National Awards for University Teaching

The Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT) celebrate the nation’s most outstanding university teachers who have made a significant contribution to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in higher education. These prestigious awards are highly competitive with an honour roll of outstanding educators spanning more than twenty years. Established by the Australian Government in 1997, these national awards for university teaching are currently administered by Universities Australia. The categories of awards include:

  • Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (Citations)
  • Awards for Teaching Excellence (Teaching Awards)
  • Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning (Program Awards)

Nominations for these awards are made by institutions not individuals.

Contact lto@nd.edu.au or more information.

2020 Award Winners

Congratulations to the University of Notre Dame’s 2020 awardees


Dr David Wong
School of Business
Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

David’s inspiring work combines innovative face-to-face approaches with scholarly and considered uses of technology to provide sustained exemplary student learning experiences. His scholarly approach to undergraduate teaching incorporates storytelling, peer teaching and work integrated learning. In recognition of his outstanding performance and impact on student learning, he has also received the Vice Chancellor’s Letter of Commendation for teaching excellence for eight consecutive semesters and a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2020.


Gillian Kennedy and Anna Dwyer
Nulungu Research Institute
Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

Gillian and Anna’s work in the course, Aboriginal People: The Silent History has fostered a transformative ‘third space’ cultural learning experience through immersion on Yawuru and Karajarri Country. Their model of teaching by learning through culture and experience gives students an indelible experience of an alternative world view. Evidence collected over the past five years has shown that the course has had a significant impact on student learning and has inspiring alumni to take action in their own communities and workplaces. In recognition of their extraordinary impact on student learning, they also a Vice Chancellor’s Award for Initiatives that Enhance Student Learning in 2018.


Associate Professor Michael Wan  
School of Medicine
Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

With more than 30 years of teaching experience, Michael epitomises sustained and exemplary leadership in learning and assessment in medical education.He has been instrumental in enhancing student learning experiences in clinical reasoning through the innovative use of Script Concordance Test (SCT) and he has developed innovative online modules to enhance student engagement and learning through immediate feedback. His contribution to research and scholarship has been recognised with numerous invitations to lead national and international workshops, panels and conferences. He has also received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2011, a an Australian National (OLT) Citation in 2012 and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Initiatives that Enhance Student Learning in 2020.

2019 AAUT Awardees

  • Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience

    Benjamin Hay

    Dr Benjamin Hay
    School of Nursing and Midwifery – Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

    The award winning SMARTcare seminar series encourages a novel and unique approach to the responsible use of social media and mobile technology, by engaging ‘students as partners’ for mentoring others and providing ongoing leadership and engagement by industry experts and academics. SMARTcare focuses on enhancing student learning and engagement through coupling SMART technology such as smartphones and social media, with health topics and pastoral care. That is, Social Media Application/s for Research and Teaching (SMART), links with Nursing’s core role as a caring profession and with Notre Dame’s commitment to pastoral care. Four highly successful biennial SMARTcare seminars in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019, have developed into fully-fledged partnerships between faculty, the student body, and industry. Enhancing the student experience, students are partners and mentor their peers in the planning stages between each seminar, which results in high engagement and involvement in the learning. SMARTcare clearly demonstrates the capacity to draw students and industry together not only for the mutual benefit of future employment, but also for the current, accurate, supportive and professional engagement that experienced industry professionals model to the next generation of graduates.

  • Development of curricula, resources or services that reflect a command of the field

    Sean Kearney

    Sean Kearney
    School of Education - Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

    The development of the Authentic Self and Peer Assessment for Learning (ASPAL) model was an idea that emanated from ALTC Assessment Futures project (Boud & Associates, 2010) and the seminal work of Black and Wiliam (1998) and was created and implemented in 2010 at the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney. ASPAL assists students’ understanding of tertiary assessment practices by inviting them to be part of the assessment process and to reflect on their own learning. While the idea emanated out of teacher education, in the ten years since its inception, ASPAL has much broader applications and has been used in disciplines including, but not limited to, Business, Psychology and Engineering. It has also been used in Australian primary and secondary schools in NSW and internationally. The model involves a multi-week process that can be easily scaffolded and replicated.  It incorporates content knowledge, authentic skills, reflective thinking and evaluation and allows for timely and triangulated feedback and results for students. The journey from fledgling idea to an innovative assessment model that has been used by thousands of students between 2010 and 2019 with notable success aims to improve engagement and autonomy through self-assessment and, as a by-product, improve achievement, or at the very least, improve the student experience in regards to assessment and learning.

  • Innovation, leadership or scholarship that has influenced and enhanced learning and teaching and/or the student experience

    RELATE Team - Dee O’Conner (Team Leader) Christine Robinson, Tracy Treasure, Linda Cranley and Samantha Wynne
    Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

    RELATE Team
    (L-R) Samantha Wynne, Linda Cranley,Dee O’Conner (Team Leader), Christine Robinson, Tracy Treasure

    In 2013, following Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) faculty meetings wherein ontological differences within core ECEC pedagogies and philosophies were discussed, the ECEC faculty team decided to form a collaborative group called RELATE (Researching Early Learning and Teacher Education). The aims of RELATE were to support discipline cohesion, to learn from each other and to engage in constructive activities to enhance the collective nexus between scholarship and teaching. The vision was greater alignment between evidence and curriculum design, greater team cohesion and unity through dialogue and greater connection and responsiveness to the student voice. The proposal was to work together collaboratively within scholarship and research in a collegial effort to better appreciate the differences and learn to value or bridge them within an integrated and embedded shared philosophy. The ECEC faculty all fully embraced this initiative and every member has contributed greatly to the process and its outcomes. The RELATE Initiative has served to build better programs, develop reflective capacity, progress collaboration and positively impact on the student experience through improved consultation, teaching, learning and engagement. The team have used its scholarship to actively inform four programmatic reviews within ECEC since 2013 embedding best practice and cutting edge evidenced based content within every aspect of their programs.