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Otago University Students Association Teaching Awards

Monday 26 September 2016 11:19am

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Dr Annika Bokor and Mr Tony Zaharic. Photos: Trevor Cokley.

The Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) Teaching Awards were presented on Wednesday evening last week.

From a pool of almost 370 nominations – the most ever received for the annual awards – Dr Annika Bokor emerged as the evening’s big winner, taking home the Top Teacher award.

Each year, the OUSA invites students to nominate the teachers they believe are particularly engaging and inspiring.

Dr Bokor, a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry, teaches across several papers including CELS191 and BIOC192, and has been with the University since 2010.

She says she was very surprised and happy to have her hard work appreciated and acknowledged by the award.

For Dr Bokor the most rewarding aspects of teaching are twofold: “First, is to be able to get students excited about a topic they haven’t heard about before or struggle with and second, to see and share the students’ joy when they finally ‘click’ after working hard on understanding something.”

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OUSA President Laura Harris presents Dr Brad Hurren with one of two awards he took home at the annual OUSA Teaching Awards.

She attributes her win to her creative and student-focused approach. Whether it’s using everyday items like LEGO, eggs, yarn or hand-made paper animations to illustrate complicated processes and concepts, or using a “silly” analogy to help keep students engaged and improve their understanding, Dr Bokor says she feels it is her responsibility “to teach in a way that the students can learn”.

OUSA Student Support Manager Philippa Keaney says there was a strong focus on maximising student participation and recognising as many great teachers as possible with this year’s awards.

This, she says, was reflected in the “long list” of the 50 lecturers who received a significant proportion of the votes and some “truly amazing” feedback from students.

“The great efforts by these lecturers, tutors and demonstrators has resulted in a record breaking 369 nominations for the Best Lecturer category alone from a diverse range of faculties and departments,” she says.

OUSA Teaching Awards category winners:

Top Teacher 2016:
Dr Annika Bokor (Biochemistry)

Runner up Top Teacher 2016:
Dr Matt Bevin (Physiology)

Top Five Teacher 2016:
Marcelo Rodriguez Ferrere (Law)

Top Five Teacher 2016:
Dr Brad Hurren (Anatomy)

Top Five Teacher 2016:
Dr Shyamal Das (Pharmacy)

Top Tutor/Lab Demonstrator 2016:
Dr Brad Hurren (Anatomy)

Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching Award:
Mr Tony Zaharic (Biochemistry)