Dr Fiona Bird is the Associate Provost (Academic Partnerships) in the College of Science Health and Engineering and has over 20 years of experience working as an educator, researcher and leader at La Trobe University. Before commencing in her leadership role in the College, Fiona made a significant contribution to the leadership of the School of Life Sciences in the roles of Head of the Department of Zoology (4 years), School Director of Learning and Teaching (7 years) and Associate Head of School (5 years).
Fiona has taught biology and zoology to first, second and third-year undergraduate students and has led curriculum reform at discipline and college levels. Recent work has included designing and developing an innovative model of virtual work-integrated learning for science students to focus attention on the knowledge and skills required to work as a science professional and raise awareness and confidence amongst students about their future careers in STEM.
Fiona’s outstanding contribution to teaching and learning has been recognised with individual (2008) and team (2010) Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, and a 2012 La Trobe University Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Fiona was also recognised as a 2018 La Trobe University Employability Champion for her outstanding commitment and innovative approaches to supporting student employability.
Fiona trained as a zoologist, completing a PhD at Victoria University, Australia. She has published internationally on the ecology of marine mudflats and successfully supervised 4 PhD and 15 Honours students. Over the last decade, her research investigations have refocussed to the scholarship of learning and teaching with particular interests in assessment, graduate outcomes and employability, and student expectations for university study.
Recently, Fiona worked with other senior academic women to deliver the La Trobe University Women’s Academic Promotions Support Program. The Peer Support Program for academic women seeking promotion has been a massive success with over 200 women taking part as either mentees or mentors.