Future Innovation Learning and Teaching Research Group (FILTeR)

Welcome to the School of Business and Law’s Future Innovation Learning and Teaching Research Group (FILTeR).

FILTeR delivers research that shapes student-centered, transformative, engaging, and inclusive learning and teaching practices that will equip our students to solve real-world problems, ensuring that CQU School of Business and Law graduates are flexible, adaptive and in high demand. 

We strive to partner with others to deliver high-quality and innovative research projects to challenge and improve learning and teaching practices within the School of Business and Law as we deliver inclusive, equitable, world-class, and transformative education that promotes lifelong learning opportunities.

Cross-Cultural Engagement with Students from the Subcontinent: Tool Kit

Are you looking for some simple strategies to enhance cross-cultural understanding and support staff in adapting interaction with students from diverse cultural backgrounds, you can follow the EQUIP framework. For more information, browse our Cross-Cultural Engagement with Students from the Subcontinent Tool Kit PDF. 

The overarching aim of this project was to improve the cross-cultural awareness of academic and professional staff about subcontinent students. Cross-cultural challenges do not exist in isolation – they mutually affect and influence each other and thus complicate attempts to alleviate them. Several interconnected cross-cultural challenges, which affect staff and students alike, were identified in this project. Each of these groups is influenced by the institutional context, is nuanced, and thus affects the challenges of students, professional staff and teaching faculty. These challenges roughly correspond to:  

  1. The students’ characteristics
  2. Their approaches to learning and managing student life
  3. Their academic skills
  4. Their attitudes towards the student-teacher relationship

Skill areas of culturally competent teachers include value diversity, being culturally self-aware, institutionalising cultural knowledge, adapting to university diversity and finally understanding the dynamics of cultural interactions.

Project Team: Monika Kansal, Ritesh Chugh, Stephanie Macht, Anthony Weber, Mahsood Shah, Robert Grose.

Addressing Cross Cultural Issues - The Way Forward for Academics and Institutions


This project is important because it helps us to be able to better understand the needs of students and to be able to identify the problems they face and provides us with a better perspective in moulding our day-to-day interaction in classes and off class environments. The staff need to understand these cultural traits and behaviours better and they need to encourage students to talk in the class, encourage them to take self-initiative in different projects. The expectations that University have from them should be made very clear from the beginning. In the classroom, students should be given examples from their own cultural backgrounds because they can relate to them better. They need to be provided with more of training on academic integrity and misconduct, how to deal with plagiarism. The assignment should be designed in such a way that there are less and less chances of cheating and they should be provided with extra support so that they are motivated to do the assessments on their own. To enhance their learning in finance so I redesigned the lecture inside the classroom to start with lecture, small lecture, followed by a practical exam, then followed by practical workshop. We call that routine, some specific routine, and that routine would go with many cycles so each cycle has theory, plus practical exam, plus workshop so those cycles will repeat itself to the end of the lecture, till we finish all the topics that designed for that day. This approach produce deeper understanding for those international students comparing it to the traditional lecture or tutorial and also it's encourage the students to engage and link between the topics inside the lecture. We try to support students from the outset starting with orientation with information about the Academic Learning Center and how we can support them, however they are hit with a lot of information at the start, so one thing that we really try and hammer home is the first literacy school, what we call the first literacy skill is planning and organising strategies, in other words planning their term. Subcontinent students are often time poor, they often have to work, they're up against it with their assignments, so learning to organize themselves is a major issue. So we try and do that first of all encourage them to come to workshops and one way to draw them in is to offer a great big colourful academic calendar where we they can put their assignments, their assessments, their due dates, workshops for example. The workshops we do run begin at the start of term with planning and organizational strategies in order to manage their time. We also are concerned about their writing skills. A lot of students have false confidence because they're quite verbal, they can communicate and we communicate in a casual way we use a lot of slang however this is unacceptable in writing, formal academic writing, and this is a big issue for international students because they often lack a formal vocabulary, they lack a wide or broad vocabulary, so we encourage them to come with their drafts to even bring their instructions. We do have a workshop on task analysis so that they can analyse the instructions from the start. Critical analysis is a skill that takes a long time for all students regardless of their background. It's particularly difficult for international students because it's a new concept. We also work with students and one way to address this issue is by using colourful charts, defining these quite complex sometimes quite complex concepts. Critical thinking is a process which takes time to be learned so it's not as if they can just come to a workshop and just get it, takes practice. It's important that they come to us so that we can talk about this and reassure them that they're not expected to understand everything in one shot. During enrolment we support our international students with their timetable change request to meet their individual needs as they are exposed to financial stress, lack of family support, and struggle sometimes struggle to find suitable jobs. When seeking support for academic misconduct and review of grade issues, we've noticed that some of our international students seems to struggle to communicate effectively. Particularly in matters relating to teaching staff and learning outcomes, we encourage them to utilise all available resources and support services to resolve their issues in a timely manner. We are responsible for assessing defit examination request and also provide policy advice to our international students around the eligibility for supplementary assessment and supplementary examinations. Given the vast majority of our international students are in metro campuses, it would be best if we can have policy documents written in plain English, concise, and avoid overly formal words. In our study we have come up with a number of suggestions and recommendations for the staff who work with international students as well as for institutions more widely. For institutions we recommend that they expand more resources into the international student cohort so that will be resources for support services such as counselling, study skill development, and language skills for international students. We also recommend that they provide financial assistance to students, so they have to rely less on excessive work hours to keep themselves afloat in Australia. We suggest institutions work with students to develop peer mentoring systems and particularly importantly we recommend a training so that would be cross-cultural training for staff, academic integrity training for students, and recruitment agent training so they provide accurate information to prospective students. For staff we have a number of very simple strategies that they can follow in order to engage the student cohort a bit better, that would be an equip framework five strategies so we have E - engage them in meaningful discussions, Q - question their understanding, U - use customised examples, I - inform them about the policies expectations and requirements, and P - practice what you preach. We encourage everyone to really reflect on their own experiences, approaches to, and perceptions of international students, and we encourage you to use our equip framework to better engage with this student cohort.

