Meet our academics: Emma Donaldson, Education Lecturer

emma donaldson

A good teacher can make all the difference to your studies. And, here at Torrens, we’re particularly proud of our fantastic team of lecturers.

We’re confident that you’ll find our faculty inspiring and future-focussed. Especially when you discover a bit more about what drives them, why they are passionate about their respective areas of expertise and how their industry experience lends itself to preparing students for a career.

This week in the hot seat, Emma Donaldson is a lecturer for our education courses

5 awesome things to know about Emma:

  • Areas of expertise include autism, mental health, contemporary pedagogy and practice.
  • Holds an Executive MBA and runs her own training and consultancy business Colours of Grey Matters (COG Matters) which focuses on community inclusion strategies for at-risk youth both locally and globally (including the United States and Caribbean).
  • Named Victorian State Finalist in the Telstra Women’s Business Awards for her work in the field of autism and disability.
  • Delivered a talk at TEDxSevenMileBeach on encouraging high order community thinking when it comes to inclusivity practices for special needs and disability.
  • Cocreated the world-first Autism MOOC engaging participants from 82 countries.

What do you like most about your job?

I am new to Torrens University. At the moment, I like meeting the talented teams and having the opportunity to work together creating contemporary courses for educators. I am excited about the courses we are developing and the dynamic learning environment we are a part of.

What do you wish someone had told you on your first day at uni/college?

I entered the Bachelor of Education degree with the view this was a segue for me to be a dance teacher and, for the first few years of my degree, I didn’t think beyond being a dance teacher. An invitation arose in my third year to complete honours and in the last year of my degree, a lecturer said that an education degree can open up so many doors – turns out she was right. I do wish I had been told that on my first day. It would have opened my eyes to the opportunities at the beginning of my degree, not the end!

Describe a favourite teacher that you had at some stage in your education. What do you think gave them the edge?

I remember every single teacher I had in class, even those across the entire the school. Growing up in a rural town meant that every member of the community was likely to know all of the teaching staff. Each of them had very different pedagogy, behaviour management and quirks, but what they all had in common was that they genuinely cared about their students and wanted to be in the profession to create platforms for successful learning.

Which subject do you think is the most exciting class to teach and why?

I love teaching. All subjects I have been asked to be a part of excited me. It is the education journey the students embark upon, inspired by the desire to continue learning that make the subjects unique, memorable and practical. If I was to choose one subject, it would be those associated with autism. Having worked in the area for over 12 years, I continue to be in awe at the wonder of the condition and the evolution of our knowledge and understanding.

emma donaldson tedx

To future-proof a career in education, what do you think a person needs to meet current industry demands?

Flexibility, enthusiasm, a desire to learn with and from children, to have a sense of humour and to maintain a balanced life. But also the skills to remain fresh in education and inspiring the students. That is why our courses at Torrens are so important, as we bring relevant, contemporary and practical skill-building opportunities to teachers.

What’s your favourite career memory to date?

My career highlight was creating a learning hub for a range of learners with additional needs. The children had been asked to not return to their schools as they were considered too disruptive. The hub was designed for emotional, social and cognitive development and support. The range of needs and amazing skillsets that had not been recognised by the childrens’ previous teachers was sad and equally distressing. Our learning hub was brilliant and inspiring with successes I could only dream about. The students worked on projects individually and in groups. We had children aged 6 to 12 years old in the class which was harmonious, despite the challenges the children initially presented with. I still receive messages from the parents saying that being a part of this learning environment was the turning point for their child to reach their potential.

What are some lesser-known roles or surprising career outcomes that this course could lead to?

Moving beyond a teaching role in a classroom to a specialist role in a learning resource centre, or, being a part of a wellbeing team are both opportunities within mainstream schools. Higher education roles in the field and working for organisations specific to the condition(s) in an education role are also surprising and exciting career outcomes.

What’s happening in the education sector at the moment that excites you most?

Millennials moving into schools as 21st-century teachers creating new pathways in education and not being afraid to push against traditional pedagogy.

How do you think your international experience lends itself to your new teaching role?

I think this experience creates the conversation that students can take their career to places they may not have previously imagined. I also think the students like hearing the diverse stories and examples from abroad.

What has starting your own company taught you?

