Organisation: QUEENSLAND MUSEUM NETWORK
Job Title:Head, Lifelong Learning and Engagement
Word Limit: 2 Pages
Location: Queensland Museum and Science Centre
Shapes strategic thinking
In my previous employment with Queensland Museum, in my position as Senior Project Officer, I have had an opportunity to exemplify my support for the Queensland Museum Networks (QMN) vision to “actively partner with diverse communities to enrich understanding of self and place“. One of the projects in which I played a pivotal role demonstrates this; it was in the development and delivery of the Backyard Explorer program to communities across Queensland.
This program is an innovative workshop, dedicated to assessing local biodiversity and the effect of human impact using data from insect trapping. Our goal was to build the capacity of communities to engage with science processes, and to use these skills to increase community knowledge of the local environment, and commence local biodiversity research.
One of the problems we identified in the implementation of the program, was the matter of funding. Recognising that the program would be a tremendous assistance to remote communities in Queensland, we set out to make delivery to these areas possible. A Science and Innovations grant was applied for and gained, then another grant was secured, enabling the achievement of our strategic objectives.
In conjunction with curatorial expertise, and one volunteer, I delivered this program to diverse communities across the state. We achieved our goal of presenting the program as a series of community and school workshops to communities ranging from the land holders in the South West corner of Queensland, to Indigenous land custodians in the North West, Southern Cape York Peninsula and the Torres Strait.
The program was nationally recognized as a finalist at the 2012 Banksia Awards, as an outstanding community outreach program, and was well received by all audiences. The sustainability of the program has been well demonstrated by its continued success since my departure as manager. The curator who has continued to deliver the program, has been awarded a Peter Doherty Award for community engagement. This program has an enduring online presence that has provided a key resource for any community that wishes to engage in their own biodiversity assessments.
For many years in my positions with Education Queensland, and in my role at QM, I was respected as an expert in providing effective professional development programs in object based learning to students and to a range of museum staff and volunteers. My sessions were well attended and well received, providing community members with much needed skills and strategy for designing their own educational programs.
I achieve results and met deadlines for project implementation, as demonstrated by my contribution to the new development of the Energy for Life Centre at Cobb & Co Museum in Toowoomba. My early work documenting the learning framework established the project learning goals that underpinned the design and selection of interactive exhibits. I was credited with shaping much of the educational value of the space to meet the needs of visitors, particularly students, who were a primary target audience. The timely completion of tasks which fell under my jurisdiction contributed to the achievement of project deadlines.
Also, in my role as Senior Project Officer at QM, I have demonstrated flexibility and an ability to manage change. I have been instrumental in realigning resources and services, to fit with the requirements of the emerging Australian curriculum. I had to reassess the year level targets and adjust the approaches and processes to achieve the new educational outcomes in services such as; QM Loans and online resources.
Cultivates productive working relationships
Through the implementation of the Backyard Explorer Project, I was able to establish and maintain effective working relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders. To deliver the program to regional and remote Queensland schools and communities, I collaborated with QM staff from various departments, including curatorial, marketing, media, graphics and publications to provide the expert contributions necessary for production of the program. I coordinated with external partners to organise venues, invite participants and arrange travel and accommodation. I was required to develop partnerships with the local communities hosting the program, which involved identifying, making contact with, and developing a relationship with the local key community person, a critical element in engaging the community.
Externally to QM, I established productive partnerships with a variety of educator and community groups, schools and tertiary institutions. The objective of these partnerships was to create a broad-based network facilitating access to a wider community audience for the Backyard Explorer program. The key to success in building these partnerships, was the recognition of the synergies between the partners. By identifying and promoting shared goals for the outcomes, I ensured the program was providing mutual benefits.
In previous and current management roles, at times I have confronted the issue of staff lacking productivity or underperforming. However, I have found that being proactive in understanding and commending personal strengths, communicating team goals and individual expectations, and offering assistance if required in the attainment of these goals has negated the need for further action. If a situation regresses and the individual is unable to achieve reasonable productivity levels, it would be appropriate to seek professional counselling.
Exemplifies personal drive and integrity
In the course of my career, I have always displayed integrity and operated with a strong work ethic and personal drive. Due to this diligence, I have been commended for achieving excellent results on a multitude of projects. One example of this was the QM Staff Award I was awarded in 2010, the selection committee commented as follows:
Allan’s nomination indicated a number of circumstances where Allan had performed work outside his normal role to support individual campuses/programs in meeting their objectives. The selection committee believed that Allan’s work exemplifies the QM value “Strive for excellence”. The committee further believed that Allan’s regular support for the QM campuses and programs was an exemplar of unifying “One QM” culture across the network. The committee acknowledged the contribution that Allan makes to QM with his personal time and resources which is above and beyond what would normally be expected in his role.
Displaying my professionalism and impartiality, I have worked successfully with children, Indigenous Australians, teachers, university lecturers, and professionals from a variety of cultures. This requires adjusting my approach to suit my audience and presenting information in the appropriate genre.
I have had an opportunity to represent the QM in partnership with the curator at the 6th World Environmental Education Conference, for the Backyard Explorer program. I was also the QM representative across Queensland during the delivery of this program and was able to inspire and engage participants, encouraging interest in science and the environment.
Communicates with influence
Communicating effectively and being able to engage my target audience has long been one of my greatest strengths. I have developed and delivered a significant number of workshops and sessions in a variety of contexts, to teachers, students and community groups. I have conducted full-day professional development conferences for teachers, modelling classroom sessions. On many occasions, I have delivered special science and environmental workshop days for students, where I have had success engaging students who have previously shown little interest in learning.
This ability to present information effectively, demonstrates that I am able to communicate with individuals at all levels. I have received feedback from teachers stating that they have been “inspired” after participating in one of my workshops.
In the development of material for workshops and various projects I have prepared high level presentations, reports, blogs, instructional manuals, web page content, educational resources and how-to guides.
In my current position as the Manager of Educational Services at Scientrific, I have improved and developed the workshops we offer to schools and educators nationally. Our workshops now inspire follow up requests, and feedback has dramatically improved. I personally receive outstanding feedback on most occasions and clients request me for repeat workshop presentations. In recruiting and training staff I have effectively transformed Scientrific into a high quality professional development provider. The company’s presence at professional development events is now sought by clients.