Otago uni academic collects supreme award

Winner of the prime minister's supreme award for tertiary teaching excellence University of Otago...
Winner of the prime minister's supreme award for tertiary teaching excellence University of Otago Associate Prof Fa'afetai (Tai) Sopoaga. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
New Zealand's top tertiary teacher is a testament to her craft, the University of Otago's vice-chancellor says.

At the national tertiary teaching excellence awards held at Parliament last night, Faumuina Associate Prof Fa'afetai (Tai) Sopoaga was presented with the prime minister's supreme award.

The associate dean (Pacific) of the division of health sciences was also awarded an endorsement for excellence in supporting Pacific learners, for her dedication to curriculum development and pastoral care of Pacific students.

Associate Prof Fa'afetai said she was delighted Pacific health was being recognised as an important part of the training for future health professionals.

It is the sixth time in the past seven years the top tertiary teacher award has been won by a University of Otago teacher.

University vice-chancellor Prof Harlene Hayne said Associate Prof Sopoaga's award was a testament to her total dedication to the ``craft'' of teaching.

For the university to win the top national accolade for teaching again was the icing on the cake, she said.

Three other University of Otago academics received awards last night.

Prof Michelle Thompson-Fawcett of the department of geography received a sustained excellence award in the kaupapa Maori category.

Both Dr Rebecca Bird of the department of anatomy and Associate Prof Sheila Skeaff of the department of human nutrition received sustained excellence awards in the general category.

The awards are administered and managed by Ako Aotearoa (the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence).


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