University of Newcastle teacher named Australia’s PR Educator of the Year
University of Newcastle teaching excellence is again in the spotlight with Communication Senior Lecturer, Dr Melanie James, named Australia’s “PR Educator of the Year” at the Public Relations Institute of Australia’s (PRIA) National Golden Target Awards held recently in Hobart.
Dr James, Deputy Head of the School of Design, Communication and IT said the result highlighted the calibre of the communication degree offered at the University of Newcastle (UON).
“This award recognises the innovative teaching practices applied to the teaching of PR and Communication subjects at UON, and strong track record of producing talented and successful graduates,” said Dr James.
Dr James said her teaching style encouraged students to gain valuable real-world insights to prepare them for a successful working life.
“My teaching philosophy centres on the view that teaching is not about delivering content but is the act of designing experiences that encourage and enable student learning.
“My teaching has always focused on providing opportunities for students to construct contextual meaning rather than focusing on students being passive receivers of information that I impart to them—a constructivist approach to learning,” said Dr James.
With experience working in senior management roles in strategic communication, government communication and public relations across a number of sectors, Dr James brings extensive professional expertise to the classroom.
The University of Newcastle lecturer has authored four books, numerous journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. Her most recent book, Positioning Theory and Strategic Communication: A new approach to public relations research and practice was published by Routledge in 2014.
The School of Design, Communication and Information Technology at the University of Newcastle brings together a range of disciplines across communication, design, information technology and natural history illustration that are at the forefront of today’s interconnected world.