Staff Development

Authors – Professor Noel Meyers, University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia and Professor Yoni Ryan, Australian Catholic University

Professor Noel Meyers

Noel is the Head of School, School of Science and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast. Before that he was a Senior Teaching Fellow in the University of Tasmania (UTAS) Faculty of Business, where he worked with staff as a coach for their teaching, assessment and curriculum design and helped them to embed strategies designed to enhance the quality of students’ learning. He has also worked at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in the Faculty of Science where he earned teaching accolades for his engaging curricula that taught students to learn about science through thinking about and solving problems using the scientific method. These accolades included Australian Award for University Teaching (Early Career Academics) (2004), QUT Vice Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2003), Pearson/Uniserve award for making outstanding contributions to student learning (2002), QUT Student Guild, Gardens Point Lecturer of the Year (2001, 2002 & 2003) and QUT Student Guild Lecturer of the Year (2001).

Noel has authored an extensive range of publications. His most influential publication relates to his co-authorship of the most highly regarded Biology text in the Australasian region: Campbell, Reece and Meyers (2005), Biology, Seventh Edition (Pearson Education, Sydney). His research has attained over one million dollars in competitive funding in support of his science and educational reforms.

Further information is available from the University of the Sunshine Coast’s School of Science and Education.

Professor Yoni Ryan

Yoni is Director of the Institute for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning at the Australian Catholic University, a six campus national university spread over the eastern states.

She has extensive experience in staff development as promoting ‘student-centredness’, hence her strong interest in the First Year Experience. Since she has had a long-term interest in the use of innovative educational technologies, she has also researched and published on Web 2.0 as an emerging platform for student learning in the 21st century. She has also contributed in a number of universities in Australia and the Pacific, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa to staff development in the area of curriculum design and development.

Her publications span these areas: ‘Teaching and learning in the global era’ in King, R. (ed) 2004 The University in the Global Era; ‘Borderless education and business prospects’, in Evans, T., Haughey, M. & Murphy, D. (2008) International Handbook of Distance Education; with Robert Fitzgerald, ‘Exploring the role of social software in higher education’ (in press). She has also presented at a number of the FYE Forums organised mainly through the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and their associated staff.

Further information is available from the Australian Catholic University.

First Year Curriculum Perspective

The focus of the Staff Development commentary (pdf 1.74MB) is the professional development requirements of staff engaged with the transition of students to their first year in higher education. The authors highlight the breadth and depth of responsibilities that first year coordinators carry. They identify that, to teach and run their (usually) large first year classes, first year coordinators require wide-ranging expertise in leadership and staff management: for example, in curriculum reform, change management, advocacy, mediation, mentoring, coaching, administration, and management. Based on the case studies and information available from institutions themselves, this commentary identifies: staff for whom development in FYE would prove useful; a framework around which to focus development activities; and suggestions on future directions in staff development to support a strongly student-focussed curriculum.