Murdoch University teachers gain international fellowships

June 24, 2017

Best practice: Dr Bell teaches student communication skills to enhance vet care.

Murdoch University staff are gaining international accreditation for teaching excellence.

Around 100 staff members have joined a course accredited by Higher Education Academy (HEA), an organisation internationally acknowledged for recognising professional standards in teaching quality.

Dr Melinda Bell, a Lecturer in Small Animal Primary Care, has earned an HEA fellowship for her work developing the professional skills of vet students.

After years as a small animal veterinarian, Dr Bell moved into the classroom to develop the professional skills of the next generation of clinicians.

“I am interested in defining the capabilities of a vet to thrive in the profession,” Dr Bell said.

“Technical knowledge is just a minor element of being a vet, and communication skills, efficacy, self-care and confidence needs to be developed to help vets make the transition from student to practising veterinarian.”

As part of the veterinary training Dr Bell uses actors as pretend clients to develop the consultation skills of students.

“By the time students start working with clients, they should be effective communicators so they can focus on the clinical side and develop a working partnership with pet owners to improve animal health,” Dr Bell said.

Dr Bell, who teaches Small Animal Primary Care, also coordinates Work Integrated Learning units, with students attending placements in more than 400 practices worldwide.

Murdoch University staff can gain an Associate Fellowship and Fellowship of Higher Education Academy through the University’s Learning and Teaching Certificate, developed by Mike Bryant, Associate Director of Murdoch’s Centre for Teaching and Learning and Dr Lisa Cary, Associate Dean of Murdoch’s School of Education.

Mr Bryant said the HEA accreditation provided staff with professional recognition for teaching and innovation.

“This course enables everyone to gain advice tailored to their discipline, with learning experts working alongside them to develop their teaching projects,” Mr Bryant said.

“Most of the people who take part are academics but we have also had career advisors and librarians gain HEA Fellowships.

“I would recommend anyone who works with students to consider becoming involved.”

Murdoch University is in one of only four universities in Australia to earn HEA accreditation and the first university to offer the program in Singapore.

See the latest news from Murdoch University here.

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