UQ’s 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. Read about one of our newest HEA Fellows below.

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.

Teaching journey

From a young age I have been interested in and passionate about teaching. In 2005, I started as an English and Maths tutor at a primary school, to help children who were falling behind in their studies. In 2009, I was employed by various high schools as a music teacher. I continued in this role until I moved to Brisbane to obtain my Master of Audiological Studies (MAudSt) at UQ in 2012.

During my Masters, I had an opportunity to conduct an interdisciplinary research with UQ and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute. This experience solidified my interest and passion in research and teaching, and I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in academia.

After graduating from MAudst in 2013, I practiced as a clinical audiologist for a year. While I enjoyed this experience, I realised that my passion was in teaching and research. I returned to UQ in 2015 to commence my PhD, which I am about to complete.

I have been teaching Audiology at graduate level since 2015; that includes supervising practicals and tutorials, simulation clinics, providing clinical supervisions for MAudSt students. To gain an understanding of how students learn, I completed the Graduate Teaching Associate (GTA) program in 2016. I found this experience invaluable, so to further my knowledge, I decided to apply for an Associate Fellowship through HEA. Given my good track record in teaching, I have been given 2 full courses in semester 2 to co-ordinate which I am super excited about!

HEA experience

I found the HEA application process to be a little challenging, as I had to think about and reflect upon my teaching. Although daunting and confronting at first, as I continued to reflect upon my teaching I found it to be useful as I could critically assess my teaching practice. My mentor was a big help along the way, and she really helped me to see some areas of teaching in a different light.

Reflecting upon and critically assessing my teaching practice was a huge step forward for me. Now, when I am teaching, I feel that I have more confidence to try new things. I find myself reflecting upon my teaching after each class, which I was not doing as much before. Overall, applying for HEA fellowship was a positive experience and I would recommend it to anyone who is in a teaching role. I feel that HEA gives me a sense of achievement as well as acknowledgement.

Being a HEA Fellow allows me to be part of a movement of great teachers creating change, as well as being acknowledged with international accreditation for passionate teaching.

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.

Memorable teaching moment

I really appreciate the support UQ provides to teaching staff. I had a student once who was struggling a lot during the semester. At first, I dismissed the student as being lazy and unmotivated, but one day, this particular student approached me and shared the situation she was in. The student was thinking about dropping from the degree as she felt like she could not continue nor cope. Luckily, the semester had only just started, so I was able to direct the student to the right channels to obtain all the help she needed.

The student was able to continue with the program and successfully graduated! I was so proud of her. Before the student graduated, she approached me and told me that if it wasn’t for her talking to me at the beginning, she would’ve dropped out from the program. It was definitely a “I love my job” moment.

Teaching philosophy

My teaching philosophy centres on providing a framework for students where they can learn and think for themselves by applying theoretical knowledge to clinical context, and using their own life experiences to support their learning.

I prefer to work with students as a facilitator and a moderator rather than as a traditional instructor/teacher. I often find myself to sitting amongst the students to promote discussion and engagement. I feel that this works quite well as students find me more approachable, and feel more comfortable to ask questions.

Career goal

I would like to become a teaching and research academic - which I am still working towards!