Dr Sasha Nikolic, Associate Professor Montse Ros, and Dr Hironori Onuki. Photo: Paul Jones

Prestigious Citations awarded to exceptional UOW lecturers

Prestigious Citations awarded to exceptional UOW lecturers

Dr Hironori Onuki, Dr Sasha Nikolic, and Associate Professor Montse Ros recognised in national university awards

Three lecturers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) have received national recognition of their dedication, leadership, and support of student learning.

Dr Hironori (Nori) Onuki, from the Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, Associate Professor Montse Ros, and Dr Sasha Nikolic, both from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, were all recipients of the Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning during the 2019 Australian Awards for University Teaching.

The awards, supported by Universities Australia and announced during a ceremony in Sydney last night (Tuesday 25 February), recognise the work of university educators and support staff to improve the student experience and enhance learning outcomes in higher education.

Associate Professor Ros’s Citation acknowledged her efforts to improve the first-year experience of students and help to prepare them for the years of study to come. She was humbled to have been included in the awards.

“It is an overwhelming feeling to be recognised by my peers in the sector, for the hard work and effort I have dedicated to my teaching and the student experience,” Associate Professor Ros said.

“My own university years were such a mind-expanding and enjoyable experience for me, and as such, I want to give back to the next generation of learners.  University is about challenging what you think you know about the world and opening your mind to new and novel concepts and experiences.”

Dr Onuki, a lecturer in international studies, received the Citation for his focus on creating a learner-centred teaching approach that recognises the diverse range of learning styles among his students.

“Before coming to Australia, I studied and taught in culturally and linguistically diverse settings in Japan, the US, Canada and the Philippines. This trans-Pacific journey confirmed to me how important it is to recognise students’ various backgrounds and desires in order to effectively inspire and motivate them,” Dr Onuki said.

“My professional development as a teacher can be characterised as a tremendously challenging yet exciting process. While many colleagues within and beyond UOW, as well as friends and family members, have helped me to go through this process, I have been deeply inspired by consistently positive yet critical feedback from students on my teaching practices.”

Dr Sasha Nikolic, a senior lecturer in engineering, was awarded the Citation for developing research-led practice and curricula to create career-ready learning experiences for his students.

His motivations come from a desire to help his students make the connection between their education and their careers, and hopefully to help them go on to make an impact in the world. It is the second time Dr Nikolic has been awarded a Citation after receiving the same honour in 2012.

“I am passionate about teaching and learning because you always remember the people who made a difference in your life. When you help build someone’s foundation, such as their education, if you stand out and influence impact, they will remember that,” Dr Nikolic said.  

“As a student I didn’t understand the connection to my career and was less motivated at times then I could have otherwise been. It was not until I started working in industry that I started to join all the dots and appreciated my degree more. Therefore, I want students to see those dots now so they don’t make the same mistake.”

Professor Theo Farrell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) at UOW, congratulated Dr Nikolic, Associate Professor Ros, and Dr Onuki for their dedication to their students and to creating a unique and innovative learning environment.

“The awards reflect our staff’s hard work, dedication, and ingenuity in identifying ways to connect with and engage our students,” Professor Farrell said.

“The student experience we offer at UOW is second to none and our teaching and learning is exceptional. Our teachers help our students to engage with the world and their communities, to become critical thinkers, and to have an impact.

“I congratulate Sasha, Montse, and Nori on their deep commitment to their students and their success in these coveted awards.”