University of Otago teachers (from left) Drs Ros Whiting, Lynnette Jones, Timothy Cooper, Suzanne Pitama and Karyn Paringatai gather before an award function on campus yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Five academics have been awarded University of Otago Teaching
Excellence Awards for their ''outstanding teaching skills''.
Kaupapa Maori awards went to Dr Suzanne Pitama, of the
university's Christchurch campus, as well as to Dr Karyn
Paringatai; and General Awards went to Dr Ros Whiting, Dr
Lynnette Jones and Dr Timothy Cooper.
At a university function in their honour yesterday, Otago
University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said the
''inspiring'' winners had shown ''outstanding teaching
The two Kaupapa Maori honours were awarded for the first time
Award winners were humbled and delighted at their success and
and several highlighted the importance of taking a fun,
Dr Paringatai, a lecturer at Te Tumu, the School of Maori,
Pacific and Indigenous Studies, said learning performing arts
in the Maori language was potentially ''quite difficult'',
but she aimed to teach in a ''fun and exciting'' way.
''Teaching is a two-way process: my students learn from me;
and I from my students.''
Dr Pitama , who is director of the Maori/Indigenous Health
Institute, at the university's Christchurch campus, was
''excited'' about the award.
Dr Whiting, a senior lecturer in the accountancy and finance
department, has taught accountancy at Otago for 23 years. A
student said in a feedback survey Dr Whiting was a high
quality lecturer whose ''personality lights up the class''.
Dr Jones, a senior lecturer at the School of Physical
Education, said good teaching was partly about knowing how to
''interact with your students at their level'', and offering
some humour as well as information. Dr Cooper, a senior
lecturer in theology, teaches the history of Christianity.
He wanted students to feel safe and confident and tried to
inspire them ''through transformative learning and effective
Otago teaching award winners also go forward to national
teaching awards, which are decided later in the year.
Four Otago academics have won the Prime Minister's Supreme
Award for tertiary teaching excellence in the last 11 years,
the highest such success rate of any New Zealand university.