Monday, October 06, 2008

Reasons to be cheerful

Ahem.

I was checking my email at the airport in Sydney last week when I picked up a message from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, saying I had won one of their awards for university teaching. I've been sitting on this news for a couple of days, but there are reasons (beyond the usual narcissistic bloggy ones) for posting about it here.

The Council (formerly known as the Carrick Institute) has given 22 such national awards this year, just two in the Arts and Humanities area, though there are some awards dedicated to indigenous education, etc. The prize is $25,000(!) some of which I'll use to fund a little symposium on the teaching of medieval and medievalist literature, probably in 2010, when I return from my year's leave next year. There's a presentation dinner in Canberra at the end of November, when they'll announce one of these 22 winners to be the Prime Minister's Australian University Teacher of the Year. Ooh the suspense! I'm thinking of taking Joel as my guest, so he can get to see the Ruddster in his full glory.

Apart from the general loveliness of winning something you apply for (the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at Melbourne helped me re-shape my application for the mentoring award), I'm really chuffed about this award for four reasons:
  • the Humanities Researcher blog played a big part in the application, so it's nice to see blogging being taken seriously in a pedagogical context
  • it's good for medieval studies, which is often under threat in this country, to be given this profile
  • it's good for English studies, which is often ridiculed as over-theorised in this country, to be given this profile
  • it's good for the Arts faculty at Melbourne, which is increasingly being written about for its budgetary difficulties and its current programme of job-shedding. We are indeed about to enter a round of involuntary redundancies, so times are grim. Of course my award doesn't help those who are facing up to this brutal process, but it might be a reminder that the faculty is filled with dedicated teachers and researchers, who work hard to preserve that very delicate nexus between teaching and research.
OK, stepping down from soapbox now.

I found a bottle of vintage Yarra Valley Chandon, and chilled it to drink with our friends on Friday night. Not to be outdone, Paul descended into the cellar (which he dug himself), and pulled out a bottle of St Henri (cousin to "the Grange"). Perfect accompaniments to ... pizza!

Cheers, everyone.

17 comments:

Suse said...

Congratulations! Excellent news.

I think I'll take part credit, as weren't we humble students invited to write something last semester about your marvellous teaching abilities?

I raise my glass to you Stephanie.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, Suse; yes, that's the one. The ALTC surveyed both undergraduate and graduate students, so thanks to all who took part for their kind words. Hmm. Probably should have said this in the blog post...

Zoe said...

Oh, yay stephanie!

Lawrence said...

Way to go Stephanie!!! That is so wonderful ... for all the reasons you say and more too. We're celebrating here in Sydney. How bout Hobart in December??

Stephanie Trigg said...

You betcha! I reckon we could find some fantastic Tasmanian sparkling wine. That'll be fun to research.

Pavlov's Cat said...

Cleverness!

Excellence!

Total lack of surprise!

I am going to embarrass Stephanie here by telling a little story. A couple of years ago, four of us who had been good friends in Melbourne for ages went out for a reunion lunch in Adelaide during a conference. Stephanie had just been promoted and was now the first ever female full professor (NB American readers: 'professor' in Aust refers only to the highest academic rank) of English that the U of Melbourne had ever had. When our champagne came, L. raised her glass to propose a toast 'to the best-looking full professor I've ever seen'.

Stephanie was indeed looking particularly elegant that day -- and in fact we were all reasonably glammed up, mostly in Melburnian black -- and a nearby table with two blokes at it had been taking considerable interest in our party. L.'s toast made them go all white and drop-jawed, after which they suddenly showed a deep interest in their dessert.

Re Tasmanian bubbles there is a sparkler called Bay of Fires Tigress which would be worth drinking for its name alone, but is supposed to be very yummy as well.

Stephanie Trigg said...

Word verification is bfgfizdv (which I read as big fizz), so I have to respond. PC is too kind, I'm sure, but it would seem most ungracious, and ungrateful, to delete this story, which amuses me as much as it embarrasses me, since I remember the occasion well, but not for the blokes. Rather for the tripartite mandarin dessert that remains for me the pinnacle of deliciousness: a mandarin creme caramel; a mandarin tartlet; and a mandarin sorbet. Dessert perfection.

Bay of Fires Tigress? Sounds irresistible. I'll report back.

Sarah Rees Jones said...

from rainy singapore and extortionately expensive IT link - congratulations !!!!!!!!!!!

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

Stephanie Trigg rocks! Congratulations my friend.

Dr. Virago said...

Yay! Many congratulations!

heroverthere said...

Much happiness and huge congratulations, Stephanie. That is truly great news!

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thanks, all. Lovely to have the blogosphere to celebrate in!

Kathleen said...

Oh excellent! I'm sulking today, so this cheered me up immensely. Congratulations!

Philip said...

Magnificent, Stephanie. This makes me feel both delighted and proud.

ThirdCat said...

I think you are quite amazing.

Congratulations (belated only because I've been a slow blog reader of late).

Stephanie Trigg said...

Thank-you, all. Anyone who's ever taught anyone anything will know how lovely it is to have any recognition of it! There's a sense, sometimes, that teaching awards in the university system can be a double-edged sword, that they pigeon-hole you as a teacher, not a researcher. Me? I no longer care a fig for such arguments: I'm just a happy teaching and researching kind of gal.

WhatLadder said...

Woot! Go you! And similar.