Primary research interest

Science education

Additional role

Deputy Associate Dean Academic (Future Students and Employability) for the Faculty of Science. In this role I work to create a student experience that is exciting and attractive for new students, and valuable for the employability of our graduates.

Lab web page

Group Rowland

About me

I am a teaching-focused academic who researches and innovates in the science education space. I teach Biochemistry and introductory cell biology. 

After completing my BSc Hons and PhD at the University of Sydney I was a Human Frontiers in Science Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut. After gaining an academic position there, I returned to Australia in 2006 to teach and research at UQ. I completed a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education at UQ in 2007. In 2009 I was appointed as a full-time teaching-focussed faculty member in SCMB. I have previously served as Chair of Teaching and Learning in SCMB and the Deputy Director of the Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) at UQ. 

Research focus and collaborations 

My group uses social science methods to investigate problems in science education. 

Some of our projects are:

  • Undergraduate research experiences as Work-Integrated Learning: In this project we are examining how students understand employability in relation to undergraduate research.
  • Helping students learn to communicate science for work and for assessment: You can see some of our work on this subject here - www.clips.edu.au
  • Implementation of a legitimate undergraduate research experience (URE) for large science course cohorts: One of the key priorities at UQ is the introduction of the URE. In this experience, undergraduate students get to design and implement experiments that are part of a real research stream from a working lab. We develop UREs that serve large numbers of students at one time, then evaluate what students say they are learning from their work. 

My group accepts students at the undergraduate, honours, and postgraduate level. If you are interested in working in the science education space, please contact me to talk about your interests. I have students who work on projects outside the scope of the topics described above.

Funded projects

  • NHMRC Project 2008-2010, Development of nove antibacterial compounds from subtilosin A (Craik, King, Rowland, Nimmo), Total value of grant: $471,000
  • NHMRC Project 2008-2010, Dissecting the divisome development of antibacterial agents that inhibit bacterial cytokinesis (King, Rowland), Total value of grant: $483,750
  • OLT National Leadership Program Grant 2012-2013, Developing and resourcing academics to help students conduct and communicate undergraduate research on a large scale, Dr Susan Rowland (Project Leader), Dr Gwendolyn Lawrie, Dr Kirsten Zimbardi, Dr Jack Wang, Dr Paula Myatt, Total Value of grant: $219,000

Teaching interests

Areas taught include undergraduate-level cell structure and function, bacterial genetics, and mechanisms of genetic transfer. I teach biochemistry and molecular biology at undergraduate and masters level. I also supervise Summer URE students and Honours students in Teaching and Learning projects.

Awards and achievements

  • Australian Awards for University Teaching - Award for Teaching Excellence 2014
  • Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology - Beckman Coulter Education Award 2014
  • The University of Queensland - Award for Teaching Excellence 2013 
  • The University of Queensland Faculty of Science - Teaching Excellence Award 2012
  • ASM Biology Scholar, 2010-2011
  • Manning Clark House Fellow 2011
  • UQ Teaching Fellow 2011
  • Host and co-producer of “Free Energy” on JAC Radio
  • Editor in Chief, UQ SURJ

Featured publications

Researcher biography

After completing her BSc Hons and PhD at the University of Sydney Susan was a Human Frontiers in Science Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Connecticut. After gaining an academic position there, she returned to Australia in 2006 to teach and research at UQ. She completed a Graduate Certificate in Higher Education at UQ in 2007. In 2009 she was appointed as a full-time teaching-focused faculty member in SCMB. Susan has been a Manning Clark Fellow, an American Society for Microbiology Biology Scholar, and a UQ Teaching Fellow. She has won multiple awards for her teaching, including an Australian Award for University Teaching (2014) and the 2014 Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Beckman Coulter Award for Teaching Excellence. In 2016 she was awarded Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.