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.


UQ Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning

UQ Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Learning 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. They also 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.

View UQ award winners for each category, or scroll down below.

Awards for Teaching Excellence

2020 Winners

Associate Professor Saiied Aminossadati

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering

Associate Professor Saiied Aminossadati (Amin) is an educational leader in the areas of engineering fluid mechanics and mine ventilation. He has made significant contributions to the development of the mechanical and mining engineering curricula within the university and nationally. His vision is to oversee the education of bright engineers, who are positioned to make an impact in industry and academia. His extensive industrial and academic experiences, have allowed him to develop future-proof learning pedagogies, required to meet the dynamic needs of engineering students. This aligns with the UQ Student Strategy of training game changing graduates and enhancing their employability. Amin has provided engineering students with a transformative learning experience and enhanced their active engagement. He has achieved this by implementing blended learning, introducing pedagogy with an emphasis on authentic learning, and making use of technology in his large undergraduate courses. He has held the role of national leader for the “Mine Ventilation” course and mentored new academics across Australian universities (UNSW, Curtin, UoA and UQ) since 2011. He has received 10 School, Faculty, University and National teaching awards since 2009, and was awarded a Senior Fellowship from the Higher Education Academy in 2017.


Associate Professor Nicholas Carah

School of Communication and Arts

Nicholas Carah is Associate Professor in Media and Communication and Deputy Head in the School of Communication and Arts. His research and teaching focus on how digital media transform our cultural life. He has pioneered an integrated approach to blended learning and student partnership at UQ. Nicholas’ teaching innovatively draws on student partnership, blended learning, digital technologies, collaborative seminars and authentic assessment. In 2018, he was a UQ Teaching Fellow and in 2019 he won the HASS Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence. Since 2015 he has played a critical role in the redesign of the Bachelor of Communication. He led the development the new Digital Media major, distinctive for its cutting-edge focus on digital media platforms and combination of critical scholarship, media production and digital analytics. He is co-author of the scholarly textbook Media & Society, second edition forthcoming in 2021. Nicholas teaches COMU1120: Media & Society and COMU3110: Media Platforms. Both courses are taught in a blended mode using a combination of collaborative on-campus seminars and the edX online platform. Since 2008, he has coordinated courses across all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate programs, ranging in size from 25 to 600 enrolments.


Associate Professor Leanne Johnston

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Leanne Johnston is Associate Professor (Teaching and Research) and Head of Physiotherapy. She has led teaching innovation in Paediatric Physiotherapy through her PASSWORD to PRACTICE Program, which is a transition program to take students from university to clinical practice. She has also been the Program Director of Inter-professional Allied Health Sciences Research and a clinical educator in tertiary children’s hospitals. She has supervised (to completion) 3(2) Postdoc, 18(10) PhD, 37(37) Masters and 54(51) Honours students). She founded and leads the Australasian PaedsTEACH group, which is a professional development forum for paediatric course coordinators and educators.


Dr Frances Shapter

School of Veterinary Science

Dr Frances Shapter is passionate about creating a gold standard learning experience, which is flexible, supports independent learning and committed to excellence and graduate employability. To maintain viability this student experience must be delivered within budget constraints, within the accepted social license for working with live animals and with manageable staff workloads. To achieve these outcomes she has focussed on the scholarship of teaching and learning to provide leadership in implementing strategies to optimise student learning outcomes and autonomy, whilst reducing animal usage and its associated management and staffing expenditure, by continuing to develop our industry leading Students Clinical Skills learning community (the Hub) and its learning curriculum. The use of simulation-based training methods to best prepare students for live animal training has also been extended in the 4unit BVSc1 animal handling course shoe coordinates. This year integrated flexible delivery and skills-based tutorials were successfully added to the course delivery to mitigate COVID related reductions in live animal training. Additionally, through her blended learning role she continues to support the School in identifying online learning tools and creating virtual resources to enhance student’s ownership of their learning journey across both programs and provide training networks to support staff uptake.

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Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning

2020 Winners

The Student-Staff Partnership Projects Program

Madelaine-Marie Judd, Associate Professor Kelly Matthews, Naima Crisp, Dr Eimear Enright, Dr Julia Groening, Yvonne Oberhollenzer, Caelan Rafferty, Franciele Spinelli.

The Student-Staff Partnership Projects Program is a cross-institutional collaboration between the Student Affairs Division, Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation and the Faculties of Business Economics and Law, Health and Behavioural Sciences, and Humanities and Social Sciences.

Student-staff interactions matter. From 2015, we have extended the collaborative UQ culture to engage with students as partners. Working together on semester-based projects, 970+ students and 550+ staff members have collaborated on 300+ projects - that is 12,000 hours or 300 working weeks of engaging together to co-create new knowledge, curricular materials, pedagogical approaches, and new understandings of students’ experiences. Embracing an expansive view of engaging “Students as Partners” (SaP), our team has drawn on early innovators to bring together a community dedicated to engaging with students in partnership resulting in a coherent UQ-wide model of student-staff partnership projects now reaching into every faculty. Our program is distinctive in three ways: (1) co-created by students and staff; (2) it is evidence-informed; and (3) it is evidence-creating. Our evidence-creating ethos has contributed 30+ UQ-led peer-reviewed publications with student partners as lead, co or sole authors that have been cited over 700+ times. Our evidence-informed approach demonstrates high levels of beneficial outcomes: increased sense of belonging, agency, learning, enhanced employability and pride in creating change for others. UQ is a global leader in both SSP practices and research with 29 invited talks in four countries — we are guiding other universities.

