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Otago’s stand-out postgraduate supervisors rewarded

Student smiling at camera

Monday 29 August 2011 8:23am

Tara Duncan
2011 OUSA Supervisor of the Year
Dr Tara Duncan of the Department of Tourism

Outstanding postgraduate supervisors were recognised on Friday evening at an event run jointly by the University of Otago and the Otago University Students’ Association.

Fourteen academic staff from across the University of Otago were shortlisted for the annual OUSA Supervisor of the Year Awards this year from a total of 101 nominations.

The overall winner of the 2011 OUSA Supervisor of the Year award is Dr Tara Duncan, from the Department of Tourism.

Winner of the 2011 OUSA New Supervisor of the Year award is Dr Karen Bronéus from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.

The annual awards recognise the contribution made by supervisors to the success of students researching and writing doctoral, Masters and postgraduate diploma theses and dissertations.

The Director of Graduate Research Services, Dr Charles Tustin, says that “Supervisors play a major role in assisting these students in many aspects of their work, and have a significant impact on both the overall experience of research students at the University and Otago’s research output.

In the case of doctoral candidates, students and supervisors work together for several years. Award winner Dr Duncan believes successful supervisors require several important skill sets to help see them through this time.

“It’s important to understand the student’s situation, viewpoint and their quandaries; have an interest in their subject and in them, both now and their futures; and communicate well, whether this be about how long feedback is going to take or about how the student-supervisor relationship is going.

She adds that it’s also important to “support them through the process, through times when the personal may interfere with the PhD, and respect their decisions about their research whilst also trying to guide them to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

A student committee considered all 101 nominations and selected the winners which, for the first time, include divisional winners. These are:

  • Supervisor of the Year: Dr Tara Duncan, Department of Tourism
  • New Supervisor of the Year: Dr Karen Brounéus, National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
  • Dr Kirsten Robertson, Department of Marketing (Commerce Supervisor of the Year)
  • Associate Professor Holger Regenbrecht, Department of Information Science
  • Associate Professor Peter Whigham, Department of Information Science
  • Dr Greg Anderson, Department of Anatomy (Health Sciences Supervisor of the Year)
  • Dr John Ashton, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
  • Professor Jules Kieser, School of Dentistry
  • Dr Greg Rawlings, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology (Humanities Supervisor of the Year)
  • Dr Catherine Fowler, Department of Media, Film and Communication
  • Professor Bill Harris, Department of Politics
  • Dr Christoph Matthaei, Department of Zoology (Sciences Supervisor of the Year)
  • Dr David Burritt, Department of Botany
  • Associate Professor Gerry Closs, Department of Zoology

For further information, contact

Dr Charles Tustin, Director
Graduate Research Services
University of Otago
Tel 64 3 479 5655

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