2002 News Archive
LEME E&T Program Leader wins Adelaide University teaching
Associate Prof Patrick James, Dept of Geology and Geophysics Deputy
Head (and CRC LEME E&T Program Leader) was one of four winners
the 2002 "Stephen Cole the Elder" prizes. The prizes are
awarded annually by Adelaide University to academic staff whose
teaching is regarded of excellent quality by students and academic
colleagues. The winners each receive $5,000 for furthering their
teaching activities and also a certificate.
Mrs Isabella Cole Weinsberg funded the Stephen Cole prizes from
a bequest to the University. Stephen Cole the Elder (1814-1888)
was Mrs Weinsbergs maternal grandfather.
Pat was interviewed for the AU newspaper the Adelaidean - extract
from the December 2002 issue follows:
"Dr Patrick James still remembers the
day back in 1975 when he launched his teaching career and was thrown
in front of students and told to lecture a subject he knew nothing
about. "It was a terrifying experience and for the next eight
to nine years I lived with the fear of teaching", he said.
Dr James said teaching has many obstacles.
"When you enter a lecture room of 100 students, your job is
to please the participants. Its tough. Its daunting.
As a lecturer you have to provide enough stimulation to keep the
students in the room and ensure they are both enjoying the session
and learning at the same time", he said.
"It is particularly pleasing to know that
your efforts have been formally recognised and I am truly flattered
in receiving this honour ".
Dr James concedes it has taken time to learn
good teaching methods. But he has also researched teaching procedures,
challenged his own approaches and attended teaching conferences.
Today, he can speak of a philosophy that is clearly working.
"My philosophy for teaching in the University
environment has been to stimulate the interest of students in all
aspects of science in general, but geoscience in particular",
"My attitude to teaching and learning
is simple and follows the well-recognised principles of effective
university teaching, ie the balanced inculcation of knowledge, skills
and attitude. I apply this using three maxims: be prepared, be available
and be ready to listen".
Dr James, who has now taught and worked as
a geology researcher for close on 30 years, said his message to
prospective teachers is to try to retain a one-on-one relationship
with the students. "It has worked for me and reaped the rewards",
Congratulations Pat. It is good to get a personal insight on one
of our Program Leaders. These teaching skills are clearly
of great use also in the Executive Committee forum!
3 Jan 03
James with his daughter, Emma, who graduated with a Bachelor of
Mathematical and Computer Sciences on the same day her dad received