University highlights faculty achievements

23 June 2011

Faculty researchers have received university-wide recognition in the 2010 University of Sydney Annual Report. The report's "2010 in Review" section, which showcases University achievements to stakeholders and the general public, featured five Faculty staff including full page profiles of two Fellowships awarded in 2010.

Science and Mathematics Education Institute

Among the initiatives chosen for inclusion in the report was the Institute for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education (IISME). A joint initiative of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Education and Social Work, this partnership was formed in February 2010 to address Australia's serious shortage of secondary-school teachers in mathematics and science education. It aims to transform the image of these subjects, rekindling interest and ultimately boosting the teaching ranks, according to Faculty Professor Michael Jacobson, the institute's deputy director. "Learning science by doing science is at the core of all of our approaches to show the excitement of what real science is." One year on, the institute has had demonstrable success with a "real science" approach, an adaptation of the MyScience initiative, where practising scientists and undergraduate science students act as mentors and support teachers to transform classrooms into enquiry based laboratories.

Research in Gender and Social Class

Stepping away from the classroom was Dr Sue Goodwin, whose Thompson fellowship enabled her to take time off teaching and further her work on gender and social class and their impact on people's lives. "As well as producing a lot of research, the fellowship gave me the opportunity to do a lot of other things, such as taking part in wider community events such as the Festival of Dangerous Ideas and Sydney Ideas," says Dr Goodwin. "It really opened up opportunities for me that were so valuable." The Thompson Fellowship is a new initiative, introduced by the University in 2009 to counter the underrepresentation of women at senior academic levels by providing opportunities for female academics to strengthen their research, preparing them to succeed in more senior academic roles.

Laureate Fellowship for Learning with technology

The Australian Laureate Fellowship awarded to Professor Peter Goodyear by the Australian Research Council (ARC) will also be opening opportunities for the Faculty - it is planned to use the fellowship to launch a series of related research projects that will look at how people learn with the aid of technology.

"Part of the point is to try and understand how to use technology in more productive ways in education, how to design better and more congenial learning environments, and how to help teachers in schools or universities make better decisions about organising, managing and designing learning environments," he explains in the report.

The fellowship, worth $2.75 million over the next five years, will be used to fund seven additional positions for researchers at the Faculty's Centre for Research on Computer-supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo). "The bigger vision is to see if we can improve the science of design for networked learning," says Professor Goodyear.

Staff with Honours

In addition to these fellowships, staff members appointed to the Order of Australia were mentioned in the Annual Report. Emeritis Professor Ken Eltis was put on the honour roll for service to education and Roslyn Giles for service to the community in the field of social work.

The University produces the Annual Report each year to fulfill formal requirements and to showcase the broad range of the University's activities and the strength of its performance in that year to University stakeholders and the general public.

View the report

Download the complete annual report. Faculty mentions include: