Anneka Ferguson

Senior Lecturer
BA LLB (Hons), GDLP, GradDip (Psych), SFHEA
0420 633749
0420 633749
Room 2.094

home icon ANU College of Law, Bld 6, Fellows Rd, Acton ACT 2600

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Research Theme

Biography

Anneka Ferguson (SFHEA, BALLB(Hons), GDLP, GradDipPsych)was admitted to the Roll of Legal Practitioners in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory in 2006 and is a Senior Lecturer at the Australian National University School of Legal Practice. Initially working in both private and government legal practice as a personal injury litigator, Anneka joined Legal Workshop in 2008 and has been: both the Sub-Dean and Director of the Graduate Diploma/Masters of Legal Practice; convened courses on Legal Practice Trust Accounting, Practice Management and the Professional Practice Core Course for the Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice; and Lawyers Justice and Ethics as part of the LLB/JD.

Anneka is passionate about improving law student wellbeing and sustainable learning and assessment outcomes. In 2012, she began a research project in collaboration with Stephan Tang to develop and implement an evaluative survey/dialogue cycle for the Professional Practice Core Program (PPC) that provides the base data set for a number of discrete and integrated projects regarding GDLP student wellbeing, the effectiveness of the innovative PPC online simulated transactional and group based learning for developing professional identity and sustainable assessment practices. The findings from this project have been published in the publications and conferences below.
Anneka's interest in how legal ethics is implemented in practice has also contributed to her work in implementing the Giving Voice to Values curriculum (Mary Gentile, Darden University) and, as such, she is also working on a book of positive case studies involving junior lawyers who have addressed complex legal ethics issues.

Anneka has also recognised the importance of technologies such as Blockchain to both disrupt and enhance legal education and practice both nationally and internationally. As such, Anneka's research interests are moving into this area enhanced by both independent research and her current study Blockchain strategy at RMIT and a Masters of International Law at Griffith University.

Appointments

  • Fellow for the Summer 2012 workshop of the National Institute for Teaching Ethics & Professionalism (NIFTEP)

Recent news

15
Dec
2016
Anneka Ferguson, Director (GDLP/MLP ANU Legal Workshop) hiding out somewhere in the world.
Anneka’s research into the relationship between professional identity, ethics and wellbeing provides some guidance as to how to take a different 'unpathed' path in your career and be okay with that.
26
Aug
2015
Anneka Ferguson
Anneka Ferguson is the Sub-Dean for the Masters of Legal Practice and Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the Australian National University Legal Workshop.
19
Dec
2012
ANU College of Law

Eight ANU College of Law staff members were awarded for their excellent contribution to teaching in 2012.

In the Media

29
Jun
2015
Anneka Ferguson writes in European Journal of Law and Technology

Past events

11
Oct
2017
International Students
6.30PM to 8.30PM Information session
  • Anneka Ferguson, Senior Lecturer

The purpose of the information session is to give current international students who are studying law, a better understanding of the different options and pathways that they can follow upon completion of their law degrees. Sometimes international...

08
Aug
2017
Event image
1.00PM to 2.00PM Teaching and Learning Forum

Ideas and discussion, and how a Teaching Enhancement Grant might help.

Please note, only a small selection of recent publications and activities are listed below.

Research biography

Anneka Ferguson’s research is designed to ensure that legal education ensures positive graduate outcomes both professionally and in terms of wellbeing and is placed at the nexus between theory, teaching and empirical evaluation.

Anneka has developed (in conjunction with Stephen Tang) a comprehensive action and empirical research framework to both evaluate whether ANU Law’s core Professional Legal Education course is creating practice ready, professional, ethical and well graduates to enter the legal profession; and provide an environment to trial novel practices based on sound theory. These are then rigorously tested to ensure that the practices were not useless or harmful.

Since 2012, Anneka and her colleagues have surveyed almost 2000 of ANU students at the beginning and end of the course, yielding one of the largest and most comprehensive datasets about legal education in Australia.

Recent data analysis has replicated the work of Lawrence Krieger and Kennon Sheldon demonstrating a positive correlation in our cohorts between the basic psychological needs of autonomy, relatedness and competence and the wellbeing and professionalism. Excitingly, unlike Krieger and Sheldon, ANU cohorts are not experiencing the depletion of these psychological needs, wellbeing and professionalism. As such this aspect of Anneka’s research provides an extremely rich ground for building on the project in order to provide substantiated guidance on how to develop “well” curriculums in legal education.

Research projects & collaborations

Anneka is passionate about improving law student wellbeing and sustainable learning and assessment outcomes. In 2012, she began a research project in collaboration with Stephan Tang to develop and implement an evaluative survey/dialogue cycle for the Professional Practice Core Program (PPC) that provides the base data set for a number of discrete and integrated projects regarding GDLP student wellbeing, the effectiveness of the innovative PPC online simulated transactional and group based learning for developing professional identity and sustainable assessment practices. The findings from this project have been published in the publications and conferences below.

Anneka's interest in how legal ethics is implemented in practice has also contributed to her work in implementing the Giving Voice to Values curriculum (Mary Gentile, Darden University) and, as such, she is also working on a book of positive case studies involving junior lawyers who have addressed complex legal ethics issues.

Anneka has also recognised the importance of technologies such as Blockchain to both disrupt and enhance legal education and practice both nationally and internationally. As such, Anneka's research interests are moving into this area enhanced by both independent research and her current study Blockchain strategy at RMIT and a Masters of International Law at Griffith University.

