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Tertiary teaching awards

Nominations for the University of Otago Awards for Excellence in Teaching and the National Te Whatu Kairangi Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards

Applications for individuals or teaching teams are due by 5pm, Tuesday 7 February 2023 for the University of Otago Awards for Excellence in Teaching, and to be a nominee for the Ako Aotearoa National Te Whatu Kairangi Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards.

Applicants who do not have an Otago Award can apply for an Otago Award, and they can also apply to be a nominee for the National Awards. Recent winners of Otago Awards who have not received a National Award can apply to be a nominee for the National Awards.

Applications will be accepted from individuals or teaching teams engaged in any tertiary teaching (distance, clinical, lecturing, tutoring, etc.). Please note that “teachers” includes educators broadly. “Teachers” includes any academic or professional staff who regularly support students with their learning and who may have other titles such as Teaching Fellow, Professional Practice Fellow, trainers, learning support staff, or mentors.

Nominees must have been a tertiary teacher in New Zealand for at least 4 years. The University provides peer-support for nominees writing an application for the National Awards.

Otago awards

The University of Otago offers three Teaching Excellence Awards in the General Award category, and one in the Kaupapa Māori Award category. In both categories an award may be given with an endorsement in Distance Teaching, Supporting Pacific Learners or Teaching with Technology.

Nominees submit their CV, their teaching profile and a teaching statement of no more than 2,000 words (or audio/visual presentation) by the early February closing date. Successful applicants will be notified in the second week of March and will receive a certificate and $5,000 to support their learning and teaching.

National awards

All tertiary education organisations are able to nominate up to four teaching staff for awards (no more than three of which may be in the general category). Ako Aotearoa awards up to nine Te Whatu Kairangi Aotearoa Tertiary Educator Awards of $20,000 across the two categories. One of the nine awardees will receive the Prime Minister’s Award with an additional $10,000. Applications to be a nominee for a National Award are due early February at the same time as applying for an Otago Award.

Applicants who have submitted unsuccessfully for a National Award, and wish to be nominated again for a National Award, should submit their previous National Award portfolio plus a one-page statement that justifies their re-application for a National Award. They should also supply whatever feedback they received from Ako Aotearoa (if any). In the one-page statement they should write about how they will improve their portfolio, including how they will write it in a more convincing manner and/or what is new or further developed in their teaching since their last application for a National Award. If an application is selected for re-submission for a National Award, it will be considered for the 2024 or 2025 round. Applicants can only apply twice for a National Award (unless there are exceptional circumstances).

Successful applicants for an Otago Award will be notified by the second week of March. If they are also selected to submit for the National awards in the same year, they will need to prepare the equivalent of a 4,500-word portfolio (which might include audio/visual material), to be submitted by June to Ako Aotearoa. The University provides peer-support for nominees preparing a portfolio for the National Awards.

Application process

University of Otago teachers who are interested in applying should download the application guidelines for the Otago Teaching Awards below.

Applications for nomination by the University of Otago close at 5pm, Tuesday 7 February 2023.

If you have questions about the application process or want guidance for writing an application, please contact Professor Ben Daniel or Professor Clinton Golding from HEDC.



Please download and read the award guidelines document below, which explains the process of applying, the criteria, and where to send your application.

Guidelines for the 2023 awards (PDF)

Previous Teaching Award winners (PDF)

Advice for writing an application for an Otago Teaching Excellence Award

  1. Writing an application takes time, planning and support so start preparing well in advance of the year you will apply.
  2. Talk to a winner about how to apply and how much time to set aside for writing your application (see the list of winners on the teaching awards website).
  3. Ask if you can read the application from a past winner (though note the criteria for the award may have changed). Pay attention to the tone and language used, as a teaching award application is different from other academic writing.
  4. For your application you need examples that show what you do and how you do it. Keep a list outlining the key things you do in your teaching, why you do this and how this leads to excellent student learning.
  5. Read “Using evidence in your self-evaluation of teaching statement” which is a section in the Guide to the Otago Teaching Profile. This explains how you might use evidence to back up your claims to excellent teaching.
    A Guide to the Otago Teaching Profile (PDF)
  6. Provide all the documents asked for in the award guidelines.