UWS law educator honoured for excellence and innovation in teaching

 A University of Western Sydney law lecturer, Dr Susan Armstrong, has recently taken out the prestigious ‘LexisNexis - Australasian Law Teachers’ Association (ALTA) Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Law’ at a conference on 4 July, 2012.

Dr Susan Armstrong, from the School of Law at UWS, has received the award for her educational leadership in enhancing the learning and university experience of a generation of UWS law students from diverse backgrounds and for her contribution to changing the culture of assessment policy and practice at UWS.

“This award means a great deal personally as it constitutes peer confirmation of my teaching accomplishments over nearly two decades,” says Dr Armstrong.

“It also highlights the role that such awards play in acknowledging and rewarding teaching excellence at a time when there are significant pressures on our capacity to provide the best education we can to our students.”

Dr Armstrong was a foundational appointment to the new UWS School of Law in 1996 and has assisted to create a culture which nurtures students and builds their capacity to succeed and to use law justly. She has contributed to developing a rigorous and vital law curriculum and demonstrated distinction and innovation in evidence-based approaches to assessment and the first year experience.

In 2008, Dr Armstrong was appointed as a First Year Advisor to commencing law students.

“I initiated a program to improve the engagement, success and retention of commencing law students. The First Year Law program has since been recognised by UWS as best practice and has led to UWS’s national reputation in first year law transition,” says Dr Armstrong.

“Such programs assist to create peer support networks to promote self-regulated learning and the skills for academic success, particularly important given the high rates of depression and other mental health problems experienced by law students.”

Dr Armstrong has published internationally on the Law School’s first year program and on the role of exemplars and standards in promoting student learning.

In 2010, Professor Michael Adams, Dean of the School of Law at UWS was awarded the 'Mentor of Teaching Excellence' title at the LexisNexis-ALTA Award for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Law.

The LexisNexis-ALTA Award has become a symbol of recognition for Excellence and Innovation in the Teaching of Law. LexisNexis recognises and rewards regional university teachers who demonstrate excellence and innovation in the teaching of law through:

  • Curriculum advancement and pedagogical improvements in their courses;
  • Engagement with students in order to achieve outstanding learning results; and
  • Innovation of learning design including the use of technology to achieve improved learning results for students.


6 July 2012

Contact: Kristy Gleeson, Media Officer