'Influential, inspiring, awesome' lecturers feted

Otago University Students' Association new supervisor of the year Dr Katherine Black steps up to...
Otago University Students' Association new supervisor of the year Dr Katherine Black steps up to receive her award last night. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The influence and encouragement of the University of Otago's top postgraduate supervisors was recognised at a ceremony last night.

The annual Otago University Students' Association supervisor of the year awards attracted 94 nominations, with 14 shortlisted.

Associate Prof Poia Rewi, of Te Tumu: The School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Studies, won the top honour. His students described him as "an awesome person", with "great interest and enthusiasm", and said his "combination of approachability and expertise is rare to find".

Associate Prof Rewi, who missed the ceremony because he was in Wellington on business, said the win was "extremely humbling".

He had no idea why he was even nominated for the award, but thanked his students for their faith in him.

"I don't really think I do anything different from any of my colleagues," he said.

Dr Katherine Black, of the Department of Human Nutrition, won the new supervisor of the year award. Her students described her as "a hugely influential and inspiring supervisor" and "incredibly supportive".

OUSA postgraduate representative Maria Pozza said the awards recognised and celebrated excellence in supervision of graduate research degrees. They were a popular way for students to show supervisors how valued their work was.

"It's a real step up from the old 'bottle of wine at the end of the thesis'. It's an award from their students honouring the fact that many supervisors often go above and beyond the call of duty in their support," she said.

Other winners: Sciences division, Dr Rachel Brown, of human nutrition; commerce division, Associate Prof Stephen Cranefield, of information science; humanities division, Dr Jacob Edmond, of the English department; health sciences, Associate Prof Steve Kerr, of pharmacology and toxicology.

Others shortlisted were Prof Stephen Duffull, of pharmacy; Prof Ewan Fordyce, of geology; Prof Jules Kieser, of dentistry; Associate Prof Holger Regenbrecht, of information science; Dr Chris Rosin, of the Centre for Sustainability; Associate Prof Rachel Spronken-Smith, of the Higher Education Development Centre; Dr Noel Waite, of applied sciences; and Associate Prof Peter Wigham, of information science.


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