment.

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.