Our Pillars

We have three key research areas: Pedagogy, Student Engagement, and Discipline Education. We are invested in bringing innovation into learning and teaching strategies to better meet the evolving needs of learners with a focus on:


  • Assessment practices for the promotion of student learning
  • Indigenising the curriculum
  • Innovation in learning and teaching
  • Academic Integrity

Student Engagement

  • Evidence-driven learner engagement
  • Online student behaviour technologies (learning analytics)
  • Intersections of teaching methods and resources

Discipline Education

  • Designing learning for the future
  • Employability skills for future success
  • Improving work-integrated learning experiences

Our Group Staff

Learn more about our valued staff who are all passionate about learning and teaching innovations. Check out their individual achievements and contributions to CQU in their Staff Profiles below.

Headshot of Rachel Atkinson in her office

Rachel Atkinson is an early career researcher and VET Practitioner specialising in Business, Entrepreneurship, and Finance. Her teaching emphasizes developing communication, business planning, workplace relationships and team facilitation competencies. Rachel's research interest is in exploring and enhancing Student Engagement.

Headshot of Monika Kansal

Monika Kansal is an award-winning educator, celebrated globally for her exceptional teaching and learning practices. She received prestigious awards like IEAA's Best Practice in International Education, Vice-Chancellor's Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching, and the United Nation's Golden Pin award. With numerous international workshops and Australian grants totalling $83,150, she passionately integrates real-world knowledge into Financial Accounting, engaging industry and community through workshops, press and radio interviews. 

Head shot of Anthony Weber

Associate Professor Anthony Weber is Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching) within the School of Business and Law. In 2022 Anthony received a Vice-Chancellor's Commendation for Outstanding Practice in Learning and Teaching in recognition of the sustained positive impact on the overall student experience, for the innovative creation of the first student-developed and student-led academic integrity program - Students Against Academic Misconduct - centred on education and preventing academic misconduct. Anthony was also the recipient of the Vice-chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Learning and Teaching in 2019. In 2022 was appointed Fellow Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia and Senior Fellow HEA in 2021. In 2022 Anthony was part of a team that received an award for Best Practice in International Education award for Cross-Cultural Engagement with Students from the Subcontinent Academic and Professional Staff Resource Kit (CQU).

Headshot of Cait White

Cait White is Lecturer in Business Communications at CQUniversity’s School of Business and Law. She is a senior fellow of HEA, and she teaches in the area of Internal Business Communications and is an active supervisor of research higher degree students. Cait has an interest in student engagement and her most recent research has explored the use of instructional videos within the classroom. Cait’s teaching and learning based research has presented at both national and international conferences.

Stephanie Macht headshot

Stephanie Macht is Senior Lecturer in Strategic Management at CQUniversity’s School of Business and Law. She teaches in the areas of entrepreneurship, professional development, and research methods, and is an active supervisor of research higher degree students. Stephanie’s most recent research interests revolve around learning and teaching in Higher Education, with a specific focus on research that explores, supports, and enhances the student experience, for example through gamification and contemporary approaches like Design Thinking.

Headshot of Geoffrey Chapman

Geoff Chapman is a senior lecturer in the School of Business and Law, specialising in Human Resource Management and Organisational Behaviour. He is a senior fellow of HEA, and a member of ANZAM and MOBTS. His research expertise spans many areas of student engagement, from group dynamics to gamification, and his latest LTRD-funded research project focused on how an online escape room activity improved student experience.

