A PASSION for education was what has sustained Chris Morgan’s 40 plus year career in tertiary teaching and now his commitment has paid off with the lecturer receiving Charles Sturt University’s highest accolade - the Vice Chancellor’s Award.
Mr Morgan retired as a senior lecturer in agricultural business management and associate dean in teaching and learning five years ago, but continues to work as a part-time lecturer.
His secret to working so long at one place was finding something he liked doing.
“I just love watching how students respond and value their learning,” he said.
“What I teach is generally regarded as a fairly challenging area.
“I start by having students appreciate that what they’ll be doing through the semester will be of importance and relevance to them and try to give them the confidence that they’ll be able to master this area.”
Mr Morgan was flattered to have been nominated for the Vice Chancellor’s Award for excellence in sessional teaching by his students and colleagues.
During his career at the campus, Mr Morgan experienced the massive changes as the Orange Agricultural College transformed into a university first as part of the University of New England, then the University of Sydney and finally as Charles Sturt University.
“Becoming a university we had to immerse ourselves in high level courses and research,” he said.
“I see my role as mentoring and guiding students to discover knowledge for themselves and develop skills to analyse unfamiliar concepts they might come across.”
Mr Morgan introduced distance education at the Orange campus in 1979, as well as researching and developing teaching practices in the tertiary education field.
The early days of offering the traditional hands-on agricultural subjects via distance education were much more challenging then today’s model which brings students closer together using the internet.
“It was all paper based and residential schools,” he said.
“Then we developed things like audio conferencing ... to get students to interact with each other.”
Over the years, Mr Morgan has noticed with concern the trend of declining student numbers studying agricultural subjects.
“There’s still a huge requirement for people with business management skills in agriculture,” he said.
“It’s a specialist area people have to be across a range of disciplines to do it well.”