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Lecturers’ teaching excellence rewarded

Monday 29 February 2016 11:59am

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Three of Otago's four Teaching Excellence Award recipients at the Clocktower this afternoon (from left) Associate Professor Clinton Golding, Dr Judith Bateup and Professor Darryl Tong. Absent: Professor Diana Sarfati. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Four outstanding lecturers have been honoured in this year’s University of Otago Teaching Excellence Awards, presented at a ceremony at the Clocktower building this afternoon.

The recipients were Dr Judith Bateup of Microbiology and Immunology, Associate Professor Clinton Golding of HEDC, Professor Diana Sarfati of Wellington’s Department of Public Health and Professor Darryl Tong of Oral Diagnostics and Surgical Sciences.

Dr Bateup has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to the teaching of microbiology at the University and in the wider community; Associate Professor Golding for making a difference for students and staff from all departments, guiding them to useful “ah-ha moments” about teaching and research, using conversation not presentation; Professor Sarfati for designing innovative learning experiences which provide students with a toolbox of knowledge, skills and an approach to ongoing learning that leads to curiosity and confidence; and Professor Tong for cultivating clinical thinking and behaviours, enabling students to become ethical and compassionate health professionals.

Professor Sarfati was unable to attend today’s ceremony. The other three recipients were presented with their awards by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Vernon Squire. All four receive a certificate and $7500 to support their learning and teaching.

"To win this award, each has demonstrated that they are an inspiration to