Top marks for Australia Day honours recipient
26 January 2019
Shortly after taking on the role of course implementation officer at the School of Navigation Warfare, Lieutenant Jennifer Neuhaus noticed a large proportion of students were struggling with the Junior Warfare Officer Application Course exam schedule.
“It started with a simple question – how can we improve the system to help trainees through?” Lieutenant Neuhaus said.
Lieutenant Neuhaus set out to reshape the school's culture from being assessment-centric to one based on positive training.
“We focused on addressing the needs of students; there is a generational change happening,” she said.
"We were not taking into account the fact that how students learn and are assessed in school had changed and we needed to consider this with our own assessment schedule."
“We wanted to make it a supportive learning and assessment environment, celebrating positive achievements."
Her efforts contributed to a 10 per cent reduction in training failures across the early phases of officer navigation training.
“We saw a 100 per cent pass rate on the first three courses of the first phase of the Junior Warfare Officer Application Course after implementing the change.
“We wanted to make it a supportive learning and assessment environment, celebrating positive achievements, in the hope fewer training progress reports would have to be issued.
“This meant we could focus more on producing great officers through mentoring and help with study, and subsequently this led to more positive academic results.”
Lieutenant Neuhaus received a Conspicuous Service Medal as part of Australia Day honours for her efforts.
Lieutenant Neuhaus said she felt humbled, honoured and privileged with the medal.
“I never intended on achieving anything like this, I just put my head down and wanted to do the best job I could to support the trainees through the course,” she said.
Another reason for the award was her participation in the Women in Maritime Focus Initiative.
The program saw a networking event held at HMAS Watson, focusing on the awareness of challenges facing Navy as it seeks to increase female participation, just as the civilian maritime industry does.