Several LBS staff have been recognised for their excellent teaching and research during the La Trobe University Staff Awards 2018.
Teaching and Learning Awards
Two staff members received a citation for outstanding contributions to student learning. Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh received the citation for transforming a university-wide subject, Leadership: What Matters (MGT3LWM), to inspire leadership capacities in undergraduate third year students.
Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh
Dr Petrus Usmanij received a citation for providing innovative learning and teaching of real business context in capstone subjects through experiential learning and real-life problem solving.
Dr Petrus Usmanij
Research Excellence Awards
Dr Daswin De Silva received the Excellence in Research Award (Mid-Career Researcher). The award is in recognition of Daswin’s outstanding contribution to La Trobe University through his work in the La Trobe Business School contributing to digital disruption, significant research income, high impact, collaborative publications and research supervision and leadership.
Dr Daswin De Silva
LBS congratulates Jasvir, Petrus and Daswin on their impressive achievements!
Recently, Dr Jasvir Kaur Nachatar Singh received the College Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award. In 2011, Jasvir received the prestigious Endeavour Postgraduate Scholarship from the Australian government to pursue her PhD at LTU. Upon completing her PhD Jasvir was appointed as the Early Career Development Fellow at the Department of Management, Sport and Tourism (MST). Currently, Jasvir is a Lecturer in the MST Department. Business Newsroom sat down with Jasvir to ask her about the award and her teaching philosophy.
Jasvir receiving the College Pro Vice-Chancellor’s Teaching Award
Congratulations with the Teaching Award! Could you tell us a bit more about it?
It is a competitive award as there are only five awards offered by the ASSC College under this category. I’m honoured to be one of the recipients. The award recognises my innovative and high-quality teaching in the Leadership: What Matters subject (MGT3LWM) offered to undergraduate students across the university. Besides a certificate, I received $5000 to be spent on further advancing my practice of teaching at La Trobe Business School.
When did you become a teacher at LBS?
I started my academic career as a tutor at LBS in March 2013 while doing my PhD at the Department of Management at LBS. Then upon my PhD completion in 2015, I was appointed as the Early Career Development Fellow in 2016.
My first subject was Leadership: What Matters (MGT3LWM). This subject is offered to undergraduate students, mainly third year student across the university. Since 2013, I have been teaching, co-ordinating and re-designing this subject at LBS. I also teach management and human resource management subjects such as International Management (MGT2IMG), Human Resource Management (MGT2HRM), International Human Resource Management (MGT3IHR), Working with Others (MGT1OBE).
What do you think the university and your students like about your teaching?
I love having fun when I am teaching and I guess students do too. Therefore, I am all for creating fun in the learning and teaching process. For example, as a dedicated and zealous educationist, I crafted innovative hands-on activities such as scenario-based role plays, personalised story telling sessions with examples, online and off-line leadership games, fun and reflective activities. These activities have been highly effective in engaging students to learn: “The innovation Jasvir takes, changes the teaching dynamic in each class to make it interesting, fun and very participative” (SFT, 2017).
These innovative hands-on activities have positive effects on students’ learning, engagement and satisfaction. Students support the benefits of these creative yet exhilarating teaching approaches. For instance, “Jasvir likes to play games. For example, she likes to give a pen to the students in the class and she puts the music on. Once the music stops, student who has the pen will have to answer the question. It’s a fun way of learning”(SOTL, 2017). This comment was extracted from a research interview I gave after I received a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Grant in 2016.
What is your “secret”?
One of my secrets is that I remember all of my students’ name in my workshops. I do receive many positive comments from students that they do appreciate a staff member remembering their names and they are not just a number. I strongly believe that teaching has to be personalised; that a teacher and students have that cordial, comfortable and safe relationship where both parties learn from one and another.
I am a firm believer that the teaching and learning process is an inclusive process. I was an international student myself in the US and in Australia. I understand how an international student feels when they are in a classroom. I do my best to create an inclusive environment in my workshops where I consciously go around the classroom and ask general and specific questions to international students as well as domestic students. I also put domestic and international students into groups together to discuss subject related matters. At times, I also hear domestic students making effort in asking international students about their culture and their country of origin. This gets me excited as I am trying my best in building an inclusive teaching and learning environment in my workshops at LBS.
