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Bond’s national student learning award recipients share their love of teaching

Earlier this year, Bond University academics Assistant Professor Baden U’Ren and Senior Teaching Fellow Caroline Graham were presented with national Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

As the academic year draws to a close, we caught up with Baden and Caroline to find out what brings them back to teaching year after year.

Caroline Graham – Faculty of Society & Design

Caroline studied her Bachelor of Journalism at Bond before joining APN News and Media as a journalist, sub-editor and designer.

She returned to her alma mater as a Teaching Fellow more than eight years ago, developing an initiative that has seen more than 200 of her journalism students published by national publications such as Crikey, The Guardian and APN.

In 2013, her students won a national award for investigative journalism for a series of reports published on the Crikey website based on their data-mining of parliamentary records. In 2016, this project became part of UniPollWatch, a world-first university student journalism project reporting on every electorate in this year’s federal election.

  • Citation: For facilitating inspiring national publishing opportunities for journalism students that place them at the forefront of industry innovations, develop employability skills and engage with industry.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Bond? 

First and foremost, the students! Bond's small class sizes allow me to work directly with so many amazing budding journalists. It also means that we have the scope to take on ambitious collaborative projects together.

Bond is really supportive of innovation, which is so important in a fast-changing industry like journalism.

I'm also lucky to work with a team of talented, enthusiastic teachers who have developed a culture of enthusiasm and collaboration, which extends to a network of industry partners who work with us on projects with real-world outcomes and consequences. 

What makes a good ‘teacher’?

I've benefitted from the teaching of so many incredible instructors. They’ve all been really diverse in their approach, their personalities and their areas of expertise. But I think one thing they all have in common is that they have been tremendously passionate about what they do—both in terms of the act of teaching, and also the subject matter they teach.

Passionate teachers care deeply about their students, command a rich, evolving knowledge of their discipline and tend to sweep others up in their enthusiasm. 

How has the Citation made a difference? 

The award is related to the work I've been doing with the investigative journalism students and the associated funding means that we can expand the scope of our public interest investigations, which is very exciting. 

It also seems that news of the Citation has travelled to a number of former students, who have reached out to tell me all about what they're doing now which is really nice to hear.

Baden U’Ren – Bond Business School

As Bond Business School’s Head of Entrepreneurship and Director of the Bond Business Commercialisation Centre, Baden is instrumental in steering new ventures from dream to reality.

Through the Business Model Generation and Execution subjects, he guides every BBus student through the process of launching, growing and managing a real-life enterprise; and through the Bond Business Accelerator, he puts early stage start-ups through a 13-week business bootcamp.

Baden is another Bond alumnus, having completed his MBA and PhD here. He progressed through NAB’s graduate development program, ran his own fashion wholesale business in the US, was Head of Structured Finance for a major fund management firm and continues to consult to a wide range of businesses.

  • Citation: For creating industry−engaged entrepreneurship curriculum and services enabling all Bond Business students to design real world innovative ventures before graduating thus enhancing their employability.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Bond? 

Bond University allows us the freedom to design and implement progressive educational strategies to a small group of students in a high touch learning environment.

My inner creative side is given the freedom to innovate and extend the student experience, and I know that I have the support of the University. I feel fortunate to be a part of such a high quality institution.

What makes a good ‘teacher’?

Teaching is all about connection: Once you figure out how to engage a student’s interest, the learning channels are opened and education can happen. In addition to being subject experts, the challenge for contemporary educators is to be relevant, relatable and respectful.

How has the Citation made a difference? 

For me, the award ceremony was a chance to stop and reflect, and to internally acknowledge the impact my work has on others. As teachers, we often have to wait years, or even decades, to see the fruit of our labour in terms of the impact our students have on the world.

Awards like the Citations are also an opportunity to reflect on the important role of teachers in our society, and to recognise that we indeed hold a privileged position in the lives of our youth.

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