Excite alumni: Anthea Cochrane wins the University's David White Teaching Award

We would like to congratulate one of our EXCITE alumna, Anthea Cochrane on the recognition of her significant teaching and learning contribution to the University’s Doctor of Optometry.  Anthea tells us a little more about her love of teaching, the award and EXCITE...

Anthea Cochrane receives award

My passion for teaching is in my blood. My mum did Science and then a Dip Ed at Melbourne University and taught Maths/Science. I got involved in clinical teaching while working at the Australian College of Optometry and found I really enjoyed it.The first teaching specialist job was created in the Optometry department about 10 years ago. I applied and joined the University and have not looked back.

My current role at UoM in the Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences is co-ordination of the third year of our four-year Doctor of Optometry program. I also co-ordinate the preclinic program and external clinical placements that our students undertake. The David White Award recognized my leadership role in transitioning our course from an undergraduate program to our current postgraduate Doctor of Optometry Program. I changed our preclinical teaching to start day one year one, introduced an important professional practice component, and worked to create an overseas capstone experience for our students. It’s a work in process as we continue to improve our course and the quality of our graduates.

Doing the EXCITE program in 2015/16 was a great opportunity. I got to hear from experienced passionate educators about many aspects of teaching scholarship and I particularly enjoyed the clinical focus. My classmates were an amazing group of people from a range of medical specialties and allied health disciplines.  I learnt lots from my fellow classmates, it was great to share both what worked well and what we found difficult in our different teaching environments. Doing the EXCITE program gave me confidence to explore different ways to teach and to challenge myself and my students. I learnt to engage with educational scholarship and what and where to go to read and learn.

One piece of advice for clinical teachers? Facilitation of learning is so important. When teaching in the clinic don’t forget to teach beyond detection and diagnosis of the patient’s condition – there is much more for students to learn about working in a clinical environment that is just as important for them to be successful clinicians.