If you like to read more about Jasvir’s approach to teaching: check out the amazing blog she wrote for the Global Citizens Project:
La Trobe Business School’s Tourism, Hospitality & Events Society and the Commerce Students’ Association hosted a Business School Cocktail Night. The event was held by the Docklands waterfront at Harbour Kitchen. Over 100 students and their friends gathered to celebrate the hard work and dedication displayed throughout the year. Both La Trobe Business School and the Equity and Diversity Department supported the event. Check out some of the great pictures taken during the evening.
La Trobe Business School encourages all students to become a member of either group as social events such as this will continue throughout the year. Membership also offers inclusion of like-minded individuals that want to make a difference whilst having fun at the same time.
Eshan Arya has been awarded the LTSU Teaching Award 2018. Eshan came to Australia from India and started at La Trobe College (previously La Trobe Melbourne). He continued studying at La Trobe University and completed a Bachelor in Economics and a Master in International Relations with Honours. He currently is close to completing his PhD at LTU. Business Newsroom sat down with Eshan to ask him about his LTU journey, his teaching career at LBS, and of course the LTSU Teaching Award.
Eshan receiving the LTSU Teaching Award 2018
Congratulations with the LTSU Teaching Award 2018! Can you tell us a little bit more about the award?
The LTSU (La Trobe University Student Union) Teaching Award aims to recognise an academic who has shown exceptional dedication to the student learning experience. Nominations are judged by a selection panel and then, if enough nominations are received, the top five nominees put to an online poll for students to vote. The nominee with the most votes is assessed as the winner.
What is it about your teaching that students love?
I think my students nominated me because I always strive to understand their perspective and do not generalise the overall student community. While I adhere to the rules and regulations, I truly try to understand what each individual is going through in their lives and why their actions are focussed in certain directions.
I am known as a tough marker and have never shown any favouritism and yet my students have been nominating me for three years in a row – this could be for a variety of reasons. I believe apart from innovative teaching, bringing in industry examples, simplifying concepts, getting perks to the classroom and having deep knowledge in the subject, there are other traits that students’ value more which I strive to develop in myself. These traits refer to maintaining a bias free environment in the classroom which is non-judgemental and respectful towards differing opinions. Maintaining a bully free classroom, encouraging students to embrace multiculturalism and to learn from diversity around them.
Apart from business studies and concepts I groom my students to think outside of the box, to respect diverse lifestyle choices of their peers and not to engage in any form of sexism or discriminatory ideas or behaviour. I also challenge my students to push their own boundaries rather than comparing them with their peers. I also go out of the way to answer their doubts and provide them a constructive feedback. I believe the key in my teaching is having a genuine respect for all individuals and their lives and not treating them as a commodity.
Tell us a bit about your longstanding LTU journey
I started my journey in Australia as a student with La Trobe College (LTC). I did a pathway diploma program as my previous degrees were in Physics/Science from India, and I was shifting to business studies. At LTC I met very skilled and student centric teachers. Their approachable nature, knowledge in the subject area along with an engaging teaching style not only harboured my keenness in business studies, but also laid the foundations of my own teaching style later.
Upon finishing the program, I completed my Bachelor in Economics and Master in International Relations with Honours at LTU. As a student at LTU, I was particularly impressed with the teaching style of Dr. Jan Libich, Dr. David Walker, Dr. Daniel Bray, Dr. Rosemarie Edillon and Dr. Tim Thornton who showed exceptional innovative teaching styles that inspired me. I find the teaching style of my colleague Pablo Ahumada very inspirational too.
I started teaching economics in 2011/12. My lecturers remembered me as a star student: I was best in class, won three Dean’s commendation awards and three La Trobe Gold awards. This definitely worked in my favour when I was looking for teaching opportunities.
Dr. David Walker, Dr. Bret Slade and Dr. Rosemarie Edillon were my first employers. I’m very grateful to them for giving me the opportunity to teach. They believed in me, even though I had no prior teaching experience. I have taught various subjects: States Security & International Relations, Modern World Economy, Business in a Globalised World, Interpersonal skills & conflict management, Foundations of Management, Business Foundations, Big Ideas in Business and Organisational Change & Development. Currently I am teaching various bachelor and master subjects.
You have definitely built a great teaching portfolio at LBS. Besides your PhD and teaching, do you have time for other things?
Besides teaching at LTU, I teach Maths and English to High school students of refugee backgrounds for multiple city councils as a volunteer. I also teach Karate. As a 6th Dan Black Belt I teach Karate and Kickboxing to youth at risk under a special youth engagement program of my local city council.
