Assoc. Prof. Theda Thomas
Theda Thomas is currently Associate Professor in the School of Arts (Vic).  Her research interests are in higher education and particularly in curriculum and assessment in the first year.
From 2002 to 2015 she was Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) in the  Faculty of Education and Arts and the Faculty of Arts and Sciences for 8 years.  Her responsibilities included curriculum development and the promotion of quality learning and teaching across the two National Schools within the faculty.  From 2002 till 2006 Theda was Course Coordinator and Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at ACU.
She has been teaching in the Higher Education sector since 1983 and has taught at the University of South Africa, the Northern Transvaal Technikon and the Port Elizabeth Technikon (now the Nelson Mandella Mentropolitan University) in South Africa.  She was Head of the Department of Information Systems at the Port Elizabeth Technikon.
Her first job was as a Mathematics Teacher at Helderberg High School, followed by jobs as a computer programmer at Ford Motor Company and the University of South Africa.
PhD:  Information Technology Education, Pretoria University, South Africa  (2000)
Title:      A teaching environment for learning soft skills applicable to Information Systems development
Graduate Certificate in Higher Education, ACU (2008)
M Sc:  Information Systems  (cum laude), University of South Africa, (1990)
Title:  &ldquoTowards an intelligent tutor for hierarchically structured curricula&rdquo
B Sc Hons (Information Systems), University of South Africa (1983)
Higher Education Diploma (Secondary School), University of South Africa (1980)
B Sc (cum laude), University of South Africa (1978)
Grants (since 2002)
Office of Learning and Teaching, Australian Government &ndash Innovations Grant (2013-2015) $219,000
In the Beginning: Renewing the First Year Curriculum for Social Sciences and Humanities in the context of discipline threshold standards
Project website is at: http://www.firstyearlearningthresholds.edu.au/
Australian Learning and Teaching Council &ndash Priority Project Grant 2008-2010 ($214,000)
Embedding the development and grading of generic skills in a business curriculum.   www.graduateskills.edu.au
ACU Teaching Awards and Grants
ACU Teaching Development Grant (2014) &ndash &ldquoEmbedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into Curriculum:  For staff and students&rdquo  - team member   ($19,602)
ACU Teaching Development Grant (2012) &ndash &ldquoUsing a collaborative approach to peer review to enhance quality, reflective teaching practices that meet the needs of students.&rdquo  - project team member ($13,945.00) &ndash took over as co-leader when the leader resigned.
??University Teaching Development Grant (2010) &ndash Engaging first year students &ndash project leader- $19,950
University Teaching and Learning Enhancement Award (2005) &ndash ACU Award &ndash project leader- $10,000  Embedding Reasoning and Critical Thinking in the Information Technology Curriculum
University Teaching and Learning Enhancement Award (2006) &ndash ACU award &ndash Embedding graduate attributes in a Business degree -  project member- $20,000
Carrick  Citation (2006)
&ldquoFor development of, and research into, a rich, discipline-based approach to assessment that assists undergraduate information systems students to enhance their thinking skills.&rdquo   Team citation (Theda Thomas, Timothy Davis and Alanah Kazlauskas)
Refereed Journal Articles (since 2002)
Thomas, T., Jacobs, D., Hurley, L., Martin, J., Maslyuk, S., Lyall, M.  & Ryan, M. (2018).  Students&rsquo perspectives of early assessment tasks in their first-year at university, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, https://doi.org/10.1080/02602938.2018.1513992
Thomas, T. (2018). Implementing first-year assessment principles: An analysis of selected scholarly literature. Student Success, 9(2), 25-38. https://doi.org/10.5204/ssj.v9i2.410
Thomas, T., Wallace, J., Allen, P., Clark, J., Jones, A., Lawrence, J., Cole, B. & Sheridan Burns, L. (2017). Strategies for leading academics to rethink humanities and social sciences curricula in the context of discipline standards. International Journal for Academic Development, 22(2),120-133,  doi. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2017.1285239
Thomas, T., Rechter, S.,  Wallace, J., Allen, P., Clark, J., Cole, B., Sheridan Burns, L., Jones, A., & Lawrence, J. (2017). Designing first-year sociology curricula and practice. Asian Social Science, 13(4), 1-13, doi: https://doi.org/10.5539/ass.v13n4p1
Thomas, T. (2014) Developing team skills through a collaborative writing assignment, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 39(4), 479-495
Thomas, T. (2014) First impressions: Effective Use of the First Week of University. The International Journal of Pedagogy and Curriculum, 20(4), 65-76.
Fraser, K. & Thomas, T. (2013). Challenges of assuring the development of graduate attributes in a Bachelor of Arts. Higher Education Research & Development, 32(4), 545-560
Thomas, T. (2012). Adapting team-based learning to the interpersonal communication class. International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 7(1), 51-61.
Thomas, T. (2012). Has Distance Learning Become More Flexible? Reflections of a Distance Learning Student, Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 8, 39-49. Available from URL: http://www.ijello.org/Volume8/IJELLOv8p039-049Thomas0792.pdf
Thomas, T. (2011).  Developing first year students&rsquo critical thinking skills.  Asian Social Science, 7(4), 26-35.
Wood, L., Thomas, T. & Rigby, B. (2011).  Assessment and standards for graduate outcomes.  Asian Social Science, 7(4), 12-17.
Clinton, I. & Thomas, T. (2011).  Business students&rsquo experience of community service learning.  Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 12(1), 51-66.
James, S., D&rsquoAmore, A. & Thomas, T. (2011).  Learning preferences of first year nursing and midwifery students:  Utilising VARK.  Nurse Education Today, 31, 417&ndash423.
