Swinburne’s Nicki Wragg awarded Distinguished Teaching Award

Swinburne Online Program Director of Design and Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology Dr Nicki Wragg, has been awarded the Distinguished Teaching Award by the Australian Council of University Art & Design Schools (ACUADS).

Dr Wragg has worked and taught in the Design industry for close to three decades and this award recognises her outstanding contributions to teaching and learning over that time.

“I feel privileged to achieve this award, mainly because I was nominated for it. This means that there is recognition internally and externally of what I teach and how I teach,” says Dr Wragg.

“My passion is highly strategic and conceptual and in my class, the students rise to the challenges I set for them. I enjoy collaborating with them on projects that really stretch their thinking, design skills and commitment to projects that run longer the usual 12 week semesters. But mainly, I am super proud of my students and their success.”

On top of her academic achievements, Dr Wragg is a National Board Director for Australian Graphic Design Association Limited (AGDA). AGDA president, Paul van Barneveld says she is a critical member of the board, making connections between the design industry and education.

“Since becoming a board member, Nicki has been the National Educational Advisor and the ‘go to’ person for any items relating to student members and associate members.

“Her knowledge in this area is invaluable to AGDA. She acts as a student advocate and has recently published a set of resources for recent graduate detailing what constitutes fair and unfair internships.”

Currently a Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University, Dr Wragg is also the former Head of Communication Design and has been with the university since 2000. 

Professor Scott Thompson-Whiteside Swinburne Dean, School of Design says she has been a major influence on the School and always provided innovative approaches to teaching and learning.

“I’ve worked with Nicki for over 10 years. She is a passionate teacher who focusses on connecting students with industry, provides an engaging experience and facilitates wonderful student outcomes.”

At Swinburne Online, Dr Wragg has overseen the transformation from studio-based design curriculum to fully online delivery in the online Bachelor of Design (Communication Design).

Swinburne Online Academic Director Sue Kokonis says Dr Wragg’s contribution has also had a significant influence on embedding design thinking and practice into the online learning experience.

“From inception, Nicki took an innovative, solution focused approach to translating an intensive face to face Design course into an equivalent online experience.

“She literally ran with the challenge of researching and creating ways to replicate an experiential studio experience in the digital space.

“She has brought together Learning Designers and Design academics to co-create rich learning materials that can be used both online and face to face, and in the process, enabled Design academics to reflect on and promote the unique aspects of their discipline.”

Dr Wragg will be presented with the award Friday 25 September at the ACUADS Conference 2015: Art and Design Education in the Global 24/7 held in Adelaide.