13th December 2021

A QUT ‘real world’ learning program for design students has beaten an international field of 1100 entrants to win the top global award at the prestigious Wharton-QS Reimagine Education Awards in London.

The awards are known as the ‘Oscars of Education’ and reward innovative approaches that enhance student learning outcomes and employability.

QUT's Design for Impact team was named this year’s winner of the overall Reimagine Education 2021 Global Education Award and was also awarded gold in the Presence Learning and Teaching Award category.

The international panel of judges (representing institutions such as IBM, MIT and Harvard) was won over by QUT’s innovative, complex and authentic transdisciplinary ‘Impact Labs’ – a series of four units with strong community and industry connections that were introduced across the QUT Bachelor of Design curriculum in 2019.

The QUT team showcased their work at the 2021 Reimagine Education Virtual Conference with a two-minute video pitch in a virtual booth to delegates worldwide.

The four Impact Lab units – Place, People, Planet and Purpose – aim to future-proof design students’ careers and facilitate the gradual development of their theoretical understandings of societal and global issues.

The winning team’s members (pictured at top) are Dean Brough, Melanie Finger, Sheona Thomson, Dr Deanna Meth, James Macaulay, Dr Liz Brogden, Andrew Scott, Professor Lisa Scharoun, Dr Gregor Mews, Dr Claire Brophy, Scott Parlett, Melissa Guyatt, Kathleen Horton, Madeline Taylor, and Amanda Bellaby. They represent QUT’s Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, the Faculty of Engineering, and the Academic Division, Education Portfolio.

QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Sheil congratulated the Design for Impact team and said the Impact Labs provided a rich, rewarding and purposeful learning experience for students.

“As a dynamic, collaborative and practical university, QUT is very proud of the transformative impact our education and research make in our communities,” she said.

“The outstanding multi-disciplinary work undertaken by the QUT Design for Impact team, in collaboration with industry partners and community, is a wonderful example of QUT purpose in action – to ensure rich and rewarding learning experiences for our students, that result in meaningful solutions for real world problems.”

Annika Lyttle and Dr Christina Chalmers, who lead Robotics@QUT with Kyran Darben.

In another success for QUT, the Robotics@QUT program also won silver in the K12 Award of the Reimagine Education Awards.  This category honours any innovative new pedagogical approach, technological tool, or employability-enhancing endeavour that was targeted at, or is designed for, the kindergarten-to-Grade 12 sector.

Robotics@QUT fosters Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) careers with school students from low socioeconomic status areas in north Brisbane, by building teachers and pre-service teachers’ confidence and capacity to implement engaging robotics-based STEM activities.

Led by Dr Christina Chalmers, Annika Lyttle and Kyran Darben from the Faculty of Creative Industries, Education and Social Justice, the program incorporates cost-free professional development, access to curriculum-linked resources, classroom support from QUT pre-service teachers, loan kits to ensure equitable access and participation, and sponsored opportunities for students to attend robotic-based fun days, exhibitions, and competitions.


QUT Media contact: 0407 585 901 (including after hours), media@qut.edu.au

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