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Keynote Speaker


Professor Louise McWhinnie


Dean, Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation,
University of Technology Sydney


About Louise McWhinnie

Professor Louise McWhinnie is the inaugural Dean of the new Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at The University of Technology Sydney. This is the first new UTS Faculty in over two decades, and the first of its kind in Australia. Over the last three decades Louise has lived and worked as a designer and academic in three continents (Australia, Asia and Europe), and in the last decade her research has been conducted within a fourth (America).

Her role as Dean builds upon this work, as does her contribution to the creation of UTS's first transdisciplinary degree program, the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), which in late 2016 was awarded a Wharton Reimagining Education Award for Presence Learning. Referred to as the 'oscars of education', the Wharton Awards attract over 500 applications from the world's leading educational institutions.

Louise works closely with Creative Intelligence and Innovation staff, students in transdisciplinary teams, industry and government on a series of wicked problems. Such transdisciplinary engagement requires collaboration not only across the breadth of the University, but with a plethora of partners from the business sector, government, research, not-for-profit and community groups.

Her work as a Dean requires the building of a new Faculty, engagement in transdisciplinary research and teaching that draws upon multiple disciplines to provide a new knowledge base across, between and beyond singular disciplines, to address complex problems in society. As such it actively engages teachers, researchers and the professional sector from multiple disciplines, in a shared process of defining and resolving problems.

Louise also writes articles for The Conversation, and has undertaken radio and TV interviews and conference keynotes in Australia and overseas. Her achievements in university teaching have been recognised by a National Teaching Citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, and UTS Awards for research integrated teaching and internationalisation.


Educating for the Known Unknown

This presentation explores the challenges to educators of a fast-moving generation with unknown futures. This generation of students is in so many ways very different to previous generations. They require an education that will generate greater agility and adaptability in their thinking for not only future study, but employment lives that will be significantly different to our own.

This presentation explores the role of complexity and connectivity in the development and delivery of transdisciplinary and innovative education, through the thinking that contributed to the launch of the first new University of Technology Sydney (UTS) faculty in over 20 years, the only university transdisciplinary innovation faculty in Australia, and one of the few of its kind in the world.

The presentation explores shifts in industry and the professions, the vital role of innovation for social change, the need to rethink historical educational boundary traditions. It also addresses the necessity for new forms of not only technological thinking, but also thinking, hand in hand with the emergence of new contexts for ethical thinking, the need for curiosity, agility and the embracing of failure.

With the first graduates from the UTS Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation graduating into jobs and acquiring jobs titles that didn’t exist when they began their studies four years ago, the question of speed of change throws down a fundamental educational challenge for us as educators. With the work and social landscape evolving so quickly, educational decisions made and directions formed need to be clearly framed. If university education is adapting and evolving to ensure graduates are appropriately skilled for the jobs of the future, even if we don’t know what they are yet, what are the requirements of change in school education?

This presentation explores the necessities and possibilities for change, questions how we define which way is forward in moving, as well as how the new models of educational change are challenged by traditional educational delivery models, structures and silos. Supported by data from school students’ reflections upon their recent school experiences, this presentation explores the challenges to educators from one generation, in the education of future generations with very different futures.

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