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Media Release

June 27 2011

It’s the teaching that counts

Dr Mei Lim wins ALTC citation for inspiring studentsAccounting lecturer in UniSA’s School of Commerce, Dr Mei Lim makes no bones about the fact that many people’s impression of accounting puts it on top of the list of most tedious subjects.

But in overcoming that perception, Dr Lim has developed a way to put the fascination into figures and has earned herself an Australian Teaching and Learning Council citation for great university teaching to boot.

Her citation is for motivating, inspiring and engaging students through approaches that foster lifelong learning and the capacity for professional and personal achievement.

For Dr Lim the passion to help people learn goes way back to her own days at university.

“What has stayed with me is the fact that it was not always easy and the difference an enthusiastic teacher makes is all important,” Dr Lim says.

“I was influenced by great teachers to strive for high personal achievement and they motivated me to see that my success in education was an essential ingredient for my personal and professional success.”

Dr Lim’s strategies for inspiring her students integrate a number of techniques including: sharing her own experiences as a student as well as experiences of former students; interactive class participation; clarifying strategies for learning; demonstrating enthusiasm and passion; mind mapping; treating students with respect; using real life examples and humour to counterpoint principles; providing additional learning aids; and developing tailored learning strategies with under-performing students.

“One thing I like to emphasize with my students is that no question is a stupid one and that mistakes are often a path to learning,” she says.

“I also like to share with them that accounting was a subject I really disliked but in following through I became a CPA and ultimately a PhD in accounting – so things can and do turn around.”

And if Dr Lim’s graduate students are anything to go by her formula for great teaching works. As one reports she is “the best teacher I ever had at University, who not only helped me in my study but also guided me to my career path..her efforts break through the normal concept of where formal education ends, but extend it to professional development and lifelong learning” (Master of Business student now working for the Northern Territory Treasury).

Dr Lim is one of four UniSA lecturers to receive citations in this year’s ALTC Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning.

The other winners are the program director for Visual Communication, Veronika Kelly for excellence in motivating student learning and development as adaptable professionals through the design studio as a community of supportive practice; lecturer in biosciences Dr Sarah List for engaging and motivating students in the application of science theory underpinning nursing practice using transformational learning processes; and lecturer in nursing and midwifery, Dr Jane Warland, for sustained commitment and enthusiasm in creating innovative learning environments which foster student engagement and promote student learning.

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