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13 July 2022

Applications are open for the 2022 Vice-Chancellor’s Award

Applications for the Vice-Chancellor’s (VC) Awards are now open! We spoke to Associate Professor Jaclyn Broadbent about the experience of winning the 2021 Teaching Team of the Year award and for some advice on putting together a great application.

Tell us about yourself. What do you teach?

I’m an Associate Professor and Associate Head of School (Teaching and Learning) in the School of Psychology. I’ve also recently been seconded two days a week as Associate Professor in Educational Research for Deakin’s Centre for Research in Assessment and Digital Learning (CRADLE).

For the past four years I’ve been the course director of the psychology fourth year program, which includes two honours programs and the equivalent graduate diploma. After winning the VC award, I passed on the reins to two brilliant, capable people, Dr Elizabeth Westrupp and Dr Melissa Hayden who were the deputy course directors last year. I am still the thesis unit chair for the courses with Associate Professor Christian Hyde, and we can oversee the supervision of up to four hundred different thesis honours projects in that role.

In 2021 your team won the Teaching Team of the Year award. Can you tell us about your winning submission?

Our submission was titles ‘using design thinking and self-regulated learning to transform Australia’s largest multi-modal psychology honours course from traditional to flexible learning’. On the team was Dr Elizabeth Westrupp, Dr Nicholas Ryan, Associate Professor Christian Hyde, Dr Nicolas Kambouropoulos, Associate Professor Jarrad Lum and Mx Nicolas Bennett.

Psychology honours is a highly competitive and unique program, made up of four coursework units and a thesis. This intensive training is counted as a pre-professional year and is the only pathway to becoming a psychologist. The psychology honours program makes up 88% of all Faculty of Health honours students and 55% of all Deakin honours students.

In 2017 we implemented a three-year plan to improve student satisfaction in the psychology honours program using the principles of design thinking. We used an iterative approach to produce a consistent CloudDeakin template for all our unit sites, map the assessment journey of the course, reimagine feedback processes and embed employability through industry partnerships.

The eVALUate scores for feedback rose 18% on average across the course and by 34% in our most challenging unit. Another outcome was an increase of applications to the course from high-quality students. Last year there were 3000 applications to the psychology 4th year programs, which is an increase of 150% since 2017, with an average entry score of 81% WAM, up from 74% WAM.

How did the team react to winning to the award? Has it presented the team with any new opportunities?

I’m super proud of what the team has produced. We learnt so much from the process of working together, because there were lots of people collaborating, lots of good ideas. Everybody was learning off everyone else the whole way through. We felt we grew as a group during that time and have developed professionally. We’re now hoping to apply for an AAUT award as a result of winning this VC award at Deakin.

What was your experience of the submission process? Did you find any worth in the process itself?

Writing up the application encourages you to reflect on every decision and every step you took in the project. We started putting together our submission in 2020, and then the awards didn’t go ahead that year. The application turned out to be an opportunity find the gaps in the project, the things we still wanted to achieve. Had the awards run in 2020, I don’t think we would have ended up submitting because we realised there was more work we wanted to do, more evidence we wanted to gather.

I’ve also sat on the awards committee numerous times and often people submit and receive feedback to take another year to collect evidence or develop the idea little further. Then they resubmit the following year with a really strong application.

What advice would you have for anyone thinking of submitting to the 2022 Vice-Chancellor Awards?

My best piece of advice is to include evidence gathering in your project planning from the very beginning. Planning is so instrumental to the awards application process, and to learning design in general. As part of our design thinking process, we were collecting evidence throughout the project. We surveyed students before we started making changes. We had lots of student feedback from before, during and after the projects because we surveyed all the way through with very strategic questions.

Evidence needs to be more than just student comments that you get from student satisfaction data or scores. It can be from sources like your own scholarly work. We did many presentations on the project over the last four years, we authored a book chapter, we’ve collected data about course satisfaction, data from industry and data on how students use unit sites.

People do amazing teaching at Deakin, so it’s important to consider collecting the data to show the massive impact you’ve made on students.

Visit the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards page on DeakinHub for more details on applying. Applications close 5pm on 12 August 2022.

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