Wednesday 19 December 2018 3:24pm
Professor Vernon Squire (left) and Associate Professor Clinton Golding (right) with Otago's National Teaching Excellence Award winners (centre from left) Associate Professor Sheila Skeaff, Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett, Dr Rebecca Bird, Faumuina Associate Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga on Monday. Photo: Sharron Bennett.
Four Otago teachers who received awards at this year’s National Teaching Excellence Awards earlier this year had their achievements recognised at a Clocktower event on Monday afternoon.
Faumuina Associate Professor Fa’afetai Sopoaga received the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award at the national Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards at the event at Parliament in September – the sixth Otago teacher in seven years to receive this award – while Professor Michelle Thompson-Fawcett received a Sustained Excellence award in the Kaupapa Māori category, and Dr Rebecca Bird and Associate Professor Sheila Skeaff both received Sustained Excellence awards in the General category.
"I said last year that I have a theory that excellent teaching is infectious, and Otago University is in the throes of a major public health epidemic. There is no cure but we have quarantined the outbreak to Otago University alone."
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Vernon Squire told the attendees at Monday’s event that each of the four winning teachers have a passion for teaching, and for doing the best for their students.
“I said last year that I have a theory that excellent teaching is infectious, and Otago University is in the throes of a major public health epidemic,” he said.
“There is no cure but we have quarantined the outbreak to Otago University alone. Fortunately, the prognosis for the four people who we applaud today is not calamitous … they are passionate about their teaching and they are brilliant at it.”
Professor Squire also took the opportunity to acknowledge the work of Associate Professor Clinton Golding (of HEDC) – an unsung who hero helps Otago teachers “finesse” their nomination portfolios.
“We know that all our award winners represent the pinnacle of teaching excellence.
“By finessing their nomination portfolios, Associate Professor Golding has helped ensure that others, but especially the judging panel at Ako Aotearoa, know that too.”