A passion for constructive education earns Professor national recognition

08 March 2022

When Associate Professor Sonia Saluja gave one of her first lectures at CQUniversity in 2013' she was excited to see the enthusiasm in the class.

That was until she realised that all the 'hands in the air' were actually students asking why they should be studying that subject.

"The experience immediately made me aware of a disconnect between the unit content and perceived relevance of the unit by students'" Dr Saluja said.

From that lecture' Dr Saluja was determined to make changes' quickly implementing new strategies for a more constructive learning environment.

"An immediate increase in student satisfaction was evident which only improved thereafter'" Dr Saluja explained.

Not only did student satisfaction increase' so too did student performance.

That important moment in her journey as an academic is the reason Dr Saluja was recently recognised with an Australian Awards for University Teaching (AAUT).

"It's an honour to be recognised at a national level and represent CQUniversity'" Dr Saluja said.

"Creating learning environments contextualised to student's careers has been at the heart of my work."

Now Head of Course for CQUniversity's inaugural Bachelor of Medical Science (Pathway to Medicine)' which officially got underway this week' Dr Saluja said she was thrilled to finally see the course come to life.

"It's exceptionally fulfilling to see the vision become a reality now with the commencement of the Pathway to Medicine course'" she said.

"It has been a privilege to be part of the journey from the initial stages of vision' progressing to a partnership between four organisations' to working with a team developing a curriculum with a strong foundation in medical science."

Dr Saluja said the course would play a crucial role in the provision of medical education in the Central Queensland and Wide Bay regions.

"Aspiring doctors can complete their entire medical education within the region straight out of high school. This will go a long way in addressing the health workforce shortages in regional areas."

Dr Saluja has worked across medical schools and tertiary institutions' overseas and within Australia - all of which have been in regional areas.

"The opportunity to contribute and give back to regional communities resonates with me'" she said.

"I find it extremely rewarding to work with aspiring doctors and health professionals as they discover the exciting world of medical science and how they can improve the health outcomes of their community. Fast forward 20 years to today' and I continue to find medical education a great source of joy."