Associate Professor Poh Wah Hillock

Associate Professor

School of Mathematics and Physics
Faculty of Science
p.hillock@uq.edu.au
+61 7 336 53337

Overview

I obtained my PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of Adelaide in the area of Convex Sets with Lattice Point Constraints. Following my PhD, I was a mathematics lecturer at the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. In 2012, I joined UQ as a teaching focused academic in the School of Mathematics and Physics.

I have extensive teaching and administrative experience at the secondary-tertiary interface. Prior to my PhD, I taught senior high school mathematics in Singapore, where, as head of the mathematics department, I oversaw the delivery of the senior high school mathematics curriculum for over 2000 students. In my current role as Director of First Year Mathematics, I have led and implemented course improvements. These include the development of a comprehensive range of graded learning resources for key first year mathematics courses and specific initiatives to address the secondary-tertiary mathematics transition. One such initiative that has been especially rewarding is the Support Learning Tutorial (SLT), an intervention program that I designed and implemented to support at-risk first year students. SLT students have consistently outperformed the general cohort in pass rates and quality of results. Another significant initiative which I led is the MATH1051 (Calculus and Linear Algebra I) UQ2U Blended Learning Project. This project introduced changes to the delivery of MATH1051 in 2019, through the integration of online and high-value on-campus activities. A key innovation is the creation of a complete set of videos for MATH1051 and the implementation of collaborative workshops. The success of the MATH1051 project has led to the subsequent redesign of several large first year mathematics courses.

The impact of my teaching and research has been recognised through eight teaching awards (five UQ and three national awards). I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Fellowship (SFHEA) and the 2022 Australian Award for University Teacher of the Year.

Awards and Fellowships

  • Australian Awards for University Teaching, Australian University Teacher of the Year, 2022
  • Australian Awards for University Teaching, Award for Teaching Excellence, 2022
  • UQ Faculty of Science Sustained Teaching Excellence Award, 2021
  • UQ Award for Teaching Excellence, 2021
  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), 2020
  • UQ Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology Special Teaching Excellence Award, 2018
  • Australian Awards for University Teaching Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, 2017
  • UQ Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, 2016
  • UQ Faculty of Science Award for Teaching Excellence, 2014

Research Interests

  • Building Community in First Year Mathematics
    There is a large body of research which tells us that belonging enhances achievement & motivation. First year at university is challenging for many students: there are new ways of learning, new physical and social environments, high expectations and the list goes on. How can we promote community/sense of belonging in first year mathematics?
  • Assessment in first year mathematics
    Design of assessment tasks which provide students with frequent and meaningful feedback, facilitating reflection, self-assessment and independent learning; Peer-assessment in first year mathematics.
  • First year mathematics support
    Effective programs to support students in first year mathematics.
  • Special topics in first year mathematics
    Teaching and learning of special topics in first year mathematics, e.g. series, power series, vector spaces.
  • Blended learning in first year mathematics
    Effectiveness of hybrid models in the delivery of first year mathematics.
  • Evaluating the impact of mathematics support centres
    A Mathematics Support Centre (MSC) is a facility which provides mathematics support outside of a student’s regular program. The growth of MSCs in tertiary institutions worldwide can be attributed to several factors: increased quantitative demands in many tertiary courses, widening pathways to university resulting in diverse mathematical backgrounds of incoming tertiary students, high attrition rates in quantitative disciplines, removal of mathematics prerequisites and/or assumed knowledge from many courses. Evaluation of MSCs is critical in order to ensure best practice, to make sure that services are meeting the needs of students and to make the case for continued funding.

Publications

View all Publications

Available Projects

  • Design of assessment tasks which provide students with frequent and meaningful feedback, facilitating reflection, self-assessment and independent learning; Peer-assessment in first year mathematics.

  • Teaching and learning of special topics in first year mathematics, e.g. series, power series, vector spaces.

  • Effective programs to support students in first year mathematics.

View all Available Projects

Publications

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

  • Hillock, Poh Wah, Roberts, Anthony, Grotowski, Joseph, Jennings, Michael, Kavanagh, Lydia and Scharschkin, Victor (2013). A mathematics support program for first year engineering students. Brisbane, QLD Australia: School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland.

  • Hillock, Poh Wah, Roberts, Anthony, Grotowski, Joseph, Jennings, Michael and Scharaschkin, Victor (2012). Developing a profile of student performance in large classes. Brisbane, QLD Australia: School of Mathematics and Physics, The University of Queensland.

  • Awyong, Poh Wah (1996). Convex sets with lattice point constraints. PhD Thesis, Department of Pure Mathematics, The University of Adelaide.

Possible Research Projects

Note for students: The possible research projects listed on this page may not be comprehensive or up to date. Always feel free to contact the staff for more information, and also with your own research ideas.

  • Design of assessment tasks which provide students with frequent and meaningful feedback, facilitating reflection, self-assessment and independent learning; Peer-assessment in first year mathematics.

  • Teaching and learning of special topics in first year mathematics, e.g. series, power series, vector spaces.

  • Effective programs to support students in first year mathematics.

  • Effectiveness of hybrid models in the delivery of first year mathematics.

  • There is a large body of research which tells us that belonging enhances achievement & motivation. First year at university is challenging for many students: there are new ways of learning, new physical and social environments, high expectations and the list goes on. How can we promote community/sense of belonging in first year mathematics?

  • A Mathematics Support Centre (MSC) is a facility which provides mathematics support outside of a student’s regular program. The growth of MSCs in tertiary institutions worldwide can be attributed to several factors: increased quantitative demands in many tertiary courses, widening pathways to university resulting in diverse mathematical backgrounds of incoming tertiary students, high attrition rates in quantitative disciplines, removal of mathematics prerequisites and/or assumed knowledge from many courses.

    Evaluation of MSCs is critical in order to ensure best practice, to make sure that services are meeting the needs of students and to make the case for continued funding.