Meet Sarah Howe, Senior Lecturer in Law and Commendation winner

Murdoch Law School Academic Sarah Howe

Murdoch's Sarah Howe received a 2022 Commendation for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning and was also promoted to Senior Lecturer.

As a lawyer Sarah Withnall Howe is used to being asked by family and friends for legal advice, but the answer is often not as straightforward as they would have hoped.

“The acquaintance is invariably hoping for a response where I lay out the content of the law and give a definite answer to their question,” said Sarah.

But the lawyer, and legal academic’s, answer to the question is - it depends.

“It depends because the law is not just a body of rules, is complex and constantly changes.

As a teacher of law, I must ensure my students not only learn the laws content but how to deal with its complexities and recognise how it changes.”

Sarah works within Murdoch’s School of Law, as the Unit Coordinator of two large, core first-year units where she develops and delivers all the lectures.

Award winning teaching

In 2022, Sarah was also the recipient of a Commendation for Excellence in Enhancing Student Learning.

She received the award for her outstanding approach in lecturing to influence, motivate and inspire first-year law students to learn the law’s complexities and changing nature.

In her lectures Sarah doesn’t just provide students with the outcome of a case, but rather goes through and analyses key parts of case examples with each class. She models techniques for reading case law and making effective case notes, so that in their careers they are ready to adapt to the changing nature of the law.

She further supports our law students by helping them to manage and maintain their mental wellbeing, encouraging them to take time to learn how to look after themselves, as they move through their studies and into their careers.

A team player in her community

Her other key role at Murdoch is the legal representative and Deputy Chair of Murdoch’s Human Ethics Research Committee (HERC).

“I really love the intellectual challenge and diversity that comes with working on the HREC.”

Sarah has taken her interest in ethics and shared it with another valuable community organisation, the Constable Care Foundation, working on a pilot program teaching ethics and critical thinking to Year 5 students.

“During my long service leave, I undertook the required training and more recently I have been teaching a one-hour once a week class at a school local to me,” she said.

In the program they cover philosophical ethical concepts, but in child-friendly contexts.

“It has been such a wonderful experience. The program material is great, the children and their contributions are amazing, and the parallels between the program and my own work is exciting.”

Sarah's top 5 tips for uni students

  1. Your wellbeing is important.
  2. Give yourself the time and space needed to enjoy your studies.
  3. Ask for help. There is always someone out there who can do or say something to help lighten your load.  
  4. Ask about, or investigate, things that interest and inspire you.
  5. Be supportive and respectful of those around you.
See where a degree in Law at Murdoch could take you and get the chance to study under the guidance of academics like Sarah!
Posted on:

28 Mar 2023

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