Who We Are

What we bring to this Fellowship

Inquiry Oriented Learning in Science was an Australian Learning and Teaching Council (ALTC) Fellowship program led by Professor Les Kirkup.

Professor Les Kirkup

Prof Les Kirkup
With over 30 years’ experience working in tertiary institutions, Les has significant hands on experience developing laboratory based physics activities for students from a range of backgrounds and who may (but more likely will not) pursue a career related to physics. Through his work with students, Les has observed the value of inquiry-oriented activities (IOL). When properly scaffolded and supported, these activities enhance student engagement, attitudes, learning outcomes and provide rich opportunities for students to be creative, work productively in teams and communicate their ideas. Les is devoted to stimulating and supporting the creation of IOL science activities that enhance learning and engage, challenge and inspire students.


Les held academic positions in England and Scotland before moving to Australia and UTS in 1990. In his discipline-based research he has collaborated with a diversity of academics and professionals, including physiologists, chemists, materials scientists and metrologists. He has published widely in peer-reviewed journals throughout his career and has written several textbooks, most particularly in the areas of experimental methods and the analysis and presentation of data. Many of Les’ teaching and educational development activities have focussed on enhancing the student experience in laboratories and he has a particular interest in developing activities to engage students required to study physics, but who do not intend to major in physics. His contributions to teaching and learning were recognised nationally in 2007 with the award of a Carrick Associate Fellowship and again in 2011 with the award of an ALTC National Teaching Fellowship. In 2014 he was awarded the Australian Institute of Physics Education medal for his national contributions to physics education.

Andrea Mears

Andrea Mears
Andrea has significant experience leading and managing a wide range of projects from conception to completion. Andrea was well placed to provide the fellowship with the executive and professional support necessary to mainstream inquiry oriented learning in Science. Through her role as project manager in the successful UTS pilot project “Developing a Research Integrated Learning Culture in Undergraduate Teaching and Learning” Andrea became particularly interested in applying her expertise to supporting and enhancing the student experience. She brought to the fellowship proven ability and passion to undertake research that understands and articulates the student experience and in creating, supporting and implementing innovative strategies that enrich students experience, skills and self-belief. Since 2012 Andrea has continued to successfully manage large scale projects in the government sector both in education and more recently in transport. Her work within the fellowship instilled a strong commitment to driving projects that deliver high quality integrated outcomes by partnering with, and improving the experiences of, project participants.