Peter Balan Receives Australian Award for Teaching Excellence for University Educators

This year, 18 Australian Awards for Teaching Excellence for University Educators were awarded with Peter Balan receiving one in the category of “Law, Economics, Business and Related Studies.” In addition, Peter was recently awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) “for service to tertiary education, and to the community of South Australia.” This award is part of the Australian civil honors system, and is recognition for is many years of voluntary contributions to a wide range of education and community organizations including to the Team-Based Learning Collaborative.

One of Peter Balan’s key innovations was to implement Team-Based Learning in 2010, and he was only the second person in the world to use this teaching method in entrepreneurship education. He has found that it works in increasing student engagement and building teamwork skills. This is a very cost-efficient teaching method that has been found to increase student retention. Peter has completed the two-year process to be an accredited trainer/consultant in this method and is a member of the Board of the Team-Based Learning Collaborative. He has mentored educators at the University of South Australia (UniSA) as well as at universities around the world, and has presented workshops on Team-Based Learning at several international conferences and in universities in the United States and United Kingdom.

Peter has used Team-Based Learning as a platform for a number of teaching innovations that are used by educators around the world. One innovation that has attracted attention is an orientation session to introduce students to courses that require them to learn course materials before a class (such as for Flipped Learning, or Team-Based Learning). This is a structured program of seven educational activities that build a positive, collaborative and productive learning culture that continues through the rest of the teaching period. He has presented this innovation at several national and international conferences, and more than 100 educators around the world and in different fields are using Peter’s “kit” to run this session in their own courses. This program is published in an ERA A* journal (Balan, P., Clark, M. & Restall, G. 2015, ‘Preparing students for Flipped or Team-Based Learning methods’, Education + Training, vol. 57, no. 6, pp. 639-657.).