Innovative educator wins valuable ALTC grant

karen-burkedasilvaMs Karen Burke da Silva, lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a valuable Australian Learning and Teaching Council grant for a project aimed at aligning biology curricula at secondary and tertiary levels.

Strengthening alignment between secondary and tertiary biology education and enhancing student transitions in the sciences will receive $217,000 in Priority Projects funding over two years.

Ms Burke da Silva, who is responsible for the redevelopment of teaching and learning in the School, said the introduction of the new national school curriculum provides a unique opportunity for a simultaneous curriculum reform at the tertiary level.

“This alignment has the potential to improve the opportunities for success in higher education among entry-level students with diverse backgrounds when there is better integration between the two sectors rather than operating independently,” Ms Burke da Silva said.

“A goal of the project is to foster a dialogue between these two sectors to develop a collaborative network that will inform curriculum development to address the immediate needs arising from the national curriculum,” she said.

An interactive website that promotes constant dialogue and refinement will help maintain consistency in educational standards in the long-term. The approach should prepare tertiary educators to welcome the entry-level class of 2013.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Andrew Parkin congratulated Ms Burke da Silva on her success.

“The ALTC’s application process is highly competitive. The outcome is a credit to the calibre and professionalism of Karen’s application, and a measure of her reputation in this field,” Professor Parkin.

“It is a great coup for Karen and for Flinders University,” he said.

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