Get to know some of UQ's passionate and engaging teachers.
Published 12 May, 2023 · 8-minute read
All UQ teachers have a passion for their area of expertise and a drive to pass this onto their students. For our teachers, there's nothing more exciting than teaching students who want to dive into the unknown alongside them.
No matter the discipline or field of study, our passionate, engaging experts are ready to empower curious students with the skills, confidence and knowledge they need to face a future of unknowns.
UQ’s teachers are true experts, with extensive industry and research experience. In many cases, they've ‘written the book’ on their subject. They're highly sought-after specialists who continue to provide knowledge leadership for a better world.
They're also future-focused, which means they're committed to ensuring students gain the insights, experience, and practical know-how to tackle any problem. Not just content to give students the skills to get their first job, our teachers prepare students for any path, any future, and any possibility.
When many people think of design, they tend to focus on the end result – impeccably colour-coordinated rooms, shiny new products or detailed illustrations. But according to UQ Associate Lecturer Dr Sean Peel, the most important aspect of design is the process of finding problems.
Sean has dedicated his career as a designer to this pursuit of finding the right problems to solve – the ones that will create meaningful change in the lives of others.
Professor Tracey Bunda: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
As Professor of Indigenous Education, Tracey Bunda helps students see how understanding Indigenous knowledges and cultures can complement their other studies, helping them become the thoughtful leaders of tomorrow.
Tracey finds joy in teaching because it’s not just a learning experience for her students, but for her as well.
UQ Lecturer Debbie Jeffery brings a wealth of international industry experience to her classrooms, but it’s her unique approach to teaching that makes her classes so engaging, enjoyable and educational.
Debbie's interactive style and innovative use of technology prepare her students with both the hard and soft skills for the future workforce.
Dr Paul Vrbik’s path to becoming a computer scientist began back in high school, where he would program his computer to solve maths problems for his homework.
Paul’s teachers noticed his proclivity for mathematical computing and pushed him in that direction following high school. And now he's a lecturer in UQ’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Associate Professor Ron Johnstone: Environmental Science
Drawing from his extensive experience nurturing the coastal and marine ecosystems of more than 30 countries, Associate Professor Ron Johnstone knows that what his students learn will have an impact on the future of the planet.
The term ‘zoonotic’ may not have been widely known before the COVID-19 crisis, but for UQ public health expert Simon Reid, discovering how diseases jump from animals to humans – and what to do to minimise the risk, has been the focus of his research for years.
As a teacher, seeing his students understand the complex relationship between place, person and situation is a satisfying milestone.
An interest in children’s oral health and the dental health system is what fuels UQ Lecturer Dr Nicole Stormon’s research and role as an oral health therapist. Nicole endeavours to investigate and implement ways to change dentistry to help all Australians access care, regardless of their background.
Dr Brooke-Mai Whelan, the Program Director of UQ’s Bachelor of Speech Pathology (Honours) has a passion for post-brain-injury communication rehabilitation. She’s driving research supporting people with communication disabilities and ensuring tomorrow’s speech pathologists are taught with the patient in mind.
Compassion science may not be a term that’s thrown around often, but for Dr James Kirby, a Clinical Psychologist and Senior Lecturer in UQ’s Bachelor of Psychological Science (Honours), it’s an important one.
His research centres on compassion focused approaches in therapy, and he’s committed to ensuring our psychology students are taught to include compassion and empathy in their skillset.
With a focus on ‘bringing the clinic to the classroom’, Shelley helps ensure her students understand the complexities of living with a chronic health condition and are taught to use this understanding as a basis for personalised exercise intervention.
Roma's passion for physiotherapy ensures her students are well prepared for their future careers. By exposing them to real cases and simulated patient experiences, they gain valuable insights into what they can expect on the job.
Her research also equips employers with the necessary tools to support new graduates in a way that benefits the students’ careers and the healthcare needs of the community.
Associate Professor Sean Tweedy: Human Movement Studies
Associate Professor Sean Tweedy has been working in physical activity roles since he was 19. He's passionate about making sport inclusive for people of all abilities.
From undergrads to PhD candidates, he wants to share this passion with others, so they too can help enhance the sporting landscape to support and encourage a love for physical activity amongst people with disabilities.
Dr Steven Rynne's CV ranges from health and physical education teacher and youth sports coach to researcher and lecturer in high performance coaching. So, it's no surprise he knows a thing or two about what makes a good sports coach and the key ingredients for athletic success.
Steven has dedicated his entire career to promoting positive sporting experiences. He now educates coaches while advancing research on coach learning.
One of the most important things that Dr Sara Davies hopes to teach her students is that mathematics is a fascinating field that can be applied to every single industry in today’s society.
Sara is passionate about empowering students to have the courage to ask questions and the confidence to make mistakes and learn from them. She believes that this curiosity is where the breakthroughs in mathematical research happen.