Photographed above are the 2020 Vice-Chancellor Student-nominated Award recipients, L-R A/Prof Kevin Brooks, A/Prof Naomi Sweller, Dr Jennifer Lai, Nandini Krishna Kumar and Zara Bending.

The Student-nominated Award recognises staff for their teaching and support of learning that influences, motivates and inspires students to learn.

Learn more about these teachers who were nominated by their students and were awarded one of the 2020 Student-nominated awards. These are motivated teachers who are passionate and committed towards their student’s success.

Associate Professor Kevin Brooks from Faculty Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, believes that Students’ perceptual experiences form their preconceptions of the way the world works. He uses his teaching to actively challenge these notions. He says:

Research-based activities in courses at all levels develop the habits of lifelong learning but before learning must come the motivation to learn. By adding live, physical demonstrations and stimulating illusions, presented with contagious enthusiasm, I strive to create a fascination that will motivate students to enquire further.

Associate Professor Naomi Sweller from Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences has convened, lectured and tutored third year, fourth year, and Masters-level statistics units to aspiring Psychologists. In her experience, she has found that Psychology students typically dread statistics. These learning barriers create a significant challenge that she joyfully embraces. She explains:

I am personally invested in inspiring my students in their journey through statistics. Although students entering psychology rarely recognise the need for advanced statistical knowledge, our graduates require excellent critical thinking and research skills, with a firm foundation of discipline-relevant expertise. Through enthusiastic, passionate teaching, I motivate my students into a new appreciation of statistics.

Click here to watch Naomi’s informative presentation on the two-stage exam technique and how it is transforming the future of collaborative assessment for student.

Dr Jennifer Lai, a Marketing Research tutor from Macquarie Business School explains how she focuses on conducting research and drawing learnings to foster positive engagement with her students. 

My passion for teaching enables me to reshape students’ learning experience and be an even bigger part of their study journey.

Nandini Krishna Kumar, from Macquarie Business School fosters student engagement, embraces personalisation and applies active learning methods to provide students with a fun learning experience. She says:

I use breakout rooms and discussion forums to support my teaching. Groups that are established in week one are maintained through the session, which builds real-world competencies like teamwork, conflict management and communication. Computers, which can be a distraction, are now leveraged innovatively using collaborative case studies and Excel exercises done in pairs or trios.

Zara Bending from Faculty of Arts took lessons from both her parents that influence her teaching today. Her mother, a nurse, taught her to communicate-for-audience and her father, who has Dyslexia, showed her that everyone learns differently. Her goal as an educator is to inspire lifelong learning through innovative learning design and holistic mentorship. She says:

Students attack real-world problems and present their findings in written and oral forms. The latter has included Q&A panel discussions, mock news reports, story time segments, traditional debates, dramatised scenes from “Law & Order: MQU”, and even spoken word and rap. This year, with the move online, we utilised “Kahoot!” extensively.

Click here to read about Zara’s top tools for online learning and teaching.

Nominations have now closed for the Student-nominated Award. We are still accepting applications for all award categories. Hurry, applications close 9 July 2021!

Need some tips on writing your application? Watch the recording of our Award Writing Workshop (under Application) where you can learn some hints and tips on submitting your application.

All Award information including key dates, guidelines and FAQs can be found on the Awards in teaching website. If you have any questions related to this years’ Awards, please contact the Operations Team or refer to the FAQs.

Posted by Asimo Krizan


  1. […] Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences. View Kevin’s profile. Kevin is a 2020 winner of a Vice-Chancellor Student Nominated Award as well as recipient of a 2021 AAUT Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student […]


  2. […] Nandini is a recipient of the Macquarie University Vice Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Student Nominated Award (2020). Read about Nandini’s approach to teaching in this Spotlight on Practice Teche […]


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