Book chapters

  • Ferguson, Anneka (2018), Chapter 2:  Determined to be Professional, Ethical and Well in Fields, Rachael and Strevens, Caroline (eds) Educating for Well-Being in Law (Forthcoming)

Conference papers & presentations

Conference Papers

2018

Directions in Legal Education 2018, China University Hong Kong, Valuing Dissonance (Accompanying blog post https://www.learning.law.cuhk.edu.hk/)

2018 Wellness in Law Forum, Bond University, Deconstructing and reconstructing core motivating beliefs about law without causing detruction

2017

Legal Education Sector, Society of Legal Scholars Conference Dublin, Valuing Legal Education

Visiting Scholar, Staff Seminar, Portsmouth University UK, Valuing Legal Education: Who's values, How and Why?

2016

International Legal Ethics Conference, New York, Legal Ethics in Action: Dispatches from the front lines

National Symposium On Student Mental Health Wellbeing, Melbourne Law School, Determined to be different

2015

QUT Capstone Experience Forum, Mind the Gap Please: Integrating sustainable assessment practices to simulate and develop professional identity and behaviour for practice


2015 Law and Society Conference, Seattle, The value of self determination:How to put the theory into practice for successful well being and professionalism outcomes

2014

American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, New York, Balance in Law Section (with Stephen Tang and Gary Tamsitt) 'Integration: Essential for improving professionalism and wellbeing outcomes'

Global Legal Skills Conference, Verona, Italy "Online learning that is integrated, simulated, professional, personal and well?" (with Elizabeth Lee)

Monash University Law Chambers, Melbourne, Developing Capacity to Cope with Ethical Dilemmas in Legal Practice Through Teaching ‘Giving Voice to Values’ Techniques’ (with Vivien Holmes)

2013

National Wellness in Law Forum (with Stephen Tang) 'Surprisingly Well?A peek into the wellbeing/distress data from a survey of Australian PLT students'

National Wellness in Law Forum (with Stephen Tang, Mollie Townes O'Brien and Vivien Holmes), 'Leave Nothing Behind: Bring your Whole Self to Law School!'

Association of Legal Teachers (ALT) Conference, Notthingham, UK (with Stephen Tang) 'Preparing students for the reality of practice through Practice Management: Empowering values and relishing uncertainty'

ALT Conference, Nottingham, UK 'Facebook status update: A case study involving social media in the lecture theatre'

Association of Law Teachers Australia Conference (with Moira Murray) 'Preparing Students for Legal Practice: How Law Teachers can assist students to develop team work and collaboration skills

2012

Association of Legal Teachers Conference, Oxford UK (with Elizabeth Lee) 'On which shore does assessment wash up after a perfect storm? - A case study of the potential in using online simulated group based learning to create sustainable assessment practices'

International Legal Ethics Conference, Banff Canada (with Gary Tamsitt and Vivien Holmes 'Learning Ethics: Achieving Behavioural change through Simulation'

APLEC conference in Hobart (with Stephen Tang) ' “Servicing our Clients”: A snapshot of our student group at the beginning of their Practical Legal Training'

2010

APLEC (with Elizabeth Lee) “Learning the Skills – One Step at a Time: The benefits and challenges of simulated transactional teaching/learning.”

2008

APLEC “How Uniform is Uniform? An examination of the implementation of the uniform trust accounting legislation across five Australian jurisdictions.”

Current courses

Year Course code Course name
2018 LEGW8142
Class #9704
Professional Practice Core

Philosophy & approach

The privilege of being a teacher is empowering students to explore, test, write and emotionally connect with their own professional and educational formation narrative. Learning students’ stories and building their confidence as learners and thinkers is my intrinsically motivational gold. It reminds me that I am a very small but integral partner in my students’ formation as a professionals, learners and thinkers.  It is not about: my ego, being risk adverse, or becoming complacent.  It is about entering a dialogue with students’ about their values, goals, learning journies; and providing the tools, support and environment for that journey.  To chase this gold, I am committed to continuously questioning, researching and evaluating my own teaching methods, the teaching methods of others and the feedback I am getting from students to ensure I and my teaching team to continually  push the the learning dialogue to become even more responsive, engaging and meaningful.

In my teaching, I seek to engage student’s motivations and facilitate positive journies of discovery and meaningful challenge. I fundamentally believe that students should graduate psychologically prepared for the challenges they will face and with a sense of Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness (Ryan and Deci, 2000). To provide this educational environment, I aim to be a facilitator and coach on each student’s journey. A creator of collaborative learning communities, I must provide opportunities for students to find, test and refine their professional identity and motivate them to commit to professional development beyond the academy. 

To achieve this, learning environments will be messy (i.e. with no predetermined answers students have space to explore the answers creatively); and assessment must be sustainable.  Assessment is not ranking but about developing  relevant skills, creating connections, being creative and adaptive, and progressing competency (Boud & Falchikov, 2003). Curriculum must be more than the words on a page/in a lecture or a number of contact hours, but involve reflection on, around and about one’s purpose, identity and capabilities. Reflection must become reflexive and normal. To foster an ongoing motivation, learning must be contextualized through: narrative, simulation, modeling and responding, experience, doing and re-doing to apply knowledge.

Finally, I believe that learning should be fun. Humour reminds us that we are first and foremost human, and on this twisted learning journey together.

Past courses

  • Lawyers, Justice and Ethics (LLB/JD) - 2016 ongoing
  • Professional Practice Core - 2010 ongoing
  • Trust Accounting in Practice - 2007-2011

Updated:  10 August 2015/Responsible Officer:  College General Manager, ANU College of Law/Page Contact:  Law Marketing Team