Recently, La Trobe Business School and the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) launched their new partnership for Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality) and Bachelor of Business (Event Management) Top Up programs in Singapore. Students with an accredited diploma or advanced diploma are given 12 subjects advanced standing, which requires a further 12 subjects to Top Up their qualification to a degree awarded by La Trobe University.
Some students of the first intake
The Bachelor of Business (Tourism and Hospitality) provides students with the skills needed for hospitality and tourism supervision with business management skills and an understanding of the dynamics of the tourism industry. The Bachelor of Business (Event Management) is designed to produce future leaders for the special events sector. It emphasises the application of theoretical knowledge and practical skills needed for the effective management of events.
The subjects are being taught by both LBS lecturers and SIM lecturers in intensive block mode, online, face-to-face and blended learning.
Paul Strickland, Programme Director of the Bachelor of Business (Tourism & Hospitality) said:
“The course has embedded the fundamentals of business plus tourism and hospitality subjects that prepare students for all aspects of the sectors. Students can then choose which direction they would like to pursue as there are no limits”.
Additionally, for the Bachelor of Business (Event Management), Paul stated:
“Working in the events sector leads to working in a variety of jobs including events management, human resourcing and volunteering. Students are prepared for managerial roles to oversee small community-based events and festivals but also large-scale mega-events”.
Two student intakes per year in both Top Up programs will occur in January and July from 2020.
LBS hosted the Dream it, Plan it, Pitch It! Competition as part of La Trobe University’s Outreach Programme for secondary school students.
What is outreach?
The LTU outreach programmes offer learning opportunities to Middle Year and VCE-level students. Students partake in workshops, seminars or other activities organised by LTU. It aids students’ confidence and learning skills at the relevant secondary curriculum level in a tertiary environment.
What is Dream it, Plan it, Pitch It!?
In short, VCE students dream up an idea, develop a business plan and pitch it at LBS during the Pitch It! Competition.
The idea students develop can be for a business, product, or service. Then, either individually or in teams, students outline, develop and complete a full business plan as part of the VCE curriculum. Complementing the year 11 VCE curriculum, LBS asks students to submit their completed business plans and pitch their ideas to groups of roving judges during a showcase event. The business plans submitted to LBS are assessed and used as a qualifying tool for the showcase event. On the day, students pitch their 5-minute presentation to groups of industry professionals and LBS staff who assess their pitch.
The event is supported by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ), who generously donate $1000 for the first-place winner. Second place receives $500 donated by the La Trobe Business School. Besides the first and second prize, there were various other subcategories of awards, such as the marketing plan award, the best stand award, and the financial award.
Some of the Pitch It! Competition judges
2018 Pitch It! Competition
There were competitions in Albury-Wodonga and in Melbourne and more than 100 students from seven schools participated. The first and second prize winners:
Spartans Taekwando took out the first place with their idea – teaching martial arts through respect, discipline & leadership.
Beauty Truck won the second place with their on the go beauty parlour.
Every semester, students enrolled in LBS’ Master of Business Information Management and Systems (MBIMS) get the chance to work on live projects for the subject Business Intelligence Project Analysis and Design (BUS5BPD). This semester the students are undertaking a Digital Twin Inspection Tool project for the Australian Marine and Ship Services in collaboration with Deloitte.
What is digital twin technology?
A digital twin is a virtual model of a process, product or service. These ‘digital twins’ are applied to accelerate design, optimise performance and enable predictive maintenance. When delivered effectively, the results are improved product reliability, availability, safety and a reduction in the cost of delivery. Thus, a digital twin could be seen as a bridge between the physical and digital world.
Digital Twin Inspection Tool
Together with Deloitte, a fictional scenario is created; An Australian shipping company is having trouble aligning their digital twin to the physical asset, and they need an improved toolset to enhance their existing audit processes. Even though the Australian shipping company is a fictional company, the HMAS Castlemaine is used as a physical case study. The HMAS Castlemaine is one of the 60 Australian-built Bathurst Class corvettes to serve throughout World War II and is the last such vessel still afloat. The ship provides students with the opportunity to collect data and test their application. Ultimately, students are expected to capture/validate the physical state of the HMAS Castlemaine in a yet to be developed inspection application for Deloitte, compatible with Apple technology.
Students in front of the HMAS Castlemaine
Guest lectures by Deloitte and Apple
Throughout the semester, a series of guest lectures is provided by Deloitte and Apple. These guest lectures help students develop the digital twin inspection tool while using the philosophy of ‘Design Thinking’. Design Thinking is a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. Besides design thinking, these lectures also cover relevant topics such as the digital twins’ concept and designing the inspection application architecture of digital twins.
