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University of Otago Teaching Excellence Awards reward inspiring lecturers

Wednesday 26 June 2013 3:46pm

The 2013 winners of the University's Teaching Excellence Awards, from left, Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith (Graduate Research School), Associate Professor Gordon Sanderson (Dunedin School of Medicine), and Dr Moyra Sweetnam Evans (Department of English and Linguistics). Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Associate Professor Gordon Sanderson, of the Dunedin School of Medicine's Department of Medicine, is one of three University of Otago lecturers who have received Teaching Excellence Awards this year.

Associate Professor Sanderson has taught ophthalmology within the Dunedin School of Medicine since his arrival from England in 1972.

"I still enjoy teaching at the ripe old age of 67," he says. "I still get a buzz out of the students. You get that lovely glow of understanding, that vibration when a group catches on at the same time."

Associate Professor Sanderson's aim as a teacher is straightforward: "When I teach I am looking at future doctors. I aim to ensure that the ones who aren’t going to be ophthalmology specialists are going to be safe and know what they are looking at. There are over 250 systemic diseases you can diagnose by looking at someone's eyes—diabetes, hypertension, thyroid issues... In just a few hours each year I need to teach them to make the correct diagnoses and do the right thing."

Dunedin School of Medicine Dean Dr John Adams, says, "Associate Professor Sanderson has made a huge contribution and commitment to generations of both undergraduate and postgraduate students. He is one of the most innovative teachers in the School. He is always willing to help and will take any opportunity to develop the capacity to teach, be it creating direct opportunities for clinical teaching of students, setting up material in the Skills Lab, or using the huge untapped potential of the electronic age."