When Steve Agnew was named 2016 Lecturer of the Year for Business and Law, it was a well-deserved award.
Steve’s been teaching microeconomics at UC since 2005, a perfect post for someone with a keen interest in the financial literacy of children, young adults and student debt.
His teaching philosophy is to never use the term teaching philosophy – instead he tries to relate economic principles to real life experiences to embed learning.
“Students retain stories much more readily than concepts,” says Steve. “ So when teaching Inferior Goods I tell the tale of my own student days drinking an horrific brand of cider that tasted like socks because we’d calculated it has the highest alcohol content per dollar spent. They have no problem, after that, remembering that Inferior Goods are goods we buy because they’re cheap.”
On the social side, Steve encourages his students to get the academic – social balance right, something he says they need to learn in their first year. He also imposes high expectations on them so learn to develop high expectations of themselves.
“I’m probably considered quite grumpy by some students,” he says. Because I expect them to be engaged in the course, know when deadlines are, check their emails, come to class and concentrate – not chat. I am so happy to help any student who has made an effort, but anyone turning up without having done any work – just gets told to come back when they have.”
“Most students understand those things intellectually, and accept them as resonable. Some just aren’t so good at implementing their acceptance,” he laughs.
Because he found University a life-changing experience himself, Steve encourages a similar experience in his students. “The students are great and I love teaching big classes where you can feed off their energy. If I ever delivered classes by distance rather than live, I think I would start to lose the will to live.
…… and that’s what make a great lecturer!