Faculty of Science

Highly-awarded teachers

Further information

Our graduates

The University of Western Australia is ranked first in WA in the number of ALTC citations our staff have been awarded, and is ranked equal second across Australia.

The citations recognise and reward the diverse contributions that individuals and teams make to the quality of student learning in higher education.

  1. Associate Professor Paul Abbott
  2. Associate Professor Susan Barker
  3. Professor Geoffrey Meyer
  4. Assistant Professor Pieter Poot
  5. Kerry Smith

Associate Professor Paul AbbottAssociate Professor Paul Abbott

Professor Abbott's outstanding teaching as part of the School of Physics has been recognised through the 2010 Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Besides having extensive research publications to his name, writing columns for The Mathematica Journal, and teaching multiple undergraduate units, he has developed the entire Computational Physics course from scratch, refining it since 1993 into a unique, problem-based learning experience that integrates the industry-standard Mathematica program into both student learning and assessment.

He believes that the one true vocation of scientists and engineers is problem-solving, and acknowledges that despite the extra effort required to teach and assess a problem-based course, the benefit is in the development of students computational skills within real-world scenarios.

"There are very few courses worldwide that use computer algebra immersively as I do. This approach is, I think, the key advantage to the students in taking these courses", he says.

"University teaching is much more than just the act of imparting facts to students. Our University motto is Seek Wisdom, not Seek Knowledge, and learning problem-solving techniques helps one become wise. My role as a teacher in Computational Physics and Applied Mathematics is to provide students with the intellectual tools with which they can interpret, analyse, and solve problems."

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Associate Professor Susan BarkerAssociate Professor Susan Barker

Professor Barker received the UWA Award for Excellence in Coursework Teaching in 2009 for her work in establishing and teaching UWA's degrees in Genetics and Breeding.

"When I first encountered classical genetics at university, I did not understand it at all, she recalls. Remembering my own difficulties has helped me to see the students perspective, particularly those who are required to do Genetics as a core unit rather than by choice." she says.

"My inspirational teachers were those who were enthusiastic about their topic; who were not afraid to be challenged; who did not need to dominate and oppress their class or to appear to know everything, but who taught each of us as individuals and encouraged our exploration into new territories.

"As a result, Assoc Prof Barker now holds these qualities as criteria for her own teaching method. Studying how life perpetuates is the epitome of biological enquiry; I couldnt ask for a more inspiring topic. I will continue through my career to aim for that same awe and inspiration in my students that they may, perhaps, help tip the balance of human activities towards a more sustainable future."

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Professor Geoffrey MeyerProfessor Geoffrey Meyer

Professor Geoffrey Meyer completed his PhD in the School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, at The University of Western Australia. He has received a number of teaching awards including a UWA Excellence in Innovation in Teaching Award, an International Excellence in Innovation in Teaching, Learning and Technology Award and was a 1999 Australian University Teaching Award Winner. In 2006 he received a UWA Teaching Fellowship. Professor Meyer was awarded a prestigious ALTC (Australian Learning and Teaching Council) Fellowship in 2009 and is currently the Project Leader on a 2011 ALTC Project Grant.

Geoff Meyer’s research activities focus on developing innovative, computer-aided, learning and teaching tools.

In 2012 he delivered his “Histology course” completely online to UWA students with very positive feedback from formal student evaluations.  His innovative online histology portal http://meyershistology.moodle.com.au is currently accessed by histology professors and students at 83 universities worldwide.  In 2013, students from over 120 universities will access the learning and teaching resources.

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Assistant Professor Pieter PootAssistant Professor Pieter Poot

Professor Poot's passionate lecturing style has made him popular with his Biometrics and Conservation Biology students. This quality was officially recognised early in his academic career through a nomination in 2007 and an Award for Excellence in Coursework Teaching in 2008 and 2010.

Most students find statistics boring, complicated and irrelevant, he says. I believe my success in motivating them to learn biometrics is based on simplicity and logic, structure, repetition, relevance, discussion, and enthusiasm.

He consistently receives positive feedback from his students; The enthusiasm that many students refer to must be due to my own fascination for the beauty of logic in mathematics and the beauty of the natural world in general.

Professor Poot has also provided some of his teaching material to colleagues who make use of them in their units, and they have been impressed by the detail, rigour and logic of his material. He constructs his lectures in such a way that the students can learn straight from the lecture notes and do not have to rely heavily on standard texts, which can be difficult to understand.

"I aim to stimulate an interest in plant biology and convey a sense of fascination and respect for the natural world we live in," he says.

"Meanwhile, I try to show students that statistical methods are by no means boring and not as complicated as they often think. These methods are invaluable for objectively evaluating our observations."

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Kerry SmithKerry Smith

Over the past 30 years Kerry Smith has developed expertise in work-integrated learning, clinical training and remedial physical education and delights in educating her students in these areas.

She uses all her abilities to enable her students to develop professionally and personally as educated, inquiring and contributing members of society. With her large network of industry and alumni contacts throughout Australia, and a strong emphasis on student support, she provides work-integrated programs that ensure her students gain the knowledge, skills and competencies to graduate work-ready.

Following UWA Excellence in Teaching Awards in 2008 and 2009 for program and individual excellence, in 2009 Kerry was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Citation for outstanding contributions to student learning.

This was followed in 2010 by a UWA Chancellors Medal for outstanding contributions to the University and in November 2010 by an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Excellence in Teaching Award for Programs that Enhance Learning.

She is recognised as a leader in work-integrated learning and is highly respected for her expertise and teaching by her students and alumni within the School of Sport Science, Exercise and Health.

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