UNSW Canberra Lecturer wins AustMS teaching award

  • UNSW Canberra Lecturer wins AustMS teaching award

A UNSW Canberra Lecturer has won a teaching excellence award presented by the Australian Mathematical Society (AustMS).

Dr Leesa Sidhu (pictured above with UNSW Sydney award recipient Daniel Mansfield) was recognised for her excellence in mathematics teaching in higher education last week when she was awarded the inaugural AustMS Award for Teaching Excellence.

Dr Sidhu said she was thrilled to win the award. “I'm very grateful to the Society for establishing the teaching awards to celebrate the contribution of mathematics educators across Australia. I'm very passionate about teaching, so I'm extremely honoured to have been recognised in this manner.”

“I have been very fortunate to encounter some great role models who have influenced my teaching: some of my own teachers who inspired me to follow in their footsteps, as well as colleagues at the high school in which I taught, in maths and stats and the School of PEMS at UNSW Canberra, and in the wider UNSW community.”

Dr Sidhu was recognised for her work in developing and implementing a challenging, compulsory data analysis course for Arts and Business students with diverse backgrounds and a lack of confidence or interest in mathematics.

She works hard to assist students to overcome mathematics anxiety, motivating them to engage with the course material, making difficult mathematical concepts accessible, and providing some with the first opportunity to experience success in their learning of mathematics. She establishes a supportive and encouraging classroom environment, catering for different approaches to learning, providing clear and thorough explanations, and making appropriate use of technology.

The AustMS teaching awards are important as the quality of mathematics teaching has impact beyond the training of the future mathematics workforce. Several Australian mathematics departments rely on service teaching to other disciplines to remain viable, and ensuring high-quality mathematics teaching is of key importance.

Dr Sidhu is currently a Senior Lecturer in Statistics and the Undergraduate Coordinator in the School of Physical, Environmental and Mathematical Sciences at UNSW Canberra.

The awards were presented at the opening ceremony of the Australian Mathematical Society's Annual Meeting at the University of Adelaide on 4 December.