My company focuses on supporting children and their parents to gain confidence and learning skills to re-enter classrooms and schools. I work with the most disaffected learners who have not been supported by the school system. We use a pedagogical approach of project-based and self-regulated learning to create successes for the child so he or she can re-engage with formal education. These experiences drive me to create global, contemporary programs for teachers. In essence, we try to put ourselves out of a job!

We also build inclusion programs to combat stigma by developing community awareness platforms. We do this to support all learners and create opportunities for all children to thrive. Most of our work to date has been in the Caribbean.

Starting my own company was daunting  I started it when I was just 23 years old. It taught me how to further develop my problem-solving skills and how to direct my passion and motivation to change the landscape of inclusion and education. I learnt a lot about the teaching profession and the need to improve inclusion practices and support educators in the changing and global landscape of 21st-century learning.

Do you think Australia is ahead of the game when it comes to its education workforce?

Yes, but I base this solely on my overseas experiences. Recent graduate teachers with Australian or New Zealand degrees are highly sought after in contrast to other countries, mainly because of our flexibility, pedagogy practices and possibly our laid back manner!

A bit more about our courses in education

  • Flexible. All our education courses are offered online
  • Access to seven campuses around Australia in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide
  • None of the education courses that we offer at Torrens will qualify you to work as a teacher in an Australian classroom setting. Instead, we focus on a range of important aspects of education that are relevant to people who are already teachers who would like to complete further study to improve their practice, maybe improve their schools or maybe both, and are seeking education that is actually going to assist them to advance their careers.

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Meet Our Academics: Jason Fabbri, Business Lecturer

This week in the hot seat is our Business Lecturer Jason Fabbri. Join us while we discuss his passions, experiences, and advice for any prospective students out there.

 

5 AWESOME THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JASON FABBRI

  • Jason is the owner of Table 12 Pty Ltd: a consultancy business that provides change strategy, business readiness, and transformation solutions.
  • Jason has industry experience across a variety of industries including utilities, telecommunications, NGO, government/public sector, education, finance/banking/insurance, and sales. This includes several ASX 200 companies.
  • Jason is the co-founder of new tourism app Roamni, which aims to provide a platform for anyone to become a tour guide and get paid to do it, currently piloting in Melbourne.
  • Jason is a big fan of musical theatre, especially Les Miserables. He says it’s not too often that your favourite book, musical, album and movie (the 1934 version) are the same thing!
  • Jason’s perfect holiday would include a cruise around the Caribbean, a Jimmy Buffett concert, and a bowl of gumbo.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO TEACHING? WHAT INSPIRED YOU? 

As a part of my industry consulting role, I spend a great deal of time training and developing workshops so I am very comfortable facilitating and introducing new concepts. Also, my mother is a teacher, so it must be in the blood. I was inspired by her and other lecturers during my time at University that really love the learning process.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? 

My favourite part is the energy from the classes that linger long after the class is over. I love that every class is different, there are always fresh new perspectives from students on theory and diversity of thought. It also gives me a fantastic channel to explore new theories and cases from the world of business, and bring students into the discussion about the implications for their world.

See an investment in your MBA as an investment in yourself. Prioritize this if you are looking for something that can help boost your career, build your capabilities and network. Put yourself into a mindset that could enable you to take an idea you’ve been sitting on and do something with it.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A TEACHER? 

Out of my studies grew a passion to share what I’ve learned so that I can help students understand the complexities of the business world.

WHAT ARE YOURS PASSION PROJECTS, HOBBIES?

I work as a management consultant specialising in change when I am not teaching. I am obsessed with putting new ideas into action, so I’m also working on a new app for the tourism industry as a lean start-up. Writing is also a passion of mine, I have three projects on the go – with one currently being pitched to agents and publishers. When I’m not working, you’ll probably find me listening to Spotify, or at a theatre or concert.

WHAT DO YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD YOU ON YOUR FIRST DAY OF COLLEGE?
This is more than just learning about business; it’s learning about yourself as well. After you start, you’ll start seeing the world differently and find your own place in it.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANY PROSPECTIVE MBA STUDENTS OUT THERE?

See an investment in your MBA as an investment in yourself. Prioritize this if you are looking for something that can help boost your career, build your capabilities and network. Put yourself into a mindset that could enable you to take an idea you’ve been sitting on and do something with it.


Torrens offers a comprehensive academic avenue to successful employment in a variety of business courses, offered both on campus and online.