Headshot of Steven Boyd

Steven Boyd is a practicing property valuer and real estate educator with an interest in how students learn. His research extends from the design and development of serious games to incorporate a diverse suite of learning activities and assessments to help non-traditional students learn more effectively. Most recently Steven’s research has focused on AI in real estate education (AIREE), and applied in delivery of industry modules for valuers, asset and funds management along with property developers.

Headshot of Martin Turner

Martin Turner has 25 years’ experience in the financial markets: private equity, funds management and investments banking. He has two decades of experience as an academic. He has a PhD in Accounting Education and has taught over 10,000 students. His research interests include how to support students to demonstrate professional skills, such as critical thinking, while studying accounting at university.

Headshot of Alexandra McEwan

Alexandra McEwan teaches Equity and Trusts, Animal Law, and Legal Research in CQU’s undergraduate LLB program. In 2022 Alexandra was awarded a Vice Chancellor’s Learning and Teaching Commendation for incorporating transformative learning principles into her teaching strategies. She is currently writing a results paper with Dr Luke Price on a transformative learning student experience study in the context of an international study tour focusing on wildlife law and protection.

Headshot of John McLaren

John McLaren has formal qualifications in university teaching with a Graduate Certificate of University Teaching and Learning from Charles Darwin University. He has published in the area of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) with colleagues from other Universities with Tax Clinics as part of the National Tax Clinic Program. He presented research findings at the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN) 2022 Conference on the impact of WIL with international students. His co-collaborators were Professor Freudenberg from Griffith University and Associate Profess Cull from Western Sydney University.

Dr. Shweta Singh, recently appointed as Director VET Teaching and Learning at Central Queensland University, Australia, boasts over 20 years in tertiary education. Renowned for her dedication, she received three consecutive Qld Training Awards. Her expertise spans various industries, emphasizing safe learning environments and bridging knowledge gaps. A Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, she is also an accomplished author and contributor to academic literature. Volunteering as a Board member for a Brisbane community organization for nine years, her research focuses on sustainable living pedagogy, with interests in sustainable agriculture practices like carbon sequestration, waste management to advocate clean and green food to the community. Her role encompasses the continuum of teaching practice:

  • Emerging
  • Evolving
  • Embedding
  • Excelling
Headshot of Ritesh Chugh

Ritesh Chugh, an Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technologies, specialises in educational systems, pedagogies, and tech-enhanced learning, with research featured in leading academic journals. He's acclaimed for nurturing student outcomes through reflective teaching. Notable accolades include the Best Practice in International Education Award and the Dean's Award for mid-career research excellence. He's also recognised with the Vice-Chancellor's Award for Good Practice in Learning and Teaching and a staff award for international education contributions. In mainstream media, Ritesh engages in public scholarship on socio-tech topics, nationally and internationally. He's a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, further affirming his dedication to advancing educational excellence.

Headshot of Jintao Zhang

Jintao Zhang is a lecturer at the School of Business and Law. He has been teaching management and international business since 2009. His work earned him several teaching awards, including merit certificates and Dean's awards before he joined CQUniversity. Jintao has developed emerging research interests in student engagement and discipline-specific education, aiming to enhance the learning experience and teaching effectiveness. His current research and teaching efforts are focused on better engaging students and tailoring education to specific disciplines. 

Headshot of Janitha Abeygunasekera

Janitha Abeygunasekera is a Lecturer in Accounting at the School of Business and Law at CQU. She started her academic career in 2008 and has worked in several Universities within and outside Australia prior to joining CQU. Apart from teaching and research, she has experience in strategic planning, curriculum development, and quality assurance related tasks in Higher education. Also, she had been the Champion and Project Coordinator of a World Bank funded project (on Accelerating Higher Education Expansion and Development) while serving the Faculty of Management and Finance in the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. During these involvements, she had attempted to promote work integrated learning practices among students and to facilitate the promotion of research culture among students.  

Further, she had been continuously developing her knowledge and increasing her involvement in learning and teaching by obtaining qualifications such as Fellow in Higher Education Academy (FHEA) UK and Certificate in Teaching in Higher Education (CTHE) with accreditation from Staff and Educational Development Association (SEDA) UK; as well as she had been researching and publishing related to teaching and learning.

Scott Beattie headshot

Scott Beattie is a teacher in the fields of criminology and law who has long term experience as an L&T Coordinator and has served a term as Deputy Dean (Learning and Teaching).   His publications have examine the role of interactive learning strategies including simulations and game based learning, use of digital badges to supplement the learning experience and the design of challenge based environments. Scott’s latest book Challenge Based Learning: Engaging Students through Interactivity (Springer 2024) explores the foundations of challenge design including interaction, playful learning and deployment of appropriate difficulty level.   Scott’s current research includes integration of First Nations knowledges,  simulation design practice and understanding the impact of neurodivergence on the tertiary learning experience.