ANU Physicist wins 2017 Australian Award for University Teaching

12 January 2018

Dr John Debs from the Physics Education Centre has won a 2017 Australian Award for University Teaching, announced by Minister for Education and Training, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham.

Dr Debs was rewarded for his work in the development of the new Mike Gore Centre for Physics Education, which champions a blended teaching approach. The new Centre incorporates inquiry-based learning, hands-on design, building and making, and encouraging independent thought and critical thinking – skills Dr Debs terms “thinking like a physicist”.

“I’m honoured and delighted,” Dr Debs said.

“I’m energised to get into teaching in 2018, with a bunch of new ideas and disruptions in the pipeline,” he said.

Most significant among the innovations has been the ANU Makerspace, which now boasts membership from all seven colleges at the University. The Makerspace has allowed students and staff of all ages and backgrounds to work on projects and share knowledge and ideas, with a range of innovative equipment and resources at their fingertips.

“I’m very keen to leverage the award and the prize money to keep pushing educational practice to effect change at ANU and beyond,” said Dr Debs.

Dr Debs is among five ANU recipients of the 2017 Australian Awards. The other ANU winners are Associate Professor Katrina Anderson (ANU Medical School), Dr Jason Payne (ANU Research School of Social Sciences), Dr Anna Von Reibnitz (ANU School of Finance and Applied Statistics) and Jeremy Smith (ANU Research School of Engineering).

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt congratulated the Awards for Teaching Excellence winners.

“ANU strives to provide the best possible student experience and relies upon the amazing work of our exceptional teachers,” Professor Schmidt said.

“On behalf of the University, I congratulate Katrina, Jason, Anna, Jeremy and John on their well-deserved recognition.”


id photographics: National Ceremony Melbourne &emdash; 1R8A2290