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OUSA Names Students’ Top Otago University Lecturers

OUSA Names Students’ Top Otago University Lecturers

The Otago University Students’ Association and the University of Otago are proud to announce the University of Otago Lecturer of the Year as voted by the students of Otago University. At a ceremony held by OUSA today the awards were presented to the Overall Top Lecturer and the most inclusive lecturers as voted by the students of the University of Otago.

“Every student has a lecturer who draws them into the subject and makes it not only interesting but fun to learn.” Said Francisco Hernandez, OUSA President, “Universities aren’t just here to be a ‘commercial success’, and researchers aren’t just here to fight for funding and hide their head in their labs. Universities exist to teach, and these lecturers are why Otago University is so good at fulfilling that objective.”

The awards are part of the OUSA representation system which includes students in the creation and improvement of the education experience. They give students the opportunity to give positive feedback to the lecturers who stand out as high quality teachers. Over 300 lecturers were nominated, each will receive a formal letter to ensure they’re aware of the feedback they’ve garnered.

“OUSA congratulates all the staff who received votes in the OUSA 2013 teaching awards, your amazing work is truly valued by the many students you interact with.” Said Hernandez. “The key aspects of top lecturers were their approachability, energy and passion for the subject which draws in students, and their willingness to listen and give advice. It’s this last point, the pastoral care aspect, which is truly valued by young people who are looking up to these educators for direction.”

Students also voted in the inclusive award section which this year has three award recipients. This award recognises excellence in inclusive teaching and a commitment to understanding disability as a human rights issue, thus enriching the Otago experience for students who have a disability, impairment or medical condition.

OUSA Top Teacher for 2013:
Haruko Stuart - Teaching Fellow in the Japanese Programme, Department of Languages and Cultures
One of many student nominators had this to say about Haruko; “Haruko has always been available to help me whether she was my teacher or not. She is very energetic about helping her students and encouraging in so many ways. I have never had a teacher so devoted to her students as Haruko, and I owe so much to her in terms of my Japanese ability now. Thank you very much!”
The top ten lecturers nominated can be found on page 2.

OUSA Inclusiveness in Teaching Awards:
- Dr Gill Rutherford - Senior Lecturer, College of Education
- Tony Zaharic - Biochemistry, Otago School of Medical Sciences
- Associate Professor Leigh Hale - School of Physiotherapy, Health Sciences

The awards will be presented at a ceremony this Friday 26th of October at 2.30-3.30pm in the University of Otago Commerce Building Staff Room.

Media Contact
Matthew Tucker
OUSA Student Support Centre Manager
03 479 5738
021 419219
The Top Ten finalists for OUSA Top Teacher 2013 (in no particular order):
• Dr Kristin Hillman (Psychology)
• Tony Zaharic (Biochemistry)
• Dr Tony Schneiders (Physiotherapy)
• Haruko Stuart (Languages and Cultures)
• David Bishop (Marketing)
• Professor Steve Jackson (Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Sciences)
• Dr Jackie Hunter (Psychology)
• Associate Professor Peter Whigham (Information Science)
• Andrew Wallace (Applied Sciences)
• Jessica Palmer (Law)

A few choice quotes that accompanied nominations:
“1) He could be the fifth Wiggle, 2) isn't married because his one true love is making podcasts for us (this is a guess) 3) Included chocolate eating/energy inking in one of our labs (HUBs never did that) 4) Released half of our terms test on blackboard at the start of the semester 5) The kind of guy we wish coordinated every Health Sci paper. The Residential Colleges would be less depressing places if Uni had more Tony Zaharics to make Health Scis relax a bit. 6) puts on multiple free tuts a week, that actually re-cover content so we don't have to sit there hoping someone else will ask/answer the questions. 7) knows how to spin a good yarn. That's actually understandable. At a pace that's easy to keep up with. And makes you feel smart because sometimes you actually sit there thinking he could probably speed things up a little bit. 8) Ensures we have a good amount of prep time leading up to assessments. 9) Wrote all our notes for us and put them on blackboard too! 10) Signs off every email with a smiley emoticon.” – Student comment on Tony Zaharic

“David has a lot of industry and real time knowledge about marketing within the business environment which he always successfully makes relevant to the concepts being studied, He creates a positive atmosphere among the lecture theatre and make tutorial a delight to come to. Not only does David makes the concepts clear, he also crafts them to make his students critically evaluate the concepts generating a deeper understanding. David is always open for students to ask questions and will always set a side time for students to meet with him to further discuss concepts and ideas. I have thoroughly enjoyed having David educate me again this year and I look forward to working with him later during my degree. Top work David!!” – Student comment on David Bishop

“Because she actually made me interested in contract law! Has the potential to be an extremely boring paper, but Jess made her part of the course accessible, entertaining and always works hard to do the best for her students. I always made sure to be up for the 9am lectures, even on Friday mornings because I knew it would be interesting and informative. I love her flow charts, they make the course so much easier to understand.” – Student comment on Jessica Palmer


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