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STEMM Educator of the Year – University or Registered Training Organisation

Congratulations to the 2022 STEMM Educator of the Year (University or Registered Training Organisation) finalists

Professor Saravana Kumar 

University of South Australia 

Professor Saravana Kumar is an academic with a background as a clinician, researcher and educator, and a passion for teaching and communicating science and research. He has taught thousands of allied health students over a career spanning nearly two decades on evidence-based practice, quality and safety. He is an active researcher, contributing to the evidence base of healthcare, and has supervised and mentored 28 research students.

Professor Kumar seamlessly blends innovative strategies that bring together contemporary teaching practices and tools (such as the use of technology), well-established teaching techniques (such as storytelling, use of real-life examples), and is involved in teaching beyond the classroom (New Colombo Plan). By doing so, he creates a safe, friendly and positive learning environment for students where they thrive and succeed. Ultimately, this has resulted in improved student engagement, learning and experience. He continues to support and mentor emerging teachers to be successful in their future careers.

Professor Kumar’s teaching approaches and expertise have been widely sought by a global audience. He has been repeatedly recognised for his outstanding teaching, including commendations, scholarships, and a national award as the Allied Health Educator of the Year in 2019.


Dr Richard Lilly 

The University of Adelaide

Geoscience has never been more important to our society. The increasing demand for metals and materials to power and supply our green-energy future requires more natural resources than ever. However, these critical resources are becoming harder to find, and the skills required to discover new deposits are not always taught at school or university.
To help address these challenges, Dr Richard Lilly co-founded and leads the successful National Exploration Undercover School (NExUS) at The University of Adelaide, which aims to provide advanced training for the most promising young geoscientists in Australia.

The NExUS program has an alumni of more than 200 graduates from across Australia, who are engaged in a wide range of geoscience roles to provide the crucial natural resources for our daily lives. Since 2020 the NExUS program has expanded to offer professional development workshops, 'work ready' activities for undergraduates, and a geoscience/STEMM school outreach program and YouTube channel.

NExUS is a leading example of collaboration between industry, academia and government, and has engaged with more than 60 companies since founding in 2016. In just a few years, the NExUS program has built a very strong national and international reputation for excellence in delivering practical geoscience education.

Associate Professor Peter Smitham 

The University of Adelaide, The Royal Adelaide Hospital 

Clinical Associate Professor Peter Smitham is a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, researcher, teacher and trainer. His clinical work at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) focuses on primary and revision hip and knee replacements, and orthopaedic trauma, and he is also a supervisor to training orthopaedic surgeons.

While at the RAH and The University of Adelaide, he has developed innovative teaching and research techniques, assisting students’ knowledge of musculoskeletal medicine through a multimedia approach to teaching, including simulated models, award-winning surgical technique videos, clinical examination videos, and virtual reality techniques. This has been particularly useful given the challenges associated with teaching a course during COVID-19.
Aside from teaching students, he has inspired students to explore research and present at state, national and international meetings. One student has been inspired to lead a spin-off company developing novel techniques to treat fractures. 

Associate Professor Peter Smitham is the South Australian lead and Vice-chair for the Australian Orthopaedic Association research committee. He was awarded the School of Medicine Affiliate Teaching Award (2018) and the Executive Dean Award Teaching Excellence Titleholder/Affiliate (2020).

His goal is to inspire and improve orthopaedic and musculoskeletal teaching for medical students and trainees, with an aim to improve patient care in South Australia.


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