Jaksa engineers teaching excellence
Learning & Teaching
Dr Mark Jaksa, Senior Lecturer in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has a dual celebration this month - being awarded the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Learning and Teaching during graduation celebrations, and the birth of his fourth child (due December 22).
Dr Jaksa has been at the University of Adelaide for 18 years. After studying at Adelaide in the late 1970s and early 1980s he entered the workforce and worked in two consulting engineering practices. In 1988 he returned to the University to get his PhD and started his career in teaching.
Jaksa plans to take on the Graduate Certificate in Teaching (Higher Education) offered by the University of Adelaide once his newest family addition is settled into the world.
"I thought I'd come back, get my PhD and head back to the world of consulting engineering, but I worked as a tutor then landed a contract as a lecturer after a few people left, and I've stayed ever since," Dr Jaksa said.
"I love it. My workload is probably about 60% teaching and 40% research. I get to work across a whole range of subjects, probably about 20 to 30, teaching second, third and fourth year students, as well as supervising PhDs.
"My skills as a teacher have come mainly from my own experiences as a student, as well as working with student feedback on what works for them and what doesn't, as well as peer discussion. We often work in isolation, but there is a real focus on evolving our teaching and the need to constantly work on improving our game."
This dedication shows across the results for Dr Jaksa's faculty.
Dr Jaksa and Dr Matthew Sorell from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering were the winners of the Stephen Cole the Elder Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching.
Both winners in this category were from the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.
The Stephen Cole the Elder Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in the First Five Years of Teaching went to Dr Ben Cazzolato, from the School of Mechanical Engineering, in another success for the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences.
The Award for Excellence in Postgraduate Coursework Teaching has been won by Dr Barbara Santich from the School of History and Politics in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
All prizewinners are presented with a certificate and a grant of $5000. The grants are paid to the winners through the academic units and are to be used to help with the further development of their teaching activities.
Story by Lisa Reid