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Wanaka based snowsports lecturer awarded for excellence

Media release from Otago Polytechnic 8 August 2011

Wanaka based snowsports lecturer awarded for excellence

Senior lecturer Peter Bilous, who teaches Avalanche Safety and Snowsport Instruction at Otago Polytechnic Central Otago campus, has been awarded one of 10 prestigious Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching awards from Ako Aotearoa National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Otago Polytechnic Central Otago group manager Jean Tilleyshort says the award comes as no surprise to her.

"Pete is an amazing teacher. He is contagiously enthusiastic about his subject, his learners love his approach and attitude and he builds true, hands on competence," she said.

The Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards recognise tertiary teachers' committed and sustained contribution to their teaching and consistently high level of support for their learners. The Award cited Peter's international collaboration and redevelopment of the Stage 2 Avalanche Safety programme, part of the Diploma in Avalanche Studies, as one of the key accomplishments highlighted in his portfolio.

"Peter's redevelopment of the Diploma in Avalanche Studies has been positively received by stakeholders and learners alike. An industry leader says the programme is seen as 'a major driver in lifting standards and creating a positive learning environment industry-wide'. Learners love the fact that their classroom is for the most part on the side of a mountain and when it is not, Peter ensures that photos and video images maintain the learners' connection with the mountain environment."

Ms Tilleyshort said the Avalanche and Snowsport programmes were fully subscribed each year and were widely considered as excellent preparation for careers in the snowsport industry.

"At the polytechnic, we work with industry to make sure our courses offer exactly what is required for roles and positions that will later be available to our learners. Pete's courses are well known for ensuring people are well equipped for the roles available in the snow sports industry."

Mr Bilous describes his involvement in teaching as a constant work in progress.

"In this work you have to keep on learning; stay at the leading edge of what's happening and then pass that on to learners. It's a great job; I love teaching people to work and play in the mountains as safely as possible. The real reward is seeing others enjoy the environment as much as I do and what they then go on to accomplish within the industry, and beyond."

Academic Leader at the Otago Polytechnic Dunedin School of Art, Professor Leoni Schmidt was similarly awarded for exemplary teaching. This has been the fifth year running that Otago Polytechnic staff members have been recognized with the Tertiary Teaching Excellence award.


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