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Tertiary teaching awards

Nominations for the University of Otago Awards for Excellence in Teaching and the National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards

Applications are due mid-January for the University of Otago Awards for Excellence in Teaching, and to be a nominee for the Ako Aotearoa National Tertiary Teaching Excellence 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.

Nominees must have been a tertiary teacher in NZ for at least 6 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.

Nominees submit their CV, their teaching profile and a 2,000-word teaching statement by mid-January. Successful applicants will be notified in the second week of February 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). The national body awards up to 12 Ako Aotearoa National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards of $20,000 across the two categories. One of the 12 awardees will receive the Prime Minister’s Award with an additional $10,000. Applications to be a nominee for a National Award are due mid-January and at the same time as applying for an Otago Award.

Applicants, who have won an Otago Award previously or submitted unsuccessfully for a National Award and wish to be nominated for a National Award, should submit their previous Otago or National Award portfolio plus a one-page statement about what is new or further developed in their teaching since their last application that justifies their application or re-application for a National Award.

Successful applicants for nomination for a National Award will be notified in the second week of February and will need to prepare an 8,000-word portfolio within about five weeks ready to be submitted by mid-March.

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 usually close in mid-January, although the date may vary from year to year. Contact Associate Professor Ben Daniel – – if more information is required.

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 2021 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.
  6. Provide all the documents asked for in the award guidelines.