Staff Snapshot: Michelle Bissett

Michelle BissettDr Michelle Bissett is a lecturer and Academic Course Advisor for the Occupational Therapy Program within the School of Science and Health on Campbelltown campus.

Michelle started her UWS journey when she was 17 years old, heading to Sydney from Tasmania to study occupational therapy. “It was the first year of occupational therapy students to be enrolled at UWS,” says Michelle. “I knew only one person in NSW when I got here, so the students and staff at UWS really became my new family.”

After graduating with first-class honours and working as an occupational therapist in south-west Sydney, Michelle commenced a casual teaching role at UWS in 2001, and secured a permanent position in 2005.

Most recently, Michelle graduated in 2013 with her PhD at UWS. “I’m very proud to have both my undergraduate degree and PhD from UWS, as it really has been a big part of my life since I came to study here in 1995,” she says.

When did you start working at UWS and what was your first role?
I started working as a casual tutor in 2001 and, at that time, taught first year students skills for health care practice.

Describe your current job/role in 100 words or less:
My current job consists of teaching students in our occupational therapy programs and providing students with advice about how to successfully progress through our course. This means that I have a combination of classroom teaching as well as administration (and lots of emails!).

What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing is teaching students across the different year levels of our course and observing their development over that time. At the start, the students are passionate and interested in learning all about occupational therapy. In the following years, I am able to share my clinical experiences and knowledge with them but, more interestingly, I get to observe them develop their professional knowledge and skills. I see the students start to take control of their own learning and by the time they finish it feels less like teaching and more like sharing ideas with colleagues. By graduation day they are well-educated health professionals who go on to become fantastic ambassadors for our program.

What do you love most about working at UWS?
The thing that I most love about working at UWS is that there is a great sense of community among UWS staff. No matter who you call on the phone or who you work with in person, people are always willing to share their knowledge with you.

What are you going to be working on in the next 12 months?
This year, I will be working on publishing the results from my PhD, which examined occupational therapy practice with older adults in emergency departments. I will also be upskilling in blended learning technology as I attempt to incorporate more creative ways of teaching and learning in our first-year unit, Introduction to Occupational Therapy.