Dr Susan Lawler
Head of La Trobe’s Department of Environmental Management and Ecology
Fishy ethics: Why we need to eat less fish
As a senior lecturer at La Trobe’s Albury-Wodonga campus, Dr Susan Lawler says one of the most enjoyable aspects of her job is seeing students’ understanding progress from first year classes through to PhD research. Susan’s students often comment on her enthusiasm and use of humour in the classroom, as well as her ability to link their studies to real-world examples.
Besides her undergraduate courses on conservation, ecology and evolutionary genetics, Susan also runs a six-hour science practical course covering Unit 4 VCE biology for secondary students. Susan established this course to cater to local high school students who previously had to travel to Melbourne to complete science practicals. The course now attracts students from other regional centres close to Albury-Wodonga.
Along with four teaching awards including an Australian Learning and Teaching Council citation, Susan has received two Higher Education Equity Support Program grants to support Albury-Wodonga’s VCE programs in genetics and chemistry in 2010 and 2011. She also received three Education for Sustainable Development grants in 2011 to support an ethics module in field subjects, develop a third year capstone subject in freshwater ecology, and to contribute to a new subject called Science in the Media.
Much of Susan’s own research has focused on the evolution and ecology of freshwater crayfish, and this is often carried out in conjunction with staff at the Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre on the Albury-Wodonga campus.