New grants to improve students' communication, teamwork and critical thinking

Staff in the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences were successful in four Learning and Teaching Initiative (LTI) grant applications in the 2017 round.

The fundamental focus of these University of Melbourne grants is to support initiatives designed to improve the quality and effectiveness of students’ learning experiences at undergraduate and graduate levels. 

Grants involving the Faculty in 2017 are:

  • Through the Looking Glass: Industry Grand Challenges for Agriculture Students
    Dr Michael Santhanam-Martin, Dr Sarah Frankland and Associate Professor Liz Tudor
    This project will help staff to work with industry to develop a selection of projects for third-year Bachelor of Agriculture students based on the real challenges Australian agricultural businesses face in planning for a sustainable future. Value: $30,000
  • ‘Equipping Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students to engage with a sustainable future’Dr Laura Dooley and Associate Professor Liz TudorThis project will allow staff to develop course materials to embed sustainability in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine curriculum. Value: $29,800
  • ‘Harnessing peer feedback to improve teamwork in the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine’
    Dr Laura Dooley, Dr Natalie Courtman, Bronwyn Disseldorp and Associate Professor Liz TudorMany veterinarians work in high-pressure environments where teamwork and clear communication is critical. Implementation of this grant will help DVM students to develop the skills to give each other constructive feedback and be a positive force in team environments. Value: $29,440
  • ‘Delivering individualised assessment feedback to student inboxes’ Dr Terry Mulhern (Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences), Dr Laura Dooley, Associate Professor Deborah King (School of Mathematics and Statistics) and Jason Lodge (Melbourne Graduate School of Education)This cross-faculty grant will improve how students access feedback. Value: $20,000

LTI grants are designed to improve teaching and learning, particularly through the use of inquiry-based and other “active” learning approaches; foster innovation in assessment processes; improve feedback and collaboration for students; improve the interaction and engagement between staff and students and enhance students’ graduate outcomes and employability.

Associate Professor Liz Tudor instructs Doctor of Veterinary Medicine students. Photo: Adrian Vittorio.

Associate Dean (Curriculum Development) Liz Tudor said the grants show the Faculty’s commitment to continuous improvement of its key degrees and preparing students for the grand challenges their future industries face.

“The Faculty has undertaken substantial renewal of our agriculture and veterinary curricula in recent years to implement new, evidence-based teaching methods and to prepare our graduates for rewarding careers,” Associate Professor Tudor said.

“These grants will allow us to further refine aspects of our teaching programs by enhancing students' communication, teamwork and critical thinking abilities, and further enhancing consideration of the challenge of sustainability.”

Story by Stuart Winthrope. Banner image: Joe Vittorio.