The Future of STEM Education at Universities: What Will Teaching and Learning Look Like?

Date: 10th May 2016 12:00pm-2:00pm

Location: Natural Resources Lecture Theatre EM1 (W55)
Contact: Dr Erica Smith 02 6773 5130

Announcing the next in our series of events around building a strong community of practice in teaching and learning in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM). We are very lucky to have two guest speakers – nationally renowned for their work in STEM education – who will describe the innovative programs underway at their institutions and talk about the exciting future of STEM education in the tertiary sector.

  • Professor Warren Lawrance, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering at Flinders University
  • Professor John Close, Deputy Director of the Research School of Physics and Engineering at The Australian National University

Pre-event nibbles and post-event lunch will be provided.

RSVP (for catering purposes): Friday 6th May to

Staff from the Schools of Science and Technology, Environmental and Rural Science, and Education are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to hear these inspirational STEM practitioners and educators share their insights and experiences. This event will be of interest to academics teaching at all levels in STEM and STEM education based disciplines and I look forward to facilitating a robust discussion on these innovations. Please see the abstracts below, and biographies of the speakers are attached.

Professor Warren Lawrance – Teaching in the Future; Teaching for the Future

The ready access to information and the interconnectivity provided by the internet is leading to a rapid evolution in many industries and society more broadly. Paralleling this rise of the internet, in many universities there has been a decline in student participation in the traditional learning modes of lecture and tutorial. For educators, there is the issue of what skill set graduating students will need to meet the challenges of their future careers in this rapidly changing environment. In this presentation Professor Lawrance will make a case for changing the way in which we as universities educate and outline the direction that I am encouraging the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Flinders University to embrace.

Professor John Close – Flipping Classrooms and Maker Spaces: The Physics @ ANU experience

Over the last three years, the Research School of Physics and Engineering at ANU has undergone a deep review of the undergraduate program in physics. They have written a mission statement that describes our goals succinctly and benchmarked our curriculum against those offered by top international institutions. As a consequence, a new curriculum has been developed that addresses the mission statement and substantially raises the standard of the physics major and minor at ANU. In this presentation Professor John Close will explain how academics in the Research School of Physics and Engineering at ANU are incorporating new modes of delivery including flipped classrooms, a maker space and major projects that drive interaction between undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff. He will also describe how these activities take advantage of the newly renovated building that features flat teaching space for workshop activities associated with flipped classroom delivery and spaces that drive interaction between staff and students at different stages in their undergraduate degree.

Speaker Biographies

Professor Warren Lawrance is Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering at Flinders University. He is a Chemist by training and the author of more than 100 research papers in the field of gas phase physical chemistry. He has served on the Australian Research Council College of Experts and the Executive of the Australian Council of Deans of Science. He has a long-standing interest in the issue of science education and in particular the effects of new technologies.

Professor John Close completed his PhD in physics at the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle from 1991 to 1994 and an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and Max Planck Fellow at the Max Planck Institüt für Strömungsforschung in Göttingen from 1994 to 1998. He returned to Australia and was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship in 2000. Professor Close is currently Deputy Director (Education) of the Research School of Physics and Engineering.