Enhancing staff professional development

This Spotlight

A highlight of the Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowship Scheme (programs that contribute to teaching excellence at UQ)

How does it fit in the Student Strategy?

Initiative 4: Staff professional development and recognition provisions

What's in it for students? Understand how UQ supports your teachers to provide the best learning possible
What's in it for staff? Learn how the Higher Education Academy Fellowship Scheme benefits your personal and professional development

Our Fine Fellows

The Higher Education Academy (HEA) Fellowship scheme is a professional recognition scheme for university educators. It provides an international benchmark for teaching quality.

Following a successful pilot in 2016 and further development across the last year by The Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) alongside school and faculty partners, the UQ HEA Fellowship scheme is now institutionally accredited by Advance HE (UK).

This enables ITaLI to manage and administer internal HEA Fellowship applications for the benefit of all staff (both academic and professional) working in Teaching and Learning at UQ.

At UQ, the HEA scheme is one way the university is building and acknowledging a community of great teachers creating change. Learn about some of our newest (and existing) HEA Fellows below.

Associate Professor Saiied Aminossadati (SFHEA) (Amin) from the School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering was born in Isfahan, the third largest city in Iran, famous for its glorious boulevards, covered bridges, palaces, and mosques. Amin’s love for Engineering was influenced and encouraged by his father and older brother, and is obvious in his teaching approach and practices (visit one of his classes and you'll see!). Outside of the classroom, Amin has a passion for indoor volleyball, a sport he has been playing since age nine.

Read more about Amin's teaching journey.

"To be part of this global network, as a Senior Fellow, I can demonstrate my commitment to professionalism in learning and teaching in higher education. I strongly believe that HEA significantly contributes to building a strong and effective teaching and learning community at the University of Queensland."  


Dr Rhonda Faragher (SFHEA) from the School of Education aspired to higher education study thanks to the support of her parents who were very proud of her love of learning. Rhonda originally graduated with a Science degree and then went on to gain teacher qualifications from UQ. As an avid music lover she enjoys jazz and choral music. One of her favourite and most accomplished passions (apart from teaching) is singing alto in her church choir. 

Read more about Rhonda's teaching journey.

"In our work (teaching), I think there are always reasons to feel ‘not good enough.’ Every so often, it is important to be able to be acknowledged for the contribution that has been made. A Senior Fellowship doesn’t mean that I am the best teacher in the school – and I’m not – but it does mean that I care deeply about my teaching and my impact on my students."


Associate Professor Pierre Benckendorff (SFHEA) from the School of Business was born in South Africa but migrated to Queensland's Sunshine Coast over 30 years ago. He inherited his love for education from a long line of teachers and academics on his mother's side of the family. His passion for travel and tourism has taken him and his family to some of the world’s leading theme parks and airports, the major cities of Europe and North America, the African Savannah and the bustling streets of Asia. He has also travelled extensively throughout Australia and New Zealand. Pierre is also a keen gardener and grower of organic food.

Read more about Pierre's teaching journey.

"I am really proud to be a member of the growing community of HEA Fellows at UQ. For me, the most important benefit is that I now have an opportunity to share my expertise and to learn from other passionate educators outside my field. I also hope that this growing community of HEA fellows will create some momentum around innovative teaching and learning at UQ."


Ms Robyn Choi (AFHEA) from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences is an audiology lecturer and a clinical educator for The University of Queensland Health and Rehabilitation Clinics (UQHRC)-Audiology Clinic.​ She qualified as an Audiologist in 2013 and is currently obtaining her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). While Robyn’s heritage is South Korean, she grew up in New Zealand and has called Brisbane home for the last six years. She is a tea fanatic who has a passion for classical music (she plays the clarinet and piano!) and enjoys practicing the art of calligraphy.

Read more about Robyn's teaching journey.

"I feel that often as academics, the opportunity to reflect upon and think about our teaching practice is rare. Applying for a HEA Fellowship provides us with such opportunities. Being part of HEA allows like-minded people to get together and discuss current teaching practices as well as any new ways to improve teaching. I feel that being part of HEA opens door for innovative teaching."


Dr Andrew Allsebrook (FHEA) from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences is a long way from his original birthplace in England and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland where he studied Chemistry (and golf). Andrew has a diverse career background; one of his most unique jobs across his career (in our opinion) has been making chewing gum and soft drinks as a food scientist. He has called Australia home for seven years, and has taught in his current role at UQ for five of those. Outside of work, Andrew has a deep passion for sport and coaches at his local cricket club.   

Read more about Andrew's teaching journey.

"The HEA application process provided a wonderful opportunity to reflect on how much I had actually done in my teaching career and to put it down on paper in one place.  The process was very straightforward. The support of the ITaLI team and having a buddy to bounce ideas off and to challenge me helped to crystallise my thoughts." 


Dr Leanne Coombe (SFHEA) from the Faculty of Medicine specialises in Indigenous public health, cross-cultural education and curriculum design. Her greatest passion outside of teaching is music; she is a classical first soprano with the Brisbane Chorale, Canticum Chamber Choir. Leanne's talent has seen her perform in the community chorus for the Opera Australia production of Aida on the Beach, in the Grand Hall of the Sydney Opera House, and later this year New Zealand, where she will sing in concert with Auckland Choral. Before her role at UQ, Leanne’s career saw her work in Japan, Papua New Guinea and Samoa for organisations such as the World Health Organisation. 

Read more about Leanne's teaching journey.

"I really enjoyed the HEA application process and the opportunity to reflect on the journey I have taken to become the academic I am today. It isn’t often you have the opportunity to map out the stages of your career and realise how different roles and experiences have influenced your teaching philosophy and practice. HEA has enhanced not just my outlook on my career but the opportunities. Being a Fellow is already opening doors to a whole range of interdisciplinary partnerships, which as a public health academic is really exciting."


Learn more