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Dr John Guthrie wins 2017 OUSA teaching awards

Thursday, 14 September 2017 1:13pm

2017-ousa-teaching-awards-image
The University's Premier Lecturer - as voted by students - John Guthrie of Marketing with the other winners at the OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Marketing Senior Lecturer Dr John Guthrie says he was “blown away” to win this year’s Premier Lecturer award at the OUSA Teaching Excellence Awards held at the OUSA Aquatic Centre last night.

Dr Guthrie, who teaches in the areas of retailing, marketing strategy, and sports marketing was named the University’s Premier Lecturer.

Other winners included Dr David McMorran (of Chemistry) who won the Summer School Excellence in Teaching Award and Dr Gill Rutherford and Dr Gareth Treharne (of the College of Education and Psychology respectively) who were co-winners of the Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching Award. Divisional winners were: Commerce – Premier Lecturer Nicola Beatson (Accountancy and Finance), Top Tutor Dr David Bishop (Marketing); Humanities – Premiere Lecturer Professor Mark Henaghan (Faculty of Law), Top Tutor Dr Steven Sexton (College of Education); Health Sciences – Premier Lecturer Dr Shyamal Das (Pharmacy), Top Tutor Paul Pearce (Dentistry); and Sciences – Premier Lecturer Dr Rachel Zajac (Psychology), Top Tutor Dr Brad Hurren (Anatomy).

"I was sitting there enjoying my Heineken, and was stunned when my name was called."

Dr Guthrie says it was a particular surprise to receive the Premier award, as he expected it would go to one of the winners from the other categories – and he wasn’t a category winner.

“I was sitting there enjoying my Heineken, and was stunned when my name was called,” he laughs.

Awards organiser OUSA’s Student Support Manager Sage Burke says the awards are an opportunity both to acknowledge, on behalf of the students of Otago, the contribution that lecturers make to their academic endeavours and future careers, and to encourage best practice in teaching.

“Each year we seek feedback from the students of the University of Otago to determine who in our academic community represents the very best teachers in their field. This year we made a change to the system so that teachers across a spread of academic disciplines were considered and recognised, to aid in celebrating our academic staff right across the entire University,” he explains.

“This was to recognise the differences in class size that can occur between subjects and the fact that many students take papers from different divisions if they are completing a double major or double degree.”

There was a record number of nominations this year – and also a huge leap in the number of students voting.

"This year we made a change to the system so that teachers across a spread of academic disciplines are considered and recognised, to aid in celebrating our academic staff right across the entire University."

“One possibility is that this year advertising material was sent to each department and we asked them to make sure their students were aware of the awards and that voting had opened. Hopefully our advertising scope was wider this year and we will be looking at ways to increase this again next year.”

Dr Guthrie has been a finalist in the awards in the past, and also spent many years leading the University’s winning Business Case teams.

He loves the “buzz” he gets when a student he teaches “gets something”. He also loves helping students get a job.

His students say he is a phenomenal and passionate teacher.

One voter said: “The guy just lives and breathes marketing and is really keen to get all of us students involved. He is always happy to help and goes above and beyond to ensure that we have a great deal of understanding, and all the help we could ever ask for too. He even went as far this year to ensure we had all received news of the mumps virus going around Auckland.”

Another said: “He sat with me for over an hour prior to an exam and made sure that I understood the material. Coming from a large school in Canada, I find that it's often hard to create meaningful connections with teachers, but my exchange at Otago was such a positive experience largely due to John and his teaching.”

The awards ceremony included a performance by the choral scholars of Knox College, and addresses by OUSA President Hugh Baird and Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne.