Helen Gibbon

Law & Justice

Helen Gibbon has taught in the fields of Criminology and Criminal Law since 2001, and at UNSW Law & Justice since 2010. She is the Director of Undergraduate Studies (LLB).  

Helen is a key leader of the Education Focussed team in Law and Justice, and is involved in a range of teaching-related activities in the Faculty. She has organized the last two national Legal Education Research Conferences, which were held at UNSW and had excellent nationwide participation and visibility. She is one of the only Law academics who also held a leadership position in the Criminology program before that program came across to Law and Justice, providing both classroom teaching for Criminology groups and sitting on the interfaculty steering group. She was the Faculty lead for the UNSW Education Festival. Helen has worked across a range of areas of the university that touch on education and sits on various University committees reviewing important aspects of educational practice.  

Dr Debbie Lackerstein

UNSW Canberra

Dr Debbie Lackerstein is a Senior Lecturer who, over 30 years at UNSW, has taught more than 25 courses at all undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Her discipline is History, with a focus on the challenging subject matter of the Second World War and genocide.  

A focus of Debbie’s educational development has been in teaching practice, especially in designing and coordinating large first year courses. In this role, Debbie has supervised and mentored 19 casual (HDR students) and early career academic staff. Debbie was in the first cohort of Education Focussed staff (2017) and very much enjoys being part of this community of educators. Since taking an EF role, she has developed several HASS education projects and has been a member of two UNSW COPs. She has also designed school policies and procedures and undertaken many leadership roles. 

Since 2017 Debbie has been the UNSW, Canberra committee representative in the ACT branch of HERDSA and has designed and taken part in HERDSA seminars, attended conferences, and engaged in educational scholarship. 

Dr Rebecca LeBard


Dr Rebecca Lebard is a senior lecturer in the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences and Associate Dean Education, innovation and student experience for the Faculty of Science at UNSW.

Rebecca completed a BSc (hons) and later a PhD at the University of Sydney on molecular microbiology. She also holds a MEd (higher education) from UNSW, and teaches undergraduate courses in the Faculty of Science and the medical program. Rebecca is a Senior Fellow of Advance HE (formerly the Higher Education Academy UK). She was awarded the UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2015, and a citation for contributions to student learning in the Australian University Teaching Awards, 2016, recognising her teaching excellence. 

Rebecca's scholarship in learning and teaching focuses on the importance of quantitative skills to STEM students (particularly those in biology). She developed a model of our signature pedagogy in science, and is interested in how students can gain competence and confidence in quantitative skills in their science learning. 

She is also interested in helping Education Focussed academics evaluate their teaching practice to demonstrate impact. She obtained $123,000 in funding to lead a community of practice collaboration to develop a series of videos and websites on this, resulting in Evaluating Teaching Practice


Dr Kevin Liu


Dr Kevin Liu is the Undergraduate Actuarial Program Director of the School of Risk and Actuarial Studies. Prior to joining UNSW in 2011, Kevin served in the research department at the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA). He has an honours degree and a PhD in Finance from the University of Sydney. 

In the education space, Kevin is a multi-award-winning educator who is committed to empowering students by developing inspirational learning experiences through the integration of a career-focused educational approach and innovative educational technologies. As an EF Academic, he has led the development of multiple academic programs, majors, and courses for undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional students at UNSW Business School, as well as new workplace learning programs for Mentem by UNSW, which offers contextualised education programs to industry and government organisations to help them upskill and reskill their workforces. 

Kevin is Deputy Director of the UNSW Sandbox Program, which challenges the status quo that work-based learning is merely the “cherry on top”. The Program scaffolds real-world challenges into existing courses, connecting students with industry practitioners to co-create solutions for contemporary issues. Since its inception in November 2019, the Sandbox Program has transformed 22 undergraduate and postgraduate courses across four disciplines at the UNSW Business School. Over 6,200 students have gained work-based experience through working directly with 140 industry experts from 22 leading industry partners to address 60 contemporary business and societal challenges. Kevin also pioneered the StoryWall Formative Assessment Model, which has been adopted in over 40 courses at UNSW Business School (over 12,000 StoryWall assessment completions by UG and PG students in 40+ courses across four schools) to engage students as partners in co-creating authentic learning experiences and active online learning communities.

Kevin leads teaching innovation projects that use advanced digital technologies to support student learning, e.g. Online Personalised Adaptive Revision Tool, Retirement VR (Virtual Reality). He is a founding member of two Learning and Teaching Communities of Practice at UNSW, and has jointly received $407,800 in competitive learning and teaching funding. He is also a director of Understanding Super, a not-for-profit start-up that provides free financial literacy education through its online platform and mobile app to help young people understand superannuation.

Kevin received multiple education excellence awards at the faculty, university, and national levels.

Dr Karen Maras

Arts, Design & Architecture

Dr Karen Maras is an Associate Professor in the School of Education. She is also Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching). Her research and scholarship specialisations include learning and development in Visual Arts education, as well as curriculum and assessment practice in school and higher education contexts. Her interest in curriculum theory and issues in education is also informed by her ongoing and extensive experience in state and national curriculum reforms, and involvement in national and international teacher education forums.

