Institute of Teaching and Learning

Project team

Photo of project team
The Project Team: (from left) Robyn Muldoon, Merryn Falk, Meaghan Walsh, Gail Huon, Stuart Palmer,
Ian Macdonald, Dale Holt, Lorraine Bennett, Amgad Louka and Di Challis
(Absent: Ian Solomonides and Sandra Jones)

Team member profiles

Dr Di Challis
Dr Di Challis, Challis Consultancy, is a consultant to the ALTC funded project 'Strategic Leadership for Institutional Teaching and Learning Centres' and, in that role, as a senior researcher, has been closely involved with the research reported in this paper. Prior to setting up Challis Consultancy in 2006, she was a senior lecturer at Deakin University, working in the Institute of Teaching and Learning and headed academic professional development.

Merryn Falk
Merryn Falk Consultancy, commenced as the Project Manager for the ALTC-funded project 'Strategic Leadership for Institutional Teaching and Learning Centres' while working at Deakin University. Following a move to Queensland, she was contracted to continue managing the project. Merryn had a key role in arranging the focus groups and developing key project deliverables such as the Final Report and Guide. Merryn is also employed by the University of the Sunshine Coast as a Project Officer in a role funded by the ALTC Promoting Excellence Initiative. Prior to 2008, Merryn worked as Policy Coordinator and Executive Officer to Committees of the Academic Board at Deakin University. She has also held various positions within the field of Secondary Education including VCE Officer Manager at Melbourne Girls Grammar and Principal's Secretary at Melbourne High School. Merryn has a Graduate Diploma in Education and a Bachelor of Arts Degree (English).

Dr Dale Holt
Dr Dale Holt is Associate Director of the Institute of Teaching and Learning at Deakin University with active participation in Educational Design, Professional Development and Research. Dale has coordinated major academic professional development programs and his responsibilities see him heavily involved in the University's Strategic Teaching and Learning Grant Scheme and in supporting staff applying for University and national teaching awards. He was awarded a Carrick Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2007, 'For longstanding leadership and support for the professional development of teaching staff to advance student learning in the field of flexible, online and distance education'.

Dr Stuart Palmer
Dr Stuart Palmer completed his undergraduate degree with distinction in electronics engineering. During nearly a decade of professional practice he completed an MBA in technology management. In 1995, he joined the School of Engineering and Technology at Deakin University and lectured in the management of technology. During that time he was awarded the Australasian Association for Engineering Education McGraw-Hill New Engineering Educator Award, and completed his doctoral studies. His research interests include frequency domain image analysis and the effective use of digital/online technologies in teaching and learning. More recently, he has joined the Deakin University Institute of Teaching and Learning.

Lorraine Bennett
Education has always been at the centre of Lorraine Bennett's work life. She commenced teaching in secondary schools and later moved into teacher education at the tertiary level. She then held various senior leadership roles in teaching, learning and organisation development working in and with federal, state and local governments, in universities and in community and private enterprises.

Her key areas of expertise and experience include leadership in:

  • teaching and workplace education and training;
  • education and capacity building;
  • organisational reform and change management;
  • research and development;
  • strategic planning and policy development;
  • financial and resource management;
  • marketing and communication; and
  • quality assurance.

In recent years Lorraine returned to the higher education sector and in her current role of Deputy Director of CALT provides leadership for the advancement of excellence in learning and teaching across Monash. This work involves ensuring that the advice and services offered through CALT are informed, strategic, systematic and aligned with the directions and aspirations of Monash and responsive to the needs of students, employees and the wider community.

Professor Gail Huon
Professor Gail Huon is the Director of the Centre for Teaching and Learning at the University of Newcastle. She joined the University in November 2006 after 16 years of teaching and research in the School of Psychology, University of NSW. Her recent research has focussed on the student experience, roles of centres for teaching and learning and key aspects of teaching and learning, which have influenced policy development on educational quality and effectiveness across the university sector.

Associate Professor, Sandra Jones
As the Director of Learning and Teaching Unit at RMIT, Dr Sandra Jones has been engaged in a number of Leadership projects funded by the ALTC. Her interest is in identifying leadership models and frameworks that incorporate a broad range of strategy and professional development across universities to assist both Current and Early Career Academics to develop the skills necessary to lead enhanced student learning opportunities. Sandra is particularly interested in the role of centralised Learning and Teaching units vis-à-vis the distributed model of leadership and has recently completed a Report and Resource Manual on an ALTC funded multi-level distributed leadership model to improve student learning. To develop a holistic picture of the needs of academics Sandra is currently engaged in a project to improve the student learning experience within the School of Management.

Amgad Louka - BA (Media Studies), MA (Communication)
After a few years in the private/corporate world as video producer/director, I discovered my calling in the more 'noble' field of education. Over the past 19 years I have undertaken a number of roles in the tertiary sector (Monash and RMIT) in areas of learning and teaching enhancement and support. Predominantly these have focussed on the strategic incorporation of technology in support of sound educational outcomes.

My current role is Director in the Office of the DVC (Academic) at RMIT University. I contribute to the University's strategic direction setting, as well as, the development and implementation of the Academic Plan and Learning and Teaching Strategy. This is achieved by providing leadership and coordination of University-wide initiatives, particularly in the areas of academic policy advice, development and implementation, strategic projects, effective integration of educational technologies, management of internal and external grants and teaching awards and dissemination of good practice and innovation in learning and teaching.

A member of many organisations, I currently hold an executive position with the Australasian Council for Open, Distance and E-learning (ACODE).

Professor Ian Macdonald
Professor Ian Macdonald, Director, Teaching Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia. Ian trained and worked as a mechanical engineer before moving into Physics teaching. Researching student learning, he gaining a Masters degree and Ph.D. in cognitive psychology. After three years as Director of the Teaching and Learning Centre at the University of New England he became the Founding Director of the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching at Victoria University. His research primarily deals with promoting learner metacognition, the development of effective learning environments, and teacher professional development at all levels.

Robyn Muldoon
Robyn Muldoon has 30 years teaching experience in secondary and tertiary settings. She was responsible for establishing the Academic Skills Office at UNE and its learning support programs and resources. Her research interests are the provision of discipline-based academic and professional skills programs, the learning assistance needs of special entry students and development of generic skills. She is also the manager of the tUNE-in Peer Support Program for first year students and the New England Award (NEA).

Ian Solomonides
Ian Solomonides started his career at Macquarie in 2006 as an Academic Developer. He is now the Director of the Learning and Teaching Centre operating under the office of the Provost and DVC(A), Professor Judyth Sachs.

Prior to working for Macquarie University Ian held appointments as:

  • Learning and Teaching Coordinator, School of Architecture Design and Built Environment, Nottingham Trent University, UK.
  • Program Leader, Furniture and Product Design, Department of Design, Nottingham Trent University.
  • Lecturer and Learning Skills Facilitator, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Nottingham Trent University.

During his academic career, he has taught undergraduate and postgraduate classes in engineering, product design, critical studies, design research and education, as well as supervising post-graduate students. He has provided academic consultancy and external examination, subject validation and review in universities in the UK and elsewhere in the world.

Ian was a charter boat skipper and later a builder before obtaining his Education degree in Teacher Training as a mature student in 1991.

Support for this project website has been provided by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council Ltd, an initiative of the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

The views expressed in the project do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

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29th November 2010