A WARRNAMBOOL-based Deakin University journalism lecturer has received a federal government award for her outstanding contribution to student learning.
Kristy Hess received the citation from the federal government’s Office for Learning and Teaching for “excellence in advancing news reporting practices among rural and regional journalism students through innovative, research-led curriculum and professional expertise”.
The citation, which comes with a $10,000 cash prize, is part of the Office for Learning and Teaching’s Australian awards for university teaching.
The citation recognises her work in the Country Press Australia/Deakin University Post Cadet Journalism course, an education program for working journalists in rural Australia.
Ms Hess has managed the program for the past seven years.
The citation also recognises her contribution to teaching the undergraduate journalism program across all Deakin’s campuses and for devising the former Schools Network feature in The Standard that gave Warrnambool journalism students an opportunity to get their writing published and experience the workings of a daily newspaper.
Ms Hess, who completed her own journalism degree through Deakin University and is a former journalist at The Standard, said the award was humbling and unexpected.
Education for journalists was an important part of maintaining quality across Australia’s regional news media, she said.
“Regional media continues to play a vital role in virtually every town and city across Australia,” she said.
“Often journalists will be working on their own or in a small news team so having a mentor and someone to review their work can be very beneficial.”
Ms Hess is completing her PhD, which is looking at the future of regional newspapers and how they connect rural communities.
She has also been invited to present her research as part of a panel to discuss the future of regional journalism at a national conference on the Sunshine Coast later this year and at an international conference in Montreal in 2014.
The Office for Learning and Teaching awards are designed to recognise quality teaching practice and outstanding contributions to student learning.
It is intended that recipients will contribute to changes in learning and teaching by sharing their knowledge, such as giving presentations within the learning and teaching community, collegial mentoring, pairing and networking, and involvement in university and higher education committees.