Australian Awards for University Teaching

The University of Adelaide supports Universities Australia in the promotion and participation of the annual Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT).

The AAUT were established in 1997 by the Australian Government to celebrate and reward excellence in university teaching. 

AAUT recognise the impact that educators have on the learning and teaching experiences and outcomes of university students. They celebrate and reward teaching and programs that support students and enhance learning. They also promote excellence in learning and teaching in all aspects of higher education.

Recipients contribute to systemic change in learning and teaching through the ongoing sharing and dissemination of knowledge. There are three award types promoting and recognising excellence in learning and teaching which are:

  • Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning (Citations)
  • Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning (Program Awards)
  • Awards for Teaching Excellence (Teaching Awards)
  • Award for Australian University Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to the following staff from the University of Adelaide who recently received an Australian Award for University Teaching.

Announced at the national award ceremony on 26 February 2024.

Michelle McArthur

Associate Professor Michelle McArthur

Associate Professor Michelle McArthur
School of Animal and Veterinary Science
Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

For leadership in the development and delivery of an impactful innovative curriculum in veterinary communication and wellbeing to equip graduates with crucial resilience capacities.

Veterinary science is a profession that has one of the highest rates of mental illness amongst its practitioners and students and a devastatingly high rate of death by suicide. Until recently, this was not addressed in the training of veterinarians with many graduates entering the workplace unprepared for the stresses associated with the profession. Michelle created an innovative wellbeing and communication skills program at the University of Adelaide’s veterinary school over ten years ago. This curriculum was designed to ultimately improve and maximise professional capacities including self-reflection, wellbeing, and communication. Students now progressively develop wellbeing and resilience capabilities throughout their training as these crucial skills have been integrated within each year level.


Thomas Wanner

Dr Thomas Wanner 

Dr Thomas Wanner       
School of Social Science
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics

For effective use of flexible and personalised assessment strategies, underpinned by innovativepedagogies and technologies that empower students and enhances their learning.

Thomas has been teaching for over 20 years in international development, a multi-disciplinary field of research and practice concerned with the processes of achieving human, economic, social and political development in very poor countries of the Global South. His innovative teaching pedagogies around flexible and personalised assessment have been recognised by multiple teaching excellence awards and have been very well received by students. Colleagues have also adopted his approach and technologies in their own teaching. His scholarship about empowering student learning through assessment has had an impact on the wider academic community through presentations at national and international higher education conferences, and publications in high quality journals. He aims to develop the critical thinking skills of his students so that they understand how power relations shape those issues and that they feel empowered to become ‘agents of change’ for a more equitable and sustainable world. 

Thomas featured in This is How I Teach, November 2021


Walter Barbieri

Dr Walter Barbieri      

Dr Walter Barbieri           
School of Education
Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Economics
Nomination category – Early Career

An early-career academic leading innovative and impactful degree-wide programs that prepare pre-service teachers to use cutting-edge technologies for their own and their future students’ learning.

Australian classrooms are among the most digitally connected in the world (OECD, 2023), with most secondary schools operating 1:1 device programs across subject areas. Australia’s teachers, however, often struggle to use the devices in their classrooms for effective teaching and learning (Selwyn et al., 2017). It is incumbent on Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programs at the University to equip aspiring teachers with contemporary skills and mindsets to leverage learning technologies effectively. Since his appointment in 2018 as a lecturer in the School of Education (SoE), Walter has taught Bachelor of Teaching (BTeach) and Master of Teaching (MTeach) degree courses to develop pre-service teachers (PSTs) into technologically adept teachers fit for 21st-century schools. Walter's work has been recognised with a Commendation for the Enhancement and Innovation of Student Learning and a Faculty of Arts Excellence in Teaching Prize. Externally, Apple has identified his teaching practice as a global exemplar of innovation in education, and has named the SoE as the first tertiary Apple Distinguished School in Australia.  Through his work Walter feels privileged to be able to influence future generations of teachers.

Walter featured in This is How I Teach, May 2023

    How can I apply?

    Submissions for University of Adelaide Staff are typically by invitation only however, should you be interested in writing a submission please contact the Teaching Excellence Team, for to discuss the options available to you.

