I am a University of Tasmania Teaching Excellence Award winner (1996 and 2009)  received a 2008 National Citation for Teaching and in July 2009 received the Lexis Nexis Australasian Law Teachers Association Award for Law Teaching Excellence and Innovation but more importantly I love to teach.

Teaching and research are intertwined, or concomitant, elements of my professional life. I strive to link teaching and research, and build upon those links, to aim for what the former vice-chancellor of Wollongong University Ken McKinnon described as a spiral of quality – a continuous cycle of planning, acting, observing and reflecting.

My general academic expertise, and desire to teach, is built upon a constantly developing and expanding scholarship that interfaces the classroom, the insights of scholarship and the practical world. Students in my classes are exposed to current debates and policy questions and are encouraged to develop and present their own informed views on these issues. The points raised in class are then fed back into discussions with bureaucrats, journalists, Ombudsmen, lawyers and other academics (not just within Tasmania but nationally and internationally). Research and articles are then generated from this exchange of ideas and brought back into next year’s classroom to continue the cycle or spiral.

As a teacher I am inclusive, people orientated and have a passion to search out, test and pass on knowledge whether it be from a lectern, the pages of a journal or an on-line opinion piece. For students, experts and the community I try to act as a bridge or conduit between research, ideas, public law values and the needs of citizens.

Looking for a short term Administrative Law Teacher?

I have accepted many invitations to give lectures, talks or run short courses at various Universities. I am also interested in opportunities to teach jointly with other teachers (either at University of Tasmania or another institution) in the areas of Administrative Law or Comparative Administrative Law.

Courses run at:

  • University of Wollongong 1995/1996
  • University College Cork 1999
  • University of Western Ontario 2003

Lectures and classes presented at:

  • University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • Edith Cowan University
  • University of Queensland
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC
  • Ottawa Law School
  • Sheffield Law School

Some thoughts on teaching

Instead of encouraging the student to devote himself to his studies for the sake of studying, instead of encouraging in him a real love for his subject and for inquiry, he is encouraged to study for the sake of his personal career; he is led to acquire only such knowledge as is serviceable in getting him over the hurdles which he must clear for the sake of his advancement (Karl Popper).

Schools teach you to imitate.  If you don’t imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade.  Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating (Robert Pirsig).

Bad teaching is teaching which presents an endless procession of meaningless signs, words and rules, and fails to arouse the imagination (W. Sawyer).

If there is no place for pleasure in teaching, surely our Teaching has failed us altogether (Kenneth Eble, 1988).

Perspectives on Teaching

An old teaching essay

A Spiral of Quality: Some Reflective and Personal Thoughts About Changing University Teaching Practices (1998) - published in a short lived on-line UTAS teaching journal.

This article contains a collection of thoughts and reflections about teaching from the first 10 years of my experiences as a tertiary teacher. Eight years later I cringe at some of the points, still nod my head vigourously at most of the observations. The major difference in this period has been John Briggs book Teaching for Quality Learning at University and his idea of constructive alignment.

"Not Just Another Brick in the Wall: Rick Snell" Chapter 42 in Ballantyne, Roy et al Reflecting on University Teaching: Academics' Stories DEETYA 1997.

This was a Committee for University Teaching and Staff Development project. Professor Ballantyne asked every Australian University to nominate exemplary teachers. Those nominated then submitted a short profile and outline of their teaching practices and nominated students who could be approached for comment. A final list of 44 academics were chosen to be interviewed. The interview allowed the academics the opportunity to tell their teaching story. The writing team then tried to capture the full story of the teaching practices in a way that could be accessible to other academics (using a variety of theme sections) interested in teaching and learning.

Nomination did wonders for my own self-belief but more importantly the telling, albeit fairly crudely, of my story was my first opportunity to engage in both subjective and objective reflection about my teaching ideas and practices.

Teaching Resources


  • Video presentation by Sheffield Law School “Rick Snell’s Thoughts on Teaching Law”.This 12 part video presentation provides invaluable insights  and suggestions from Rick Snell regarding teaching and teaching development.

Articles and other resources

  • A Spiral of Quality: Some Reflective and Personal Thoughts About Changing University Teaching Practices” International Journal of University Teaching and Learning Vol 1 No 1 August 1998. 

  • The Curriculum and Teaching of Property Law in Australian Law Schools” Australian Property Law Journal  [Lynden Griggs] Vol 5  No.2&3, 213-226.

  • When Student Names Escape You...” The Law Teacher Vol 4 No.2, 1997 12.


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