National recognition for three top teachers

Posted on October 3, 2012

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Salsa, video and ‘sustainable’ marketing 

National teaching citation award winners, from left, Dr D’Souza, Dr Libich and Dr Newmark

Three La Trobe University academics  – who have made exceptional efforts inspiring students in subjects from macro economics to marketing and Latin American Studies – have won this year’s prestigious Australian Government ‘Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning’.

They are Dr Clare D’Souza from the Business School, Dr Jan Libich from the School of Economics, and Dr Ralph Newmark, Director of La Trobe’s Institute of Latin American Studies.

The awards ceremony for all Victorian winners was held at the Victorian Arts Centre this week.

Dr Clare D’Souza received her citation for developing innovative curricula  – including a new subject, ‘Marketing for Sustainability’.

Marketing, with an eye to environmental, social, and quality of life impacts

Her work has been effective not only in teaching, but also by integrating learning opportunities which result in students being better equipped to become independent learners.

Sustainable marketing deals with managerial aspects of products and processes in relation to their environmental, social, and quality of life impacts, which includes recycling and waste streams issues.

Dr D’Souza also teaches entrepreneurship, retail management, marketing principles, consumer behavior and international marketing, as well as social and environmental marketing on the Melbourne and Shepparton campuses.

She has co-authored two text books and been a strategic advisor to private and government agencies in both Australia and overseas.

Dr Jan Libich gained his citation for ‘helping students discover, and quench, their thirst for knowledge’.

He says his teaching philosophy is to make students reach their full potential, inspiring them to ‘learn at a deeper level rather than just accumulate information and memorise facts’.

His classes feature innovative teaching practices such as economic policy simulation games or regular student competitions.

Dr Libich, left, interviewing Dr Don Brash, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Student interaction occurs even in his large macroeconomics lectures where students engage and discuss their views during ‘two-minute-buzz-times’.

These debates continue on a University web-based discussion forum, and are enriched by links to external media sources.

Dr Libich also runs guest lectures – but they’re in the form of one-hour video-interviews with leading researchers and policymakers.

Former central bank governors, members of parliament and leading academics are interviewed in La Trobe’s media studio. Topics range from the global financial crisis to monetary policy, economic growth, climate change, and effective learning. The student ‘audience’ then questions the guests.

This television-style series not only ‘brings to life’ subjects in many areas of economics and education, but also attempts to ignite the students’ interest in the material and – more generally – in learning.

The videos are also available for global audiences on iTunes U and YouTube.

Dr Libich’s teaching efforts seem to be appreciated by his students, having voted him La Trobe’s top lecturer in the national UniJobs e-poll for three years in a row.

Dr Ralph Newmark,who is also Head of Latin American Studies, was awarded his citation for ‘experiential active learning’ – using music, food and popular culture to motivate his students and deepen their understandings of Latin American history.

Dr Newmark, right, during a light-hearted promotion of Latin American Studies on Open Day

A specialist in Brazilian history, his most innovatively named subjects include ‘Tango, Samba, Salsa and Society: The History of Latin America through Music, Food and Drugs’, ‘From Pirates to Reggae: The History of Jamaica & the Caribbean’ and ‘Brazil: History, Development, Culture and the Amazon’.

Dr Newmark also teaches about globalisation and development, and the conquest of the Americas, including Aztecs, Maya and Incas.

He was co-editor of the ‘JILAS-Journal of Iberian and Latin American Studies’ for more than a decade and is a regular media commentator on Latin American affairs. He also conducts a fortnightly radio program discussing the relationship between history and music in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The 2012 ‘Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning’ are awarded by the Federal Government’s Office for Learning and Teaching, details at www.olt.gov.au