Isabelle is our Associate Dean International and Engagement, Deputy Head of the School of Optometry and Vision Science and winner of the 2018 Science Staff Award for Teaching Innovation. She shares a little bit about her work, teaching and how she unwinds.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I love lots of things about my job. The thing I love most is probably those discovery moments when you look at your research data and get excited about new interesting findings that you were not expecting. Outside of those moments, I feel that I have the best job in the world because I get to interact with students, with optometry clinic patients, and with researchers and other teachers locally but also from around the world. In the last year I was fortunate enough to have visited China, India, Canada, USA, and Uganda and interact with current and future scientists in all those countries.
What insights do you have into teaching innovation?
Teaching innovation is a fantastic tool for university academics. In my teaching, I used teaching innovation to free me up from the need to lecture with powerpoint to students. With current technology it is very easy to allow students to access pre-recorded material online and then use our face to face time to do activities that are tailored to help them apply their learning and deepen their understanding of various concepts covered in the pre-class material. Another insight might be that people tend to underestimate how much time it takes to incorporate innovation in their teaching. Yes, it is rewarding but it certainly requires lots of time and energy to do it well. It is all in the planning for me – the more planning I do, the more effective the teaching can be.
If you weren’t in your current field, what would you be doing?
If I was not a university professor, I suspect I would probably have become a piano teacher. In hindsight I think I was never talented enough to get very far in the concert world but I did toy with the idea whilst at college in my younger days growing up in Montreal. These days I don’t play much but I still love listening to all sorts of music from rap to hip hop but most particularly I like listening to chamber music.
How do you unwind after work?
Because I travel so much with work I like to stay in Sydney and enjoy time at the beach or the pool with the kids, walk the family dog and cook for friends at home. My daughter and I are Sydney FC and W league fans and attend as many games as possible. Being Canadian originally, I love skiing and “my” mountain growing up was Mont-Tremblant in Quebec. Opportunities don’t come often enough but any time I get the chance, I hit the slopes.