Images: Professor John Pegg, Professor Michael Wilmore and Dr Jennifer Charteris 

Two educators and a UNE education program are among the winners in this year’s Australian College of Educators awards for the New England region, recognising significant contributions to education.

The School of Education’s Dr Jennifer Charteris and Professor John Pegg have been acknowledged for going above and beyond what is routinely expected of an educator, while the success of UNE’s QuickSmart literacy and numeracy intervention program was also acknowledged.

Dean of UNE’s Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education, Professor Michael Wilmore, says the acknowledgements demonstrate UNE’s strength in education in the region and beyond.

“It is great to see the outstanding work of our talented staff honoured by these Australian College of Educators awards. Professor John Pegg and Dr Jennifer Charteris provide inspirational leadership in education, research and policy development to their students and colleagues,” he says.

“The recognition of the QuickSmart program, which transforms the lives of learners in numeracy and literacy throughout Australia, affirms UNE’s reputation as one of the nation’s most important centres for innovation in education.”

Professor Pegg’s award recognises a lifetime of achievement including as director of the SiMERR National Research Centre from UNE for many years, which develops education solutions and intervention programs for rural and remote regions and students who struggle in school, and helps raise education in developing nations to international standards through partnerships, policies and program development.

“Receiving the JA Sutherland Memorial Award for significant contributions to education was a great honour as well as a surprise,” Professor Pegg said.

“The award highlighted for me what dedicated groups working closely together can achieve in bringing about important new directions in education in very complex areas of human need. UNE and SiMERR staff and practices have been enablers of such actions nationally and internationally through establishing environments and opportunities in which change processes can be envisioned and enacted.”

QuickSmart, one of the SiMERR team’s innovative programs co-created by Professor Pegg, won the HTB Harris Award for an innovative program that has proven to successfully fulfil an educational need or problem over time.

The QuickSmart program shows low-achieving middle school students who participate in the program consistently achieve up to three years of academic growth over the normal course of the program.

“The idea of QuickSmart is that if at-risk learners are given a genuine second-chance to succeed, the results can be life-changing. Many tens of thousands of learners in Australia can now testify that this statement is true for them,” Professor Pegg said.

UNE School of Education’s Dr Jennifer Charteris’ JA Sutherland Memorial Award recognises her innovation and dedication to both pre-service teacher education and work to develop school leadership in Australia and abroad.

Like the work of SiMERR and the QuickSmart program, Jennifer’s work is largely focused on engagement and inclusion in schools, teaching strategies to both new teachers and established school leaders to ensure social justice and achievement across the student body.

“There is such a narrow perception of teacher quality out there,” she says. “But teacher education is about providing opportunities for student teachers to grow into the challenge of supporting students and helping them be the best teachers they can be.

“As educators in the School of Education, we support leaders and teachers to navigate the challenges they face in schools and develop their skills, such as helping them adapt to the COVID crisis.

“But as teachers at UNE, we’re influencing the next generation of teachers to ensure quality teaching in schools. It’s exciting and rewarding,” she says.    

More about the QuickSmart program.