19 December 2016: A University of Canberra academic’s contribution to teaching has been recognised with a citation from the Office of Learning and Teaching.
Clinical assistant professor in public health and nutrition Rachel Bacon is one of four Canberra academics awarded a prestigious teaching prize which is given to university teachers who demonstrate innovation in student learning.
An advocate for work integrated learning (WIL), Dr Bacon is responsible for the WIL concept within the Discipline of Nutrition and Dietetics. She was also instrumental in establishing student-led clinics, an initiative which made the course unique in Australia with students gaining experience in under serviced settings.
Dr Bacon’s interest in practical learning extends to her research. In 2015, she released the first nationally available research-based and web-delivered learning program in competency-based assessment for supervising dietitians.
“I have been really well supported in my learning and teaching work at the University and I have been fortunate to work with some wonderful people,” she said.
“There have been many people who have contributed to my achievements. We’re quite lucky at the University of Canberra, because people are happy to embrace and support new ideas.”
Dr Bacon has worked as a dietitian since 1996 before moving into a clinical educator role. She joined the University in 2010 and received two awards from the Dietitians Association of Australia for her research into clinical placement practices in Australia last year.
Her current position combines her interest in nutrition and dietetics with her passion for teaching, a role she said can be exhausting and all encompassing.
“I enjoy more than anything watching someone develop. To see students grow and become outstanding professionals that are eventually your colleagues,” she said.
When she isn’t working, Dr Bacon enjoys spending time with her son and daughter who are both teenagers, gardening and exercising. She said juggling all areas of her life is something she is still figuring out.
“I’ve been trying to work on balancing my work and family because I’m not so good at that. I get quite absorbed with my work and I’m fortunate because I enjoy it but I think sometimes I need to pull myself away and spend more time with my family,” she said.
“My job does influence how I parent and especially my kids’ attitude towards school, they love learning – they don’t necessarily love school but they love learning. They’ve got this idea that learning is kind of like a game, it’s a pleasure and that makes me happy. I like to think it’s the same with my job.”