Kirstin is passionate about teaching the joys, wonder, and excitement, and the intellectual, emotional and practical value of research, critical thinking and communication (with a particular passion for reading and studying literature and its intersection with historical and cultural contexts, which her research specialises in). She firmly believes that studying the arts and humanities through both textual analysis and broader historical, contextual research, is crucial for developing an intelligent, engaged, and resistant outlook in an increasingly media-dominated world. In literature, history and the arts especially, she believes, there is something for everyone, and quite often more than they would expect.
Kirstin’s teaching is guided by two overarching principles that she believes underpin research and knowledge production and sharing: curiosity and the power of storytelling.
Through her dynamic and engaged teaching, Kirstin aims to awaken a passion in her students for curiosity: for asking questions, seeking answers and opening up new learning pathways. For Kirstin, fostering curiosity is the key to igniting passion and drive in research and learning, while also considering alternative perspectives, and questioning outcomes. In addition, she argues, to translate research and learning into successful communication, and indeed to support the thinking and research process itself, curiosity must also be intertwined with storytelling. In this aim, she draws on her literary and creative expertise to instill in students an awareness, appreciation and working practice of storytelling for thinking, research and communication. She helps students understand and develop storytelling as a means of critical reflection on their ideas and their own development as researchers, effective research communication and engagement, and a way to think productively about their own cumulative learning and research journeys.
Kirstin has extensive teaching experience across several universities in Sydney, Australia.
Prior to her current role as Director of the Master of Research (MRes) in Macquarie University’s Faculty of Arts, Kirstin taught as a sessional lecturer and tutor in the Department of English at Macquarie University (2009-1019), and as a Lecturer-in-Charge for the School of Arts at the Australian Catholic University, North Sydney (2019). In both of these roles, among her favourite subjects to teach were the foundational ‘Approaches to English Literature’ (MQU) and ‘Worlds of Fiction’ (ACU) units. Here she took pride in awakening and building the excitement and deepening engagement of students as they delved further into the rewards and joys of studying English Literature, and particularly in finding its relevance to their own lives and contexts, forging new ways of thinking critically and creatively about our world. Many of her students expressed their personal connection to and appreciation of these units, and were inspired to pursue further literature units as a result. Kirstin also enjoys the process of working closely and individually with students to improve their research and writing skills, and she has received many commendations from students for the quality and extent of her individually tailored writing advice.
Kirstin also feels strongly about harnessing the powers of digital technology to create engaging, dynamic and increasingly accessible learning experiences for her students. She has extensive experience with both face to face and online approaches to learning and teaching. In both formats she has received praise from students along with several award nominations and commendations from the University’s Academic Senate for her commitment to student satisfaction and teaching excellence.