25 years of service

Congratulations to Associate Professor Simon Ryan, who last month marked 25 years working at ACU.

Associate Professor Simon Ryan began working at ACU in 1993, commencing as an Associate Lecturer in Literature in the School of Arts in Queensland.

Simon began with a blank slate in Literature and has helped to build the discipline into the most popular major within the School of Arts. He has written over twenty units over the 25 years of his career, covering almost all aspects of the discipline of Literature.

Simon is also the author of The Cartographic Eye: How Explorers Saw Australia, which was published by Cambridge University Press in 1996.

The book was widely distributed, has been used as part of numerous university courses and was short-listed for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. His other research has included an edited collection, The Body in the Library, and numerous articles on travel writing, Australian literature and issues in national identity. His most recent article concerned the popular Australian author Ion Idriess and how his book, Lasseter’s Last Ride, mythologized the mysterious figure of Harold Lasseter who perished searching for gold in central Australia.

Simon is also interested in the role of metacognition, contextual knowledge and literary analysis. Publications stemming from his 2011 Research Masters in Higher Education considered the role of background knowledge in literary analysis and how a strategy of generating elaborative (or ‘why’) questions might assist readers whose contextual knowledge was variable. Simon has a strong belief that excellent teaching needs to be girded by research into disciplinary areas or educational strategies.

In recognition of his efforts in teaching and learning, Simon has received the ACU Excellence in Teaching Award, ACU Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and an international Award for Innovative Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Technology. In 2013 he also received an Office of Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning.

Simon was involved in the development of internet resources for his teaching from an early period. In 2003 he was awarded an ACU grant to create The Academy, a website that would service Literature and Drama. This grew to a site of over four hundred and fifty pages of information about authors, literary works and theory and historical material.

“The University was still relatively new when I arrived. When I went to the job interview I noted that the building had been dedicated only two days before,” Simon said.

The first eleven years of his working life at ACU was spent at the Mitchelton Campus before the University acquired its present Banyo facility.

“Mitchelton was too small for our growing needs but it had its endearing eccentricities. There were frequent sightings of the campus dingo and on more than one occasion a large carpet snake made itself at home just outside the library, which I hope did not discourage research.”

“It has been an honour to work with students over twenty-five years. I am always glad to hear from former students, some of whom have gone into academic positions, many into teaching and others into a variety of places in the workforce.”

Congratulations Simon and thank you for your contributions and service to ACU over the past 25 years.

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