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Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

2020 Winners

Dr Roma Forbes

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Dr Roma Forbes received a citation for transforming health professional students into effective patient educators through an innovative, scholarly and sustainable experiential learning model with significant impact on the wider profession.

Dr Cle-Anne Gabriel

UQ Business School

Dr Cle-Anne Gabriel received a citation for being an internationally recognised leader, trainer and creator of experiential learning experiences, based on Case Method, which prepare learners to make real-life management decisions.                      

Dr Sara Herke

School of Mathematics and Physics

Dr Sara Herke received a citation for the development of innovative support resources and enthusiastic approaches to teaching that inspire first-year science students to learn and appreciate mathematics.                                       

Associate Professor Ian MacKenzie

School of Economics

Associate Professor Ian MacKenzie received a citation for linking economic theory to real world applications using unconventional contextualisation and multiple layers of engagement resulting in deep and transferable learning for students.

Dr Ben Mitchell

Primary Care Clinical Unit

Dr Ben Mitchell received a citation for leadership to enhance learning and teaching for students, and adapting to change through understanding the student’s perspective within the whole-of-programme teaching pipeline.

Dr Michael Thai

School of Psychology

Dr Michael Thai received a citation for bridging traditional teaching practices with digital technologies to enhance student engagement and learning in large undergraduate psychology courses.                      

2020 Commendations

Dr Louise Ainscough

School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr Louise Ainscough received a commendation for 'Learning how to learn': Empowering students to become self-regulated learners in the biomedical sciences through self-reflection and peer sharing of learning strategies.                                                      

Dr Leigh Sperka

School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences

Dr Leigh Sperka received a commendation for bringing curriculum to life through dialogic pedagogical relationships and interactive pedagogical resources, as well as creating spaces for other academics to share their innovative practices.

The Environmental Systems Engineering Team

Associate Professor Kate O’Brien, Associate Professor Steven Pratt, Dr Peter Ellerton, Dr Bernadino Virdis, Dr Lisa Bai

A cross-institutional collaboration between the School of Chemical Engineering, the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry, and Advanced Water Management Centre

Environmental systems engineering is a unique course that inspires and motivates students by teaching the skills needed to build a more sustainable future.

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Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT)

The Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) have been recognising outstanding teachers in higher education for more than 20 years.

National AAUT Awards for Teaching Excellence

2020/21 Winners

Associate Professor Jack Wang

School of Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience

Category: Biological Sciences, Health and related studies
View researcher profile

 Australian University Teacher of the Year

Jack Wang challenges his students to become citizen scientists in the digital age, who learn through creating, analysing, and communicating scientific findings to the masses. Jack embeds disease outbreak scenarios into his teaching, which are brought to life through interactive classroom discussions, audio-visual stimulus, and hands-on Undergraduate Research Experiences. His students are involved in innovative blended learning activities – they participate in crowd-sourced citizen science research projects to discover novel therapeutics against global pandemics and create videos and podcasts to explain their original findings to the general public. To deliver individualised feedback for these multimedia-orientated assessment tasks, Jack developed a new learning analytics platform, which identified consistent gaps in students’ technological and digital literacy. He is a strong advocate for student digital equity, and serves on an interdisciplinary panel promoting sector-wide support for digital literacy. To further this cause, in 2015, Jack launched the Communication Ambassador Program – a nationwide initiative providing multimedia and communication training for early-career scientists. Jack’s work has been funded by faculty, institutional and external grants, and disseminated through scholarly publications, invited presentations, and peer-mentoring of academics through Advance HE. Jack Wang is a recognised leader in Science Education, and has transformed learning for thousands of graduates.


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National AAUT Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

2020/21 Citations

Dr Anna HattonDr-Anna-Hatton

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
View researcher profile

For bringing new life to ‘old age’: inspiring learning, positive attitudes, and career aspirations within gerontology
through early clinical experiences and innovative resources for physiotherapy students.


The MECH2305 Teaching Team

Dr Michael Bermingham and Professor Matthew Dargusch

School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering
View Dr Bermingham researcher profile  |  View Prof Dargusch researcher profile

For transforming mechanical engineering education through three phases of engagement:
hands-on experiential learning, online self-directed learning and active in-class interaction.

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Other awards

Besides the Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT), other national awards have been recognising and rewarding the work of our excellent teachers:

Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Awards

2019 Winner – Learning Experience

The UQ Physiotherapy Standardised Patients Program

School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Team: Dr Allison Mandrusiak (lead), Katrina Williams, Dr Roma Forbes

Read more



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Reimagine Education Awards

2018 Best University – Employer Partnership Gold Award Winner

UQ BEL Student Employability Team: Getting Students SET for their future

Faculty of Business, Economics and Law

Read more


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Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Awards

2018 Award for Outstanding Collaboration in Higher Education and Training

Indigenous Health Education and Workforce Development

The University of Queensland - The Institute for Urban Indigenous Health

Read more


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edX Prizes

2019 Finalist, Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning

Leading high performing teams / Business leadership MicroMasters Program

UQ Business School

Team: Dr Terrance Fitzsimmons, Associate Professor Bernard McKenna, Associate Professor Tyler G. Okimoto, Richard O’Quinn

Read more

2018 Winner, Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning

The Psychology of Criminal Justice MOOC

School of Psychology

Team: Associate Professor Blake McKimmie, Professor Barbara Masser, Professor Mark Horswill

Read more

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