Torrens qualifications are respected throughout the industry through the strong reputations of Chifley Business SchoolAPM College of Business and Communication, the Australian Graduate School of LeadershipReal Madrid Graduate SchoolDucere Global Business School and more recently through an exclusive partnership with The Collective Hub.

Operating out of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Torrens has over 60 years of educating future industry leaders. With specialisms in international business, leadership and management, marketing, public relations, event management, business administration and commerce, combined with Torrens globally oriented curriculum and its membership to the Laureate International University network, graduates can be assured that their Torrens qualification will be a CV highlight.

Justin1

Meet Our Academics: Dr Justin Pierce, MBA Director

A good teacher can make all the difference to your studies. And, here at Torrens, we’re particularly proud of our fantastic team of lecturers.

We’re confident that you’ll find our faculty inspiring and future-focused. Especially when you discover a bit more about what drives them, why they are passionate about their respective areas of expertise and how their industry experience lends itself to preparing students for a career.

This week in the hot seat, the Director of our MBA Programs, Dr Justin Pierce

Learn about our MBA Programs here.

5 AWESOME THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT JUSTIN:

  • Justin loves his teaching: in 2016, he won the prestigious ‘Most Inspirational Teacher’ award with the Graduate School of Business & Law at RMIT University; he served for 12 years on Deakin’s Industry Advisory Board and Chaired Chifley Business School’s Academic Board.
  • Justin owns and operates his own company called Amore Scientiam Pty Ltd which translates to ‘For the Love of Knowledge’ in Latin. It’s a consultancy business that provides education, business process and strategy consulting.
  • Justin pioneered a large organizational change project at Target Australia which led to a rethinking of how fashion items are conceived built and sold in Australia and allowed him to collaborate with PricewaterhouseCoopers, The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey consulting teams.
  • Justin rocks it out to Norwegian Black Metal. An acquired taste and not for the faint of heart, the chaotic melodies keep him calm!
  • Justin loves spicy food, and habanero chilies are a favorite

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
I live to teach and, as long as senior Torrens people never see this, I would, in truth, do this job for free! It’s something I was born to do. I get so much out of teaching and watching my students learn. It all comes back to my love of learning. I get a massive kick whenever I learn something new and so I naturally want my students to have that same experience. I just delight in it and when I get to teach, I learn more about the subject matter as well as teaching itself. So, to me, it’s more of a motivation than an inspiration.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A TEACHER?
I got into teaching by accident but quickly realized it was what I was born to do. I began teaching computer science at Deakin University when I was doing my Honours year at 21 years old. By 24, I started teaching MBA subjects. I’ve been a professional teacher now for 21 years. Really, every teacher has to love learning because that’s what it’s all about.

When you arrive here, note all of the support services available to you; this is like somebody extending their hand – all you need to do is take it!

WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING IF YOU WEREN’T A TEACHER?
Honestly, I’d try to find some way to teach. Even if I won Tattslotto, and was living in a 17-bedroom house debt-free, I’d still want to be doing this. This is the most fantastic job in the whole world!

WHAT DO YOU WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD YOU ON YOUR FIRST DAY AT UNI/COLLEGE?
Somebody did tell me “you cannot do this”, but it was not on the first day. It was just the motivation I needed to prove that person wrong.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANY PROSPECTIVE MBA STUDENTS OUT THERE?
By this stage, you have already done a lot of thinking about your MBA. You’re edging your way toward a test of character and you owe it to yourself to give it everything you have got. I hope you have seriously looked at three providers before deciding on Torrens. When you arrive here, note all of the support services available to you; this is like somebody extending their hand – all you need to do is take it!


Our competitive MBA Programs are designed to fit your schedule. Graduate with your MBA in as little as 12 months. Learn more about your options here.

 

Torrens offers a comprehensive academic avenue to successful employment in a variety of business courses, offered both on campus and online.

Torrens qualifications are respected throughout the industry through the strong reputations of Chifley Business SchoolAPM College of Business and Communication, the Australian Graduate School of LeadershipReal Madrid Graduate SchoolDucere Global Business School and more recently through an exclusive partnership with The Collective Hub.

Operating out of Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, Torrens has over 60 years of educating future industry leaders. With specialisms in international business, leadership and management, marketing, public relations, event management, business administration and commerce, combined with Torrens globally oriented curriculum and its membership to the Laureate International University network, graduates can be assured that their Torrens qualification will be a CV highlight.