13 July 2012
New Adjunct Professor provides expertise
Leading ICT-related teaching and learning academic, Professor Sylvia Edwards, is joining RMIT University as an Adjunct Professor attached to the School of Computer Science and IT.
Professor Sylvia Edwards.
“I am thrilled by this opportunity to work with RMIT,” said Professor Edwards, who is also an Adjunct Professor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), where she formerly held the position of Assistant Dean Teaching and Learning.
“You see, RMIT is my alma mater – my first degree was completed here, and my father also completed his engineering degree here – so it feels nice to be able to contribute back to RMIT at this stage of my career.”
The recipient of many teaching awards, including the prestigious Australian Award for University Teaching (2006), Professor Edwards also researches in higher education leadership, information searching behaviour and information literacy.
It was expertise like this that made her an invaluable member of the panel that undertook the Teaching Review at the School of Computer Science and IT in late 2011.
“Last year, as part of the review team, I had the pleasure of working with the Head of School, Athman, as well as Adriana, the School Manager, and a number of the School's enthusiastic teaching staff,” she said.
“It was from that work that the opportunity arose for my Adjunct work at RMIT.”
Professor Edwards has accrued more than $2 million in grants in the past five years, successfully leading multiple teams in three ALTC (Australian Learning and Teaching Council) grants.
The Head of the School of Computer Science and IT, Professor Athman Bouguettaya, praised her record and said working with Professor Edwards during the Teaching Review convinced him that she would be an excellent addition to the School.
“Professor Edwards has done an excellent job helping us with the School's Teaching Review and we’re very fortunate she has accepted to help us,” he said.
“She’s one of the leading educators in Australia, having published numerous papers about teaching and learning in IT.”
With more than 60 publications to her name, Professor Edwards has also developed a trans-national research network, regularly delivering academic and industry presentations in Australia and overseas.
Her research grants have also been instrumental in significantly shaping teaching and learning approaches within the graduate skills agenda and Professor Bouguettaya is keen to tap into this expertise to help ensure quality learning outcomes for students at the School.
“We are very honoured and indeed lucky to have Sylvia as part of our school, as she is a high calibre education researcher,” he said.
“And with her wide knowledge of teaching IT she can help to provide the best teaching and learning environment for our students.”
Professor Edwards is keen to start work with the School at what she feels is a pivotal moment in the history of Australian higher education.
“The Australian tertiary education sector is undergoing a ‘higher education revolution’ at present,” she said.
“While government has increased student funding overall, there are also expectations for the sector to widen participation and increase intakes, as well as pursue excellence in research and teaching.
“How we meet the challenges raised by this HE revolution as tertiary institutions, and how and where the rubber hits the road for us as individual academics ... well, that's the million dollar question right now,” she said.