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New Awards Showcase Tertiary Teaching Excellence

24 June 2002

Fourteen tertiary educators have been honoured in the inaugural tertiary teaching excellence awards announced this evening.

Associate Education (Tertiary Education) Minister Steve Maharey said the awards are the first to applaud New Zealand’s very best tertiary teachers and to share their teaching methods with tutors and lecturers across the country.

“The award winners recognised tonight are employed across the whole tertiary education system – from foundation educators to university professors. These prestigious new awards will enable the winners to further develop their careers. Award winners will receive $20,000, while the winner of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award receives $30,000, to be spent on career development and the sharing of best practice.

“Tertiary teachers are at the crucial interface of New Zealand’s development as a knowledge society. Behind our best scientists and tradespeople, our best teachers, designers and social workers are tertiary teachers who have inspired people to reach their full potential.

“The government has established the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards to acknowledge cutting-edge teaching at a nation-wide level in the same way that ground-breaking tertiary research has been for some time. They continue our work to place the tertiary sector at the forefront of our development as a knowledge society.

“The tertiary teachers honoured this evening are all committed to fostering achievement by their students.

“We hope that these annual awards will also foster greater levels of excellence on the part of tertiary teachers across the whole system. A key feature of these awards is the publication of a booklet detailing the teaching approaches, experiences and methodologies of tonight’s recipients. This publication will be available in September.

“The nominations received for the inaugural awards were outstanding and many were worthy of recognition proving that excellence is alive and well in our tertiary institutions.

“I am looking forward to the awards becoming an annual and prestigious addition to the tertiary education calendar and I offer sincere congratulations to the recipients of the inaugural awards,” Steve Maharey said.

Eleven awards are being made this year to fourteen individuals across three categories recognising exemplary tertiary teaching in foundation skills, sustained teaching excellence and innovative tertiary teaching. In addition one award winner is receiving the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award. Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award winners were selected by a specially established committee chaired by Professor Graeme Fraser, Acting Deputy-Chancellor of Massey University.

Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award winners

Prime Minister’s Supreme Award

Welby Ings
Principal Lecturer, School of Art and Design, Auckland University of Technology

Welby Ings is a leading design educator with outstanding commitment, integrity, creativity and love for teaching. He is held in the highest regard by both his students and colleagues due to his commitment to excellence and his particular gift to communicate that commitment to those around him. Welby’s teaching is based on five basic principles - assessment, reflection, co-operative planning and reflective appraisal, research, and passion. Welby has been previously recognised as a recipient of one of the AUT inaugural University Distinguished Teaching awards in 1999. Welby’s engagement with reflective teaching is expressed in the below closing remarks of his portfolio.

“In my studio at home I have a wee quote by Oscar Wilde. It sits between photographs of students spanning 27 years of teaching. It is growing old now and the paper has begun to yellow a little. In times when teaching reform and experiment have met with opposition or misunderstanding, I have sat quietly in front of it. I think it is tied to a kind of vision based on glimpses of the extraordinary limits people can take themselves if they believe in themselves and feel supported. Wildes’ quote acts as a kind of arm around my shoulder…

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by the moonlight and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.

For further information and to contact Welby Ings please call Andrew Melville, Communications Manager, Auckland University of Technology, (09) 917 9711 or (021) 360 075,

Teaching Award in Foundation Skills

Tracey Poutama-Mackie
Contract Manager/Tutor, People Potential Limited, Whangarei

Tracey Poutama-Mackie manages and tutors several courses, including the ‘Fitting the Bill’ course designed to help candidates pass the New Zealand Police entrance tests. The course is extremely successful with approximately 70% passing the pre-entry (Police College) test in comparison with the national figure of approximately 5%. Tracey’s dedication as a tutor is highlighted from a past student, “She was always giving me encouragement and assistance and made me feel like an absolute achiever.”

“Tracey really believes in her students and gave each of us individually 100% of her effort”. The key to Tracey’s success is her ability to build self-belief while constantly reflecting on her learning methods.

For further information and to contact Tracey Poutama-Mackie please call Andrea Ross,
People Potential, (09) 437 7593 or (025) 539 665, e-mail:

Excellence Awards for Sustained Excellence

Nick Ashill
Senior Lecturer, School of Marketing and International Business, Victoria University of Wellington

Nick Ashill’s teaching abilities have been previously recognised as a recipient of the Victoria University Award for Special Academic Achievement – Excellence in Teaching for 1999 and 2001. He has successfully developed interactive teaching tools for strategic marketing planning and used web-based technologies to develop a decision-support tool for marketing decision-making. Nick embraces “teaching as an opportunity to inspire and empower”. His philosophy of ‘transformative learning’ involves understanding the diversity of learning styles and student experiences key to student engagement and success.

For further information and to contact Nick Ashill please call Jude Urlich, Director Public Affairs, Victoria University of Wellington, (04) 463 5539 or (025) 915 086,

Dr Tim Bell
Senior Lecturer and Head of Department, Department of Computer Science, University of Canterbury

Tim Bell is not daunted by the challenge of teaching complex material. The “Computer Science Unplugged” project is an example of Tim’s innovative approach for developing novel teaching methods. He teaches ‘real’ computer science principles, through trying to avoid the distraction of technology and introducing provoking and usually humorous diversions. Tim has been previously recognised as a recipient of the 1995 Science Communicator Merit Award, and the 1999 Science Communicator Award. A student states, “What makes Tim rise above every teacher I have ever encountered are his personal values and qualities. He knows who he is and why he is teaching. Tim has a deep desire for his students to not only understand the material, but to love the learning of it as much as he loves the teaching”.