    It is never too early to start your application.

    The following resources have been compiled from sources including SANTPEN workshops and the AAUT website.

    Resources for AAUT applicants

    Former recipients

    Congratulations to the former recipients of these prestigious awards.

    • 2022

      Award for Teaching Excellence

      Associate Professor Beth Loveys and Dr Karina Riggs (Team award), School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Faculty of SET.

      Since 2011, Education Specialists Beth and Karina have enhanced the transition of second year students through to completion in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine. They have led fit-for-purpose initiatives to enhance learning and engagement through thoughtfully and intentionally addressing the needs of their students. 

      Beth and Karina provide stimulating and invigorating learning environments which cater to student diversity, embrace their life experiences and prepare them to be at the forefront of knowledge and practice to solve global issues such as global food security, climate change, sustainability, carbon footprints and transformative technologies.

      Their strategies include the use of real-life scenarios and hands on application through Flipped Laboratories, Team-Based Learning, Students as Partners and Discovery Learning. In 2019, they took Discovery Learning pedagogy to the next level by involving students in research and development for a start-up company, Mister RyeTM, to produce sustainable drinking straws. Another example of their successful work is the Waite Peer Mentor Program established in 2018. Through creating the space for a range of social activities they have facilitated informal opportunities for students and staff to meet which supports the students’ transition to the campus in their second year and builds a Waite Campus Community. 

      Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      Dr Hong CaiSchool of Social Sciences, Faculty of ABLE

      Hong has received a citation 'For excellence and leadership in developing language initiatives that support the social inclusion and cultural integration of international students and enhance student experiences across disciplines'.

      Her work addresses both the challenge many international students face in gaining a sense of belonging in their host country, and the challenge for domestic students in learning a foreign language without an authentic, immersive environment. She has broken social and cultural bubbles through a variety of innovative and authentic learning experiences including the Volunteer Tutors Program (VTP) and Inter-professional learning which brings students in the Master of Arts in Interpreting, Translation and Trans-cultural Communication together with students in medicine and law.

      Hong's impact has been far reaching with over 800 international and 1300 domestic students participating in the VTP, and more than 1500 in the inter-professional learning program.

    • 2020


      Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      Professor Kerry Wilkinson
      For creative digital technologies that support independent learning, overcome discipline-specific learning and teaching challenges, and inspire wine making/ wine business students to engage with industry practice.


      Team - Principles of Public Law (PPL)

      For enlivening first-year law students’ spirit of discovery in a large compulsory course through an authentic inquiry-based learning experience enabled by flipped classroom pedagogy.

    • 2019

      Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      Associate Professor Lyndsey Collins-Praino
      For effective use of gamification to teach neuroscience, leading to a deeper understanding of course material and richer student engagement.


    • 2018

      Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      Dr Peter Hill
      For sustained commitment, innovation and leadership in the education of veterinary dermatology and immunology at local, national and international levels.

      Dr Nicolene Lottering
      For engaging digital learners through a technology-enhanced learning framework to improve deep learning and student engagement in second year anatomy students. For engaging digital learners through a technology-enhanced learning framework to improve deep learning and student engagement in second year anatomy students.

    • 2017

      Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      The BEST Team

      • Associate Professor Catherine Snelling  (Current Titleholder with the University of Adelaide)
      • Associate Professor Sophie Karanicolas 

      For the BEST approach: enhancing learning and teaching through a sustained colleague development program.

      Professor Michael Liebelt
      For leadership and innovation in the development of curricula and pathways in professional engineering education, designed to improve flexibility and choice for students.

    • 2016

      Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning

      Associate Professor Dimitra Lekkas
       For leading cultural change in approaches to the dental clinical student learning environment, through the provision of outstanding support of sessional staff.


      Professor Natalie Edwards
      For the development of a new curriculum built around an e-learning environment, which has significantly increased student success and retention in first-year French


      Foundations of Chemistry Team

      For restructuring the first year chemistry pathway to provide students with limited chemistry knowledge a supportive learning environment that encourages engagement and academic excellence.