Dr Allison Mandrusiak of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is one of three UQ staff who have received Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in the 2013 Australian Awards for University Teaching.
Dr Mandrusiak received a $10,000 prize at the Queensland Citation Awards ceremony in Brisbane today, Sept. 24.
She said she was honoured to be recognized for her efforts to stimulate student interest in the study of cardiorespiratory physiotherapy.
“When I was a physiotherapy student, I had no intention of pursuing a career related to the cardiorespiratory field,” she said.
“Although I found its medical nature inherently interesting, I thought the style of course delivery was difficult to relate to, content was challenging to consolidate and, with no exposure to ‘real life’ contexts, I found the transition from campus to clinic daunting; however, when I entered the clinical world, my eyes were opened to the enjoyment of working in this rewarding field.”
This experience led Dr Mandrusiak into cardiorespiratory physiotherapy education at UQ, where she transformed the curriculum to create a stimulating learning and teaching experience.
This is achieved through innovative teaching strategies designed to make cardiorespiratory ‘fun’ for students at both an undergraduate and masters level.
“Based on my own experience and student feedback, I realized that the best way to engage students and reduce trepidation around this field is to expose them to their role as physiotherapists in a safe clinical environment,” she said, adding that to achieve this, she transform the classroom into clinics, where students receive hands-on experience through simulations and other innovative techniques.
“It’s about making the experience as enjoyable and productive as possible for students, and ultimately producing excellent clinicians who are inspired to work in this field.”
Not only does she continue to receive positive student feedback, Dr Mandrusiak was also awarded the 2012 Faculty of Health Early Career Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.