Karen began her career in teacher education at COFA UNSW, now the School of Art & Design. There she completed three degrees in art education. She was awarded a Bachelor of Art Education to qualify as an art teacher in NSW schools. After eight years of teaching Karen then returned to UNSW to complete a Master of Art Education to focus on the theoretical and psychological bases of art understanding. This study provided a basis for her further PhD research on the developmental constraints on student learning progression in art, a study that continues to inform current developments in art curriculum, teaching and assessment.

Before coming to UNSW Karen led programs in Visual Arts teacher education at Australian Catholic University. In 2011, she was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Council, Citation for outstanding contribution to Visual Arts teacher education through development of curricula, resources and services that reflect a command of the field, recognising her teaching excellence. 

Karen has also held a range of leadership roles as Head of School at ACU and also as Deputy Head of School, Learning & Teaching at ACU and UNSW Sydney with particular responsibility for the accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs. Karen currently leads the Graduate Teacher Assessment Program in the UNSW School of Education, and, is also the Director of the UNSW Matraville Education Partnership.

Karen’s current interests include supporting and retaining early career teachers (ECTs) in schools. She has been awarded $90,000 over the last 3 years to establish and lead a Mentoring Program for ECTs. The program has gradually expanded to involve a team of experts from the UNSW School of Education who support newly graduated teachers to hone their practices in behaviour management, cognitive load and teacher self-efficacy, and curriculum and assessment.

As a Scientia Fellow Karen is committed to inspire education excellence by implementing a mentoring program for educators across the University in which teaching and learning is conceived as a creative practice. This initiative would support educators to build praxis-oriented teaching and emancipatory purpose through critical and creative curriculum design and evaluation, pedagogical reasoning, and assessment.

Dr Peter Neal


Dr Peter Neal is a Senior Lecturer in Process Engineering (Education Focussed) with the School of Chemical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He has 15 years’ experience teaching undergraduate and postgraduate engineering, focusing on developing his students’ design, inquiry, and professional skills. As the first Education Focussed academic in the School of Chemical Engineering and as a PVCESE Education Focussed Champion, he works to develop the educational capacity of his colleagues in his School, the Faculty of Engineering and across UNSW. He currently leads the Faculty of Engineering’s work to increase participation of students from low SES backgrounds, founded Teaching ChEFS a community of practice for those teaching Chemical Engineering and Food Science, and co-leads the University’s Teamwork Community of Practice. Peter holds BE(Hons) and PhD in Chemical Engineering from UNSW. He previously conducted techno-economic research with Dairy Australia and CO2CRC and was Deputy Head of School (External Relations) with the UNSW School of Petroleum Engineering.


Associate Professor Carol Oliver


A/Prof Carol Oliver is an education focussed academic in the School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences. Carol specialises in technology-enhanced online education aimed at providing authentic learning and assessment for online students in her science communication and astrobiology second and third level/postgraduate courses. She engages extensively in international education collaborations and draws in those collaborations to working with students and colleagues at UNSW to meet the challenges of changing needs in online education.  

Carol has co-led the UNSW Online Learning and Innovation Community of Practice almost since its inception, increasing membership from around 12 in 2019 to 200 across UNSW. She is a Senior Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy and an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics. She is also an EF PLuS Alliance Fellow (a partnership between UNSW, Arizona State University, and King’s College London).  

Associate Professor Jayashri Ravishankar


A/Prof. Jayashri Ravishankar is multi award-winning educator with 13 years of experience in UNSW. She has been institutionally and internationally recognised for the impacts of her innovative, research-led and highly effective teaching and leadership. Her teaching innovations and contributions have been recognised institutionally through a 2016 UNSW Engineering Individual Staff Excellence Award in Teaching (sole awardee) for her innovations in using iPads for teaching and assessment and a 2018 UNSW individual Teaching Excellence Award for introducing blended industry lectures and novel flipped mode teaching models.  

Her significant level of peer engagement and influence in higher education was also recognised in 2018 when she became the first UNSW Engineering academic to be awarded the Senior Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy by the UK-based Advance HE. This status constitutes internationally accredited and quality-assured professional recognition of her teaching and learning. In 2019, she received the AAUT citation award (sole awardee for UNSW) for developing innovative online and face-to-face learning strategies and promoting an inclusive classroom in large electrical engineering courses that improve the employability skills of students. 

Over the past 13 years, Jayashri has held several leadership roles in the School of Electrical Engineering & Telecommunications, Faculty of Engineering and UNSW spanning from Deputy Head of School (Education), Engineering Faculty Board elected representative, and EF champion and nationally via leading a Special Interest Group with Australasian Association of Engineering Education (AAEE). She has also served as a mentor for several colleagues in UNSW and internationally through the Asia Pacific Women in Leadership (APWiL) program.