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Top teacher helps students reach their ‘eureka’ moment

Imagine you are a first year tertiary student enrolled in a stage one paper, heading into a lecture theatre with over 500 hundred other people.

The paper is Business Systems, a compulsory course that all undergraduate students in the Business School at the University of Auckland must pass.

More than 1000 students take the paper each semester, but you are dreading it because the subject matter is technical and often difficult. Add English as a second language to your profile and being the first one in your family to attend university and the challenges ahead can seem daunting. So how do you get to your eureka moment? Having the best teacher helps.

Enter Professional Teaching Fellow (PTF) Andrew Eberhard who teaches at the University of Auckland, and is the recipient of a 2019 Ako Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award.

Hailed as one of the University’s most engaging and innovative teachers, Andrew has taught Business Systems to more than 20,000 students over the last decade. During this time, he developed new ways to motivate students to learn, taking advantage of technology to improve engagement and assessment practices. Andrew strongly believes in engaging students by showing them that the material they study in class impacts them in the real world.

Each year up to ten of the country’s top teachers are celebrated at the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, hosted by the Minister of Education. Andrew received his award, worth $20,000, in the General Sustained Excellence category.

Andrew credits his success to his many colleagues who have mentored, inspired and helped him to become the teacher he is today.

His influence also extends well beyond his own classrooms. Now the Director of the Business Masters at the Graduate School of Management, Andrew leads and inspires other outstanding teachers.

"Our students are brilliant, enthusiastic and hardworking and we owe it to them to do the best we can as well.”

Andrew was one of the first PTFs in the University and has been a champion for teaching and learning, serving on many teaching and learning related projects and committees. He advocates for continual professional development and spends considerable time coaching and helping to develop junior colleagues.

“My real reward is seeing my students succeed. Just last week I got an email from a former student telling me how she had entered a data visualisation competition in the US and won - using the tools and techniques that I taught her. That’s what gives me joy – seeing our students succeed beyond the University.”

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