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Skull lady and communicator win excellence awards

'Skull lady' and management communicator win excellence awards

A lecturer known by high school students as the 'skull lady' and a management professor who takes a practical approach to theory are the 2004 winners of Waikato University's Teaching Excellence Awards.

The awards reflect the value the university places on highest quality teaching.

Biological sciences lecturer Alison Campbell uses hominid skulls to give lectures on human evolution to secondary school pupils visiting the university, and the students have been impressed with her ability and enthusiasm. "Over the last few years biology student numbers at first year have stabilized and begun to gradually increase," says Bruce Clarkson, chair of biological sciences. "We are certain Dr Campbell has played a major role in this increase."

One student said: "Not only is she an approachable member of staff who makes students comfortable with talking to her outside of course time, she is an impeccable lecturer, engaging and animated, with some of the most interesting material I have met at the university."

Meanwhile, Professor Ted Zorn of management communication, was described as supportive and encouraging but also challenging by one of his students: "I felt privileged to have had this brief opportunity of working with him and believed he showed an optimum balance between support and challenge which is so important for learner development."

One of Professor Zorn's colleagues, lecturer Mary Simpson, says: "Ted's passion for using theory in practice enabled me to link my university learning with everyday work and life. I now, in my own teaching, try to model Ted's approach."

The awards ceremony will be held at the WEL Energy Trust Academy of Performing Arts on Tuesday 27 July at 4pm.

Professor Zorn will receive the prestigious 2004 Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Excellence in Teaching, while Dr Campbell receives a 2004 University of Waikato Teaching Excellence Award.

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