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Professor Les Dawes

Science and Engineering Faculty,
Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences,
Environmental Systems

Personal

Name
Professor Les Dawes
Position(s)
Professor
Science and Engineering Faculty,
Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences,
Environmental Systems
Discipline *
Environmental Engineering, Curriculum and Pedagogy, Environmental Science and Management
Phone
+61 7 3138 2776
Fax
+61 7 3138 1515
Email
Location
View location details (QUT staff and student access only)
Identifiers and profiles
ORCID iD Twitter LinkedIn
Qualifications

PhD (Queensland University of Technology), BAppSc(Geology) (Queensland Inst. of Technology)

Professional memberships
and associations
Keywords

Engineering Education, Water Quality, Water Resource Management, Sustainable development

* Field of Research code, Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC), 2008

Biography

Broad area of research: STEM and Engineering Education, Sustainable Development, Water Resources,  Dr Dawes focuses on four main research areas:

  • STEM and Engineering Education
  • Initial Teacher Education
  • Protection of Land and Water Resources
  • Protecting and Restoring Water Quality
  • Sustainable Development

STEM and Engineering Education Les and research colleagues continue to strive towards improving the quality, relevance and performance of STEM and Engineering Education along with the value of scholarship in Engineering Education. He is Past President of the Australasian Association of Engineering Education and has served on the national executive since 2006 to 2013 and  as editor of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education (AJEE). Engineering education is becoming increasingly important to various fields  and represents a relatively new domain of research that brings together researchers from engineering, engineering education, mathematics education, and science education. His research focus involves:

  • Increasing the participation rates of high school leavers in STEM and Engineering Education  especially of women and non-traditional sources of students.
  • Promoting the development and use of inquiry focused teaching techniques and tools and promote teaching effectiveness.

Initial Teacher Education (secondary Science and Mathematics)

From 2013 to 2016, Les was project leader of the Step Up project, one of five projects awarded a total of $12 million by the ETMST (Enhancing the Training of Mathematics and Science Teachers Programme). The Step Up project was led by QUT in partnership with Australian Catholic University (ACU), Griffith University (GU), James Cook University (JCU), The University of Queensland (UQ), and the Queensland Department of Education and Training (DET).

Step Up sought to identify where significant change and impact can be made – going beyond traditional approaches that have involved providing more content, method and resources, and reconceiving what is possible through collaboration between practising scientists, mathematicians and teacher educators – as we prepare the next generation of our nation’s science and mathematics teachers.

The focus of the grant was on pre-service, secondary mathematics and science teachers in Queensland. Throughout the project numerous stakeholders were engaged external to the universities (e.g., Queensland College of Teachers QCT, Independent Schools Queensland, DET Schools, Science Teachers Association of Queensland and State Library of Queensland), along with stakeholders within the university environment (e.g., pre-service teachers and STEM students, Heads of School, teacher educators, discipline experts, curriculum panels, and administration).

http://www.stepup.edu.au/

STEM Studio

As part of the Step Up project, Les acted as Lead Academic on the STEM Studio. The aim of the STEM Studio was to enhance university studies and field experience by providing pre-service teachers (PSTs) the opportunity to put their learnings into practice in an authentic, supportive and non-assessed environment. PSTs worked in collaboration with teacher educators, in-service teachers (ISTs) and experts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to design, develop and deliver STEM learning experiences to students in grades 7 to 10. The STEM Studio provided PSTs with support, resources and networks to focus on their professional development and teaching identity before reaching the classroom.