For further information and to contact Dr Tim Bell please call Deborah Parker, Communications Manager, University of Canterbury, (03) 364 2910 or (025) 417 280,

Dr Delwyn Clark
Associate Professor, Department of Strategic Management and Leadership, University of Waikato

Delwyn Clark has been instrumental in re-shaping, enhancing and extending the Strategic Management teaching programme at Waikato Management School. She drove a major curriculum review that led to the re-design of the content, teaching method and assessment for a third year core strategy paper that now focuses on integrative strategy case studies. Delwyn developed an innovative competition, the Waikato Management School Case Competition. The event showcases student skills while building links with companies and the community. Delwyn believes that “fundamental to the student’s engagement… is the enthusiasm, commitment, reputation and personality of the teacher/educator”.

For further information and to contact Dr Delwyn Clark please call Warwick Pitts, Public Relations and Marketing Office, University of Waikato, (07) 838 4067 or (025) 996 633,

Liz Fitchett
Food Safety Co-ordinator/Lecturer, Waiariki Institute of Technology

Liz Fitchett teaches food handlers and food safety trainers. She combines experiential learning styles and accelerated learning techniques to encourage active participation. Liz has worked closely with the food safety training industry and her programmes use teaching methods that involve opportunities for students to experience work. Liz believes that “the ability to listen and to hear others’ views is critical, and above all, the individual is to be valued and trusted”. A past student states that Liz “…is an exceptional teacher, and I believe is one of the lucky few to possess the ‘WOW factor’!”

For further information and to contact Liz Fitchett please call Angela Couper, Marketing Assistant, Waiariki Institute of Technology, (07) 346 8858 or (021) 731 689,

Jill Smith
Principal Lecturer, Auckland College of Education

Jill Smith is a successful teacher educator. She defines excellence as the best possible professional preparation of candidates for the secondary teaching profession. Excellence includes “…the ability to recognise and value the varying talents and character of students and assist them to develop their own effective learning and teaching strategies and styles”. Jill has been involved at a national level since the 1980s in the design of art/art history curriculum and assessment and the preparation of materials for teacher professional development. Jill’s students state that her “…pattern of self-evaluation is seen as essential and non-threatening and is adoptive as a methodology by her past and present trainees”.

For further information and to contact Jill Smith please call Sue Jury, Marketing Manager, Auckland College of Education, (09) 623 8860 or (025) 960 037, e-mail:

Tim Wilkinson
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Otago University

Tim Wilkinson teaches Health Care of the Elderly courses for fourth-year medical students. He believes that “…learning occurs best within a safe and supportive environment with clear expectations and good support”. Tim’s philosophy is to provide a flexible, rich and encouraging learning environment where teaching methods are designed to meet the needs of students and offer opportunities for interaction. Tim has successfully been involved in developing distance learning packages targeted for workers for elderly institutional care. A past student states “Tim inspired me with enthusiasm, professionalism and close attendance to the requirements of the students, both as a group and as individuals”.

For further information and to contact Assoc Prof Tim Wilkinson please call Jill Rutherford, Media Advisor, University of Otago, (03) 479 8263 or (027) 221 5676,

Dr Tony Wright
Senior Lecturer, Institute of Fundamental Sciences, Massey University

Tony Wright uses alternative approaches to introduce students to chemistry, “…making the mathematical concepts a challenging addendum to the course rather than an often impossible hurdle”. These approaches include online learning, flexible delivery for the student, and enhanced internal and extramural versions of the papers. Tony’s students believe “That every lecture delivered by him is energetic, stimulating and always relevant to his audience. He has a remarkable ability to find chemistry in day-to-day life”. Tony’s philosophy mixes both the traditional setting of the lecture and laboratory with new communication technologies, “…I believe the wise course is a steady integration of the new methods beside the old”. Tony has been the recipient of Massey’s Distinguished Teaching Award for first-year chemistry for each year since 1998.

For further information and to contact Dr Tony Wright please call Di Billing, Director of Public Affairs, Massey University, (06) 350 5095 or (025) 534 562,

Excellence Awards for Innovation

Nola Campbell, Merilyn Taylor, Bill Ussher and Russell Yates
School of Education, University of Waikato

Nola, Merilyn, Bill and Russell initiated and developed the Mixed Media Programme, which enable students to complete a Bachelor of Teaching (primary teaching). This innovative programme has provided “second chance” education for more than 350 students from a range of communities and has provided support for them to successfully complete their studies and practical work.

The development of study models for distance learning enabled students to be in a virtual classroom, the ‘Class Forum’. A past student states, “I marvel at the opportunity and self-esteem that I now have, because a group of people had a vision that has allowed so many people to train in their own communities”.

For further information and to contact Dr Delwyn Clark please call Warwick Pitts, Public Relations and Marketing Office, University of Waikato, (07) 838 4067 or (025) 996 633,

Oriel Kelly
Project Leader Learning Technology, Manukau Institute of Technology

Oriel Kelly investigated a series of platforms for Manukau Institute of Technology’s increasing need to integrate learning that suits the lifestyle and needs of mature, part-time learners. Oriel subsequently developed the use of Blackboard courseware (named eMIT), ranging from the “…static ‘on-line filing cabinet’ in support of face to face classes, through those using it to engender interaction and flexibility, to those making full use of the eMIT features available to support learners at a distance”. Oriel’s Manager states that she “…has transformed the learning and teaching experience for thousands of students and many staff at MIT”. There are presently 239 lecturers using eMIT and 3,700 students enrolled on the system with eMIT averaging 3,500 hits per day.

For further information and to contact Oriel Kelly please call Sally Woodfield, Public Relations Co-ordinator, Manukau Institute of Technology, (09) 968 8098 or (029) 968 8098,

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