Fellowship awarded to health education leader

Professor Maree O'Keefe, Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide.

Professor Maree O'Keefe, Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Adelaide.
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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

The University of Adelaide's Professor Maree O'Keefe has been awarded a prestigious National Teaching Fellowship from the Office for Learning & Teaching.

The $90,000 Fellowship will enable Professor O'Keefe to develop a framework for joint learning opportunities across the fields of medicine, dentistry and nursing.

The Fellowship places Professor O'Keefe among Australia's leaders in the field of learning and teaching. It was the only National Teaching Fellowship awarded in the State and one of only nine in Australia.

Fellows are chosen based on their demonstrated leadership capacity and expertise in higher education.

Professor O'Keefe, who is Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching in the University's Faculty of Health Sciences, was awarded her Fellowship for a project titled Collaborating across boundaries: a framework for an integrated inter-professional curriculum.

"Inter-professional education brings together students from two or more professions during their training. The World Health Organization has recognised the importance of inter-professional education and collaborative practice in learning and teaching within health sciences," Professor O'Keefe says.

"This project will pave the way for joint learning opportunities that cross the fields of medicine, dentistry and nursing, enabling students to develop collaborative skills that will benefit patient care.

"There are always challenges associated with working across traditional disciplinary boundaries, such as how to do this while taking into account the core curriculum needs and accreditation requirements of each discipline. In this project, I will develop a framework for integrating inter-professional learning into existing health curricula, with a particular focus on our academic staff knowledge, skills and expertise."

The University's Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience), Professor Denise Kirkpatrick, says the Fellowship recognises the quality of Professor O'Keefe's leadership in learning and teaching.

"The knowledge and insight gained through Professor O'Keefe's work will greatly benefit the student experience at the University of Adelaide, resulting in improved collaborative skills and understandings for our graduates," Professor Kirkpatrick says.

"Inter-professional education is still a relatively new concept in Australia. Thanks to the support of the Office for Learning & Teaching, this project will enhance the sector's understanding of how to implement education that crosses professional boundaries."


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