Different STEM Studio models were trialled at multiple institutions across Queensland, Australia, including QUT, James Cook University (JCU) and Griffith University (GU).

http://www.stepup.edu.au/model-approaches/stem-studio/

Protection of Land and Water Resources The main direction of Dr Dawes’ research has been towards developing a better understanding of natural systems, both land and water related. His research is application based and grounded in finding solutions to complex environmental problems. He is particularly interested in developing a better understanding of the interrelationships between the hydrologic and water quality characteristics of catchments, with particular emphasis on the way in which these complex interactions affect aquatic ecosystems. The main direction of Dr Dawes’ research is focused on enhanced protection of land and water resources and the informed use of a resource currently being wasted. The use of water is approaching, and in some cases exceeding, the limits of sustainability both in Australia and worldwide. As a result, wastewater is increasingly being recognised as a valuable resource (particularly for non-potable use); indeed both stormwater and wastewater recycling are focal points of water conservation programs. Dr Dawes’ research identifies issues and challenges in water recycling and developing options for reuse. An important key to sound urban water management is the integration of stormwater and recycled water as resources into the urban water system. His research areas include:

  • Water quality and treatment
  • Water conservation
  • Options for Water recycling
  • Groundwater Management
  • Landfill hydrology

Protecting and Restoring Water Quality All over the world, cities and regions can be seen as engines of the economy driven by people. Urban and regional areas need advanced research to craft and understand the distinct characteristics of their water environments in order to assist people and institutions in their effort to promote health, enhance the efficient use of water resources, and protect environmental values. Dr Les Dawes research focuses on a series of investigations; from understanding the behaviour of contaminants through to knowledge of their impact. His research develops approaches and methods to assess and diagnose the causes and pollutant sources, tools to assess the exposures and reduce the human health risks, provides the approaches to attain water quality standards. Dr Les Dawes’ research involves a combination of laboratory experiments, field investigations and computational analyses and simulations. His research focus involves:

  • Analytical methods for water quality evaluation
  • Water pollution mechanisms
  • Land use relationships

His research highlights the importance of providing engaging student friendly learning environments, aligning assessment strategies and learning outcomes and providing authentic real world projects that cater for a wide range of learning styles and promote deep learning approaches. Sustainable development Dr Dawes was part of the team of QUT staff to develop and advance feasibility studies for the sustainable urban development of a substantial area of government land at Temaiku, South Tarawa. This project involved working with both the Kiribati government and community in developing a sustainable living concept for Temaiku that addresses accommodation, community need, civic needs, employment, business, industry, education, recreation, health, energy, water, transport, sewerage and sanitation and supporting the contemporary culture of Kiribati. This projects approach has great applicability to other Pacific Islands. The project is notable for its sustainable approach to social and economic development, sustainable alternative infrastructure and energy supply, cultural appropriateness, and sustainable housing and urban design. As a result of his involvement with this project, Dr Dawes was principal supervisor of a PhD project titled “Urban Agroforestry in future settlements of the Republic of Kiribati”. Dr Dawes and his research team have been granted funds to conduct the following research projects:

  • Transforming mathematics and science pre-service secondary teacher education in Queensland
  • The feasibility of using siphons to drain glacial lakes and provide electrical power to mountain communities in Bhutan
  • Development of resources and supporting materials to facilitate the delivery of energy efficiency content in undergraduate engineering courses
  • Modelling adsorption processes on soils associated with CSG water
  • Predictive modelling of Surat Basin coal seam gas water quality and impacts on downstream treatment technologies.
  • The effect of recycled water in cooling towers with respect to the diversity and activity of the bacterial population in the surrounding environment
  • Difference between public perceptions and scientific fact, in relation to the domestic use of greywater
  • Water quality profile of an urbanising catchment – Ningi Creek catchment
  • Initial Field Testing of Emissions from Honda Outboard Motors
  • Investigation into Issues and Implications of Using Recycled Water
  • Improving the quality of science and engineering graduates from the 20 public universities in Thailand
  • Development of an integrated risk-based approach to on-site sewage treatment system sitting, design and management
  • Performance evaluation of on-site wastewater treatment
  • Development of generic guidelines for the rehabilitation of sand mining areas
  • Audit of septic tank performance for the development of management strategies

