2013 IISME Annual event - Teaching Science to Non-Science Majors

13 February 2013
Dr Kay Colthorpe
Dr Kay Colthorpe

Teaching Science to Non-Science Majors: How do we engage the students?

Convenor: Dr Meloni Muir

Deputy Convenor: Associate Professor Adam Bridgeman

Tertiary academics are acutely aware of the challenge of motivating undergraduate students, particularly in large classes, to engage with lecture material. It can be even more challenging when teaching the basic sciences as service units of study where students may not see the need for or relevance of these units of study to their degree or career aspirations yet are required to successfully complete them. This symposium will bring together academics and students from a range of disciplines to discuss perspectives on teaching in science service units of study with examples of successful strategies for engaging students. The keynote speakers will be Dr Kay Colthorpe (University of Queensland) and Associate Professor Les Kirkup (University of Technology, Sydney).




1:15 - 2:15

Register between 1.15 - 1.30.

Welcome at 1.30.

Keynote - Dr Kay Colthorpe (Biomedical Sciences, UQ)

2:15 - 2:35

Dr Vanessa Hughes and Dr Chris Gordon (Nursing, USYD)

2:35 - 3:15

Keynote - Associate Professor Les Kirkup (Physics, UTS)

3:15 - 3:35

Afternoon Tea

3:35 - 3:55

Associate Professor John O'Byrne (Physics, USYD)

3:55 - 4:15

Dr Louise Sutherland (Education, USYD)

4:15 - 5:15

Students and Panel session - discussion and questions

5:15 - 6:00

Refreshments and networking

Keynote Speakers

Dr Kay Colthorpe is a teaching-focused lecturer in the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS) at the University of Queensland (UQ). She is the Chair of the Education Research Unit within SBMS, and was a UQ Teaching Fellow in 2010, with a project that focussed on developing effective assessment practices in biomedical science. She has had considerable experience both teaching physiology and coordinating physiology courses for science and allied health science undergraduates, including to medicine, health science, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology students. In addition she has extensive experience in curricula design, across diverse undergraduate programs. She is an active member of CUBEnet and of the Australian Physiological Society Education Interest group. Her research interests include the enhancement of learning of the fundamental sciences by allied health science students, the development of effective assessment and feedback, and the design and use of inquiry-based classes to aid critical thinking skills. She is currently supervising an Honours student, who is examining undergraduate science student's scientific reasoning in oral communication, and a PhD student whose project is evaluating the impact of inquiry-based authentic assessment on communication and critical thinking by accounting students.

Associate Professor Les Kirkup - Les Kirkup is an Associate Professor in the School of Physics and Advanced Materials at the University of Technology, Sydney. Associate Professor Kirkup has a strong physics research background and is an exceptional and respected educator. Les has led an ALTC Discipline Study and was awarded an ALTC Associate Fellowship in 2007, for work in the area of science service teaching.

At the conclusion of the event, networking can continue over dinner from 6:30pm. Although dinner will be at your own cost, please indicate when you register if you would like to attend, for booking purposes.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact Ms Charmaine Valenzuela (

Time: 1:30pm to 6:00pm (register from 1:15-1:30)

Location: New Law Lecture Theatre 101, University of Sydney

Cost: Free - Register by Feb 8th 2013

Email: 2f1f3400340f1e320c3d281e7b0c30014d5902

More info: