AUTC Biotechnology Educators’ Network


  • Will Rifkin


There are more than two-dozen undergraduate degree programs in Australia in the relatively new area of biotechnology. Programs cover disciplines ranging from fundamental chemistry to ethics and intellectual property. The nature of these programs has been characterised by a national study funded by the Australian Universities Teaching Committee and conducted by principals at the University of Queensland, Flinders University, and the University of New South Wales. This effort has now moved into a second phase, which includes building a biotechnology educators network to share ‘best practice’ approaches to teaching biotechnology—from single teamwork assignments to industry placement schemes. One challenge in building an educator’s network in this new area is that there are many more lecturers who ‘teach into’ a biotechnology degree program than who call themselves ‘biotechnology educators’. Nevertheless, all are welcome to our network. This conference session is meant as a network-building exercise for those of us who contribute to the education of students in biotechnology. The results of the national benchmarking study will be shared, and ideas for networking and network building will be entertained. The conference session then leads toward a national gathering of biotechnology educators coordinated by the AUTC Biotechnology team at the AusBiotech conference in Brisbane in November 2004.