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Unitec lecturer wins Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award

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Unitec Social Practice Senior Lecturer wins prestigious Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award

Unitec's Social Practice Senior Lecturer, Ksenija Napan was honoured last night at a ceremony in Wellington with a $20,000 Ako Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award.

Established by the government in 2001 to recognise and encourage excellence in tertiary teaching, the Ako awards provide an opportunity for teachers to further their careers and share good practice with others.

Unitec CEO, Dr Rick Ede says that this is the first time a Unitec lecturer has received an Ako award, and the first submission from the institute in nine years. "Over the past three years, Unitec has placed innovation in teaching and learning at the core of the organisational strategy and invested heavily in the development of its people. Ksenija's award is a sign that we are getting our mojo back."

"We are extremely proud of Ksenija's achievement, not only being publicly recognised with such a prestigious award, but of the undeniable dedication to her vocation and the inspiration she instils in all of her students. In the 13 years that Ksenija has taught at Unitec, she has become a highly valued member of our teaching team."

Ksenija actually found out that she had won about a month ago. "An e-mail was sent to me at work, and I felt like running and dancing across the corridor, but I had to keep quiet until it was formally announced. I was absolutely delighted, but trembling inside. Teaching is my vocation, and it is great to be acknowledged for something you love doing so much."

Ksenija says she feels privileged to be given a monetary award for improving education and will most likely spend it on improving the Academic Co-creative Inquiry, an innovative teaching learning method that she has been developing over years of teaching at Unitec. "I want to find ways of sharing it with other teachers who are interested in collaborative, engaging, personalised, 'whole people' learning, and I will probably travel a little to connect with other educators who may be on the same wavelength."

Unitec's Dean of Teaching and Learning, Linda Keesing-Styles, says she couldn't be happier that Ksenija has been duly recognised. "She is a highly reflective teacher, well respected by her students, colleagues and other peers. She has not only practised, but capably and deeply reflected on seriously considered and meaningful approaches to teaching. She has developed new ways of thinking about teaching and subsequently researched this with her students. One of her absolute talents is the way she engages, motivates and inspires students. She thoroughly deserved this award."

Head of Department, Social Practice, David McNabb says "Ksenija is a deeply committed educator and social practitioner who strives to offer a powerful learning experience for students as well as meeting social work professional goals of competent practice and the pursuit of social justice. She has been an active member of the Social Practice team for over a decade, contributing as a leader and developer of programmes, along with fulfilling her passion for teaching. I am so thrilled that she received this award."

Ends.

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