This project is a great example of how university and industry can collaborate to provide students with the opportunity to apply the skills they learn throughout their degree in the real world. Besides developing an actual prototype, this project enhances students’ academic, career, and personal development, increases their understanding of the work place and makes them career ready.
LBS and Deloitte arranged a site visit to the HMAS Castlemaine to give students the opportunity to visualise the challenge.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Paul Strickland for providing me with the opportunity to participate in the 2017 Vietnam study tour and campaigning for me to be one of the Recipients of the New Colombo Mobility grant. I would like to also acknowledge Monica Hodgkinson and the Equality and Diversity Centre for providing me with Celeste & Jasmine who were my interpreters for the entire duration of the tour and guided me throughout. I owe a deep sense of gratitude to Paul for campaigning for me to be fully supported by the qualified AUSLAN interpreters. I was fortunate to have shared this unforgettable experience with a great group of students. I am proud to have been the first deaf La Trobe Uni Student who went on this Study Tour and thank you for believing in me to help me achieve this once in a lifetime opportunity which truly was a morale booster for me.
I’ve always been challenged throughout my entire schooling life, but it’s always humbling to know that La Trobe University prides itself on supporting students with disabilities to help overcome the some of the barriers they are faced with. I have consistently been dedicated to bettering myself throughout my schooling and being a part of this experience has helped promote self growth and has pushed me both academically and socially.When I found out about the Vietnam study tour, I was interested from the very first moment as I knew it was going to be a valuable learning experience for me. I am immensely grateful that I was accompanied to Vietnam with such experienced staff members and if I wasn’t given this opportunity by the University, I don’t think I would’ve ever ventured to Vietnam on my own. This study tour gave me the opportunity to explore Vietnam and its beautiful surroundings with such a welcoming group of students with whom I have developed close friendships with. Sharing this experience helped connect us through those testing moments where we all felt home sick, frustrated with the humidity/heat or longing for a home cooked meal. This study tour offered the chance to be exposed to the hustle and bustle of city congestion, sample signature Vietnamese delicacies, enjoy popular street food, visit War battlefields that were used during the Vietnam War, participate in authentic cooking classes and participate in guided tours of historical temples and iconic landmarks throughout the beautiful towns of Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and UNESCO World Heritage Ha Long Bay. This was a valuable learning experience and by being immersed in the culture gave me a greater understanding and appreciation of Vietnam. Everywhere we visited we were always greeted with a warm, welcoming friendly smile from the locals and our three tour guides were always keen to share many informative stories with us.
Thanks to ‘Reaching out’, I got to meet some amazing deaf Vietnamese locals. This was by far one of the most rewarding encounters. I was fortunate enough to visit a Deaf Cafe known as the ‘Reaching Out Teahouse’ which is run & managed by hearing & speech impaired people. The Teahouse is also an art & craft shop which practises in accordance to The Fair Trade principles & helps support people with disabilities and integrate them into the community. Although I found this to be a wonderful cultural experience, it proved challenging not to be able to communicate because AUSLAN differs greatly to the Vietnamese sign language. However, with patience and perseverance, we were able to overcome this by communicating with each other through the use of gestures and mime. I was inspired by the set up and felt that we could learn from The Reaching Out Cafe, and apply some of its principles to the already existing Trade Block Cafe located in St Kilda, VCD (Victorian College for the Deaf) which is run by deaf VCAL students.
I have learnt a lot about myself from this trip as it has allowed me to open my mind and embrace opportunities that require me to take more risks. I have gained so much knowledge through this experience and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of not allowing my disability hinder such an opportunity. Having Celeste and Jasmine, the two amazing interpreters interpret for me during this trip, ensured that I didn’t miss out on any details or information and I was privileged to have been given this wonderful support and funding.
This study tour will stay with me for years to come and has opened doors to new possibilities by being immersed in a culture so diverse to mine. The two weeks that I spent on the study tour helped me acquire greater knowledge of Vietnam’s rich history and culture and I felt that my independence and confidence grew and strengthened during this trip. Receiving this has definitely motivated me and I look forward to giving back to the community beyond my studies. I would highly recommend this enriching experience to all students at the University and in particularly encourage deaf students to broaden their knowledge to embrace a new culture and diverse experiences if given the chance.