Awards and Recognition

  • 2014: Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence, Power of Engineering Team
  • 2011: Vice Chancellors Award for Excellence
  • 2010: ALTC, Australian Awards for University Teaching,  Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning
  • 2009: Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning, Australasian Association of Engineering Education, Engineers Australia.
  • 2008: National Business and Higher Education Round Table Award for Community Engagement
  • 2008: Vice Chancellor’s Performance Fund Award for teaching excellence.
  • 2007: Commendation for Contribution to Student Learning, BEE Faculty
  • 2006: Best paper at the 18th Annual Conference of the Australasian Association for Engineering Educators held at Auckland University of Technology
  • 2003: QUT Early Researcher Grant and recipient of University Collaborative Grant Scheme (Environmental Hydrology and Groundwater Resource Sustainability)
  • 2003: University Outstanding Contribution Award for Secondary Schools and QUT Engineering Activity Kits (SQUEAK) in recognition of exceptional contributions to University mission and goals through outstanding achievement or innovation in service.

Career History

  • 2014 to present: Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering and STEP UP Project Leader, QUT
  • 2009 – 2014: Associate Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, QUT
  • 2007 – 2009: Senior Lecturer, School of Urban Development, QUT
  • 2003 – 2007: Lecturer, School of Urban Development, QUT
  • 1996 – 2003: Part-time Lecturer and Tutor, School of Civil Engineering, QUT
  • 1990 – 1996: Laboratory Technician, School of Civil Engineering, QUT
  • 1987 – 1990: Engineering Geologist, Boral Resources
  • 1984 – 1987: Seismologist, Santos
This information has been contributed by Professor Les Dawes.

Teaching

  • Environmental Geotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Water and Soil Pollution
  • Hydrology
  • Environmental Science
  • Engineering Design
  • Science Communication
This information has been contributed by Professor Les Dawes.

Experience

External Collaboration: Within the broad field of environmental engineering research and STEM Education, Dr Dawes and his research team has strong collaborations with:

  • Brisbane Airport Corporation
  • Burnett Mary Regional Group
  • Kiribati Government
  • Qld TMR
  • Carpentaria Shire Council
  • James Cook University
  • Griffith University
  • University of Queensland
  • The Austraian Government, Dept of Education and Training
  • Geofabrics Australasia
This information has been contributed by Professor Les Dawes.

Publications


For more publications by this staff member, visit QUT ePrints, the University's research repository.

Awards

Awards and recognition

Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2011
Details
Vice-Chancellors Award for Excellence Academic Learning and teaching, Partnerships and engagement, and Client Focus
Type
Appointment to Prestigious Positions
Reference year
2011
Details
Elected President of the Engineers Australia Technical Society - Australasian Association of Engineering Education whose general mission is to improve the quality, relevance and performance of engineering education in Australasia.
Type
Editorial Role for an Academic Journal
Reference year
2011
Details
Editor of Australasian Association for Engineering Education (AJEE) 2006 to present
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2010
Details
Australian Awards for University Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions for Student Learning "For sustained commitment to innovative student-focused learning experiences and environments that engage students in real world learning."
Type
Academic Honours, Prestigious Awards or Prizes
Reference year
2008
Details
Business and Higher Education Round Table (Australia¿s national forum for industry-university partnerships). A unique partnership between Queensland University of Technology, Port of Brisbane Corporation and Burnett Mary Regional Group has won a prestigious national award for the design and engineering project Sustainable Futures by Design: Integrated solutions to sustainable growth in coastal Queensland¿

Research projects

Grants and projects (Category 1: Australian Competitive Grants only)

Title
Implementing Engineering Experiences In The Middle School
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP0989152
Start year
2009
Keywords
engineering education; problem solving; mathematics curriculum; science curriculum; middle school;
Title
Developmental engineering education in the primary school
Primary fund type
CAT 1 - Australian Competitive Grant
Project ID
LP120200023
Start year
2012
Keywords
Engineering Education; Mathematics Curriculum; Science Curriculum; Problem Solving; Primary School

Supervision