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Nation's top tertiary teaching award won by Otago Pharmacy academic

Outside the Information Services Building 

Wednesday 18 July 2012 12:23pm

Rhiannon Braund
Dr Rhiannon Braund and Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, the Hon Steven Joyce.

University of Otago School of Pharmacy Senior Lecturer Dr Rhiannon Braund’s dedication to both her learners and profession has led to her being named the 2012 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence.

The prestigious supreme award is the pinnacle of the 2012 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award ceremony held at Parliament last night. These Awards celebrate New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers — as recognised by their organisations, colleagues and learners alike.

Associate Professor Anthony Robins of Otago’s Department of Computer Science was also among the finalist teachers, who together shared a total of twelve awards. Anthony gained a Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching Award.

All recipients receive a cheque for $20,000, while Dr Braund, as the Prime Minister’s Supreme awardee, takes away an additional $10,000. She is second such University of Otago winner in recent years as Faculty of Law Senior Lecturer Selene Mize similarly scooped this top award in 2009.

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne says that she is delighted that Rhiannon and Anthony’s excellence as tertiary teachers has been recognised at these prestigious national awards.

“Each exemplifies the deep commitment to high-quality teaching that underpins the University’s national and international reputation as a leading educational institution. I warmly congratulate them both.

“Rhiannon’s winning of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award is the icing on the cake. This is well-deserved recognition for her outstanding ability as a world-class tertiary teacher. Her talent is of great benefit to her students here at Otago, the community and the pharmacy profession,” says Professor Hayne.

Dr Braund was selected as the supreme winner this year for her dedication to both her profession and her students. She believes that pharmacy is about people and that it is paramount in her role as teacher to equip students with the ability to translate their academic knowledge, so they can best serve patients.

Rhiannon plays an active role outside the classroom in the planning and design of pharmacy courses across New Zealand and Australia. At a community level, she volunteers in the New Zealand Police DARE program to teach primary children about safe handling of medications.

Rhiannon’s teaching models her convictions that there is no such thing as a stupid question and that every question deserves an honest answer. She translates complex ideas and makes them accessible. Her practice is innovative, her standards rigorous, and her encouragement of students and colleagues strongly attested.

The Awards Ceremony was jointly hosted by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Hon Steven Joyce, and Nikki Kaye MP, Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee. Ako Aotearoa – The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence is the administrator of the awards. The Centre aims to recognise and celebrate excellence in tertiary teaching and share good practice that has proven to benefit learners.

Dr Peter Coolbear, director of Ako Aotearoa, and member of the Awards Committee, commented “There were a record number of nominations this year and the general standard extraordinarily high. There is some fantastic work being done in our tertiary sector and each of these awardees is truly inspiring. Each has made an enormous contribution to the successes of their learners over many years. It is a great privilege to be part of the selection process.”

To find out more about the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, please visit:

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