Thomas, T. & Ahyick, M. (2010).   Can we help information systems students improve their ethical decision making?    Interdisciplinary Journal of Information, Knowledge and Management, 5, 209-224. (ERA C)
Thomas, T., Davis, T. & Kazlauskas, K.  (2007)  Embedding critical thinking in an IS curriculum.  Journal of Information Technology, 6,  327-346.   Available from URL:  http://jite.org/documents/Vol6/JITEv6p327-346Thomas253.pdf
Thomas, T. & Allen, A. (2006).  Gender differences in students&rsquo perceptions of Information Technology as a career.  Journal of Information Technology Education, 5,  165-178.   (Won a best paper medal at  INSITE conference in Manchester, June 2006 and fast-tracked into this journal.)
Davis, T., Thomas, T. & Kazlauskas, A. (2006).  What were you thinking?  Empowering tomorrow&rsquos professionals today.  International Journal of Pedagogies and Learning, 2(1),  34-46.
Thomas, T., Davis, T. & Kazlauskas, A. (2004). Critical Thinking and Reasoning for Information Systems, Journal of Issues in Informing Science and Information Technology, Vol 1, 2004, 115-131.  (Won a best paper medal at  INSITE conference in Rockhampton, June 2004 and fast-tracked into this journal.)
Thomas, T., Schroder, C. & Rishworth, L. (2003). Integrating the needs of industry and critical cross-field outcomes at a technikon  an example from information technology,  South African Journal of Higher Education, 17(1), 175-184
Refereed Conference Proceedings (since 2002)
Lawrence, J., Allen, P., Thomas, T., Wallace, J., Clark, J., Jones, A., Cole, B. & Sheridan Burns, L. (2016). A framework for first year curriculum design and pedagogy: intersection the Threshold Learning Outcomes, disciplinary knowledge and the first year pedagogy principles.  STARS Conference Proceedings 2016, Perth, 29 June &ndash 2 July, 2016. Retrieved from URL:   http://unistars.org/papers/STARS2016/12B.pdf
Thomas, T., Levin, E., Dawson, P, Fraser, K. & Hadgraft, R. (2015).  Research and Development in higher education: Learning for life and work in a complex world, 38, Conference Proceedings, HERDSA Conference, July 2015, Melbourne. (Editor)
Thomas, T., Wallace, J., Allen, P., Clark, J. Cole, B., Jones, A., Lawrence, J, Sheridan Burns, L. (2014). Engaging first year lecturers with threshold learning outcomes and concepts in their disciplines.  Proceedings of the First Year in Higher Education Conference, Darwin, July 2014.
?Clinton, I. & Thomas, T. (2010).  Community service experience:  does it contribute to students&rsquo development of graduate attributes? ACEN conference, Perth, Sept
Thomas, T., Petcov, P., Rigby, B., et al. (2009).  Embedding generic skills means assessing generic skills.   ATN Assessment Conference, Melbourne, Nov 2010.
Kazlauskas, A., Gimel, S., Thornton, L., Thomas, T. & Davis, T. (2007).  Embedding group work in the first year experience.  Proceedings of the 10th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference, Brisbane, July 2007.
Thomas, T. & Allen, A. (2006).  Gender differences in students&rsquo perceptions of Information Technology as a career.   INSITE conference, Manchester, June 2006.  (Fast tracked to journal &ndash see above)
Thomas, T., Davis, T. & Kazlauskas, A. (2004). Critical Thinking and Reasoning for Information Systems, INSITE conference, Rockhampton, June 2004. (Fast tracked to journal &ndash see above)
Thomas, T., Kazlauskas, A. & Davis, T. (2004). Teaching first year students to communicate their reasoning.  Proceedings of the First Year in Higher Education Conference (CD ROM), Melbourne, 14-16 July, 2004.
Thomas T. (2003). Working with diverse students:  Can lessons learnt in South Africa be applicable in Pan-Pacific region?  7th Pacific Rim First Year in Higher Education Conference Proceedings (CD-ROM) 9 &ndash 11 July 2003 &ndash QUT, Brisbane, Australia
Thomas, T. (2003). Cooperative learning and object-oriented development methods,  IFIP Working Groups 3.1 and 3.3 Working Conference, ICT and the Teacher of the Future, 23.  Melbourne, January 26-31, pp.115-118.
Clark, J., Jones, A., Thomas, T., Allen, P., Cole, B., Lawrence, J., Sheridan Burns, L. & Wallace, J. (2018). Teaching the history threshold learning outcomes to first-year students, in J. Clark and A. Nye (eds.), Teaching the Discipline of History in an Age of Standards, Springer: Singapore, 59-87, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-0047-9_4
My research interests are in the scholarship of learning and teaching. I believe in using action research techniques to evaluate and improve my own teaching and practice.  My current research interests are in first year curricula and assessment.  I have previously also researched ways of integrating generic graduate skills into curricula and how to develop students' skills across the curriculum.  Much of my early research was in embedding the non-technical skills (like communication skills, interpersonal skills and critical thinking skills) into the teaching of information systems to create graduates who could work with clients and in teams.
The OLT project that I led from 2013-2015 focusses on five different Humanities and Social Science disciplines and investigated  what  needs to be done at first year in order to introduce students to each discipline and allow them to develop the skills they need to study in the discipline and reach the threshold learning outcomes for graduates in their discipline.  Australian Catholic University, Charles Sturt University, LaTrobe University, University of New England, University of Southern Queensland, University of Tasmania and University of Western Sydney are all working on the project with the Associate Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
Fellow of Higher Education and Research Development Society of Australia
Page last updated: 2018-01-22
Short url: https://www.acu.edu.au/1273347