Let me rephrase that.Why would you want to read 30-page policies? Why would you want to spend hours in meetings? Why would you choose to put yourself out there and speak up to higher management? Why would you want to deal with other people’s problems? Why would you want to be the one to open up a can of worms?
You won’t believe this, but it’s actually quite fun!
Of course, there is the feeling of satisfaction for serving the greater good. I can’t deny that it feels awesome to help fellow graduate students when they have issues concerning their PhD journey.
There is the unique experience of learning how educational institutions operate, of realising how complex universities are and getting a sense of the politics behind it.
There are the networks you make, not only with fellow graduate students but getting to personally know the people in charge! You know, the ones that help run this joint, like the Dean, Associate Vice-Chancellors, Pro-Vice Chancellors, School Graduate Coordinators and so on. They are the kind of people that might come in handy when you need an extension, reference or a job.
Talking about jobs, extracurricular activities definitely boost your resume. I have built up a wide array of examples for future job interviews that show leadership skills, project management, resolving conflict situations, organising events, time management, teamwork, etc. I hate to say it, but it’s important to show your future employer that you’re more than just a person who holds a doctorate. Let’s face it, our future prospects in academia don’t look all that great, especially not when all you have been doing is your PhD, just like all the others holding doctorates out there.
But, as I said earlier, it is also just really fun. Going to exclusive events, getting free food and drinks, making new friends among your fellow PhD students, learning that the students in the other College aren’t as scary after all, and just getting the opportunity to hang out with people you would otherwise never come across.
Another great thing about being a student rep is that it allows you to get away from your PhD research without feeling too guilty about it. I quickly realised that working full-time on my PhD research was not going to work for me. It is mentally draining, I have a short attention span, and I’m easily bored. These three years should not only be about working hard on my research, but also for some socialising, fun, and freebies as well!
And if you think “it doesn’t matter because nobody will listen to us”, you’ve got it all wrong. When I started out as a graduate student representative about a year ago, I quickly came to realise that La Trobe takes its graduate student reps seriously. When we raise issues, action is usually taken straight away and feedback that we give on candidature policies actually gets incorporated.
If you are like me and allergic to people who only complain and don’t do anything to make their problems go away, and if you read this blog thinking being a student rep could indeed be fun, then shoot me an email (email@example.com) and let’s talk about how you can get involved!
Anne Brouwer is a PhD Candidate and a Research Scholar in the La Trobe Business School at La Trobe University.
She has completed a Master of Science degree from both the Technical University Munich and University of Wageningen, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Zuyd University of Applied Sciences. Her research interests are in green marketing, greenwashing and sustainable consumption.
She is the student representative for the ASSC College on the Board of Graduate Research and the student representative for the La Trobe Business School.
Outside LTU activities she travels around the world (whenever her schedule allows it), volunteers as a marketer for a non-profit organisation, hikes around Victoria and cycles a lot. She tweets from @AnneRBrouwer.
Simmons is loving his role as the Events and Administration coordinator at Vicsport.
After living in the United Arab Emirates for most of his childhood, La Trobe Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) graduate Randall Simmons took a chance and moved to Australia’s heartland of sport to pursue a career in the industry.
“I selected La Trobe because of the quality of its Sport Management course, and the opportunity to learn about sport management in the capital of sport was hard to pass up on.”
Gaining expertise with organisations such as Melbourne City Football Club, Carlton Football Club, the Victorian Olympic Council and the North Melbourne Football Club, Simmons made an immediate impact.
Simmons performed duties in a number of roles and across various departments including hospitality, delivering community programs and volunteer training.
“When I moved to Melbourne, I made a conscious decision to get as much sport experience as possible before I graduated.”
“By volunteering in these organisations I was able to gain the experience which most organisations in sport look for and this helped me land a full time role.”
“Sporting organisations look to employ people who have worked in the industry, volunteering is a big box to tick.”
The skills Randall gained in these positions assisted him to secure employment as the Events and Administration coordinator at VicSport immediately after his degree.
The La Trobe graduate was among a wave of applicants for the position, including many from the same graduating cohort as his own. Upon reflection, Randall says it was his volunteering, internships and tailored course work that set him apart from the rest.
“The Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) degree was designed to give us real world experience of what is happening in the industry.”
“From Sport Marketing to Sport Governance, I have been able to take certain aspects from all my subjects and apply it to my role and in my organisation.”
By studying a Bachelor of Business (Sport Management), you could work with La Trobe’s network of sporting partners such as the Carlton Football Club, Melbourne Rebels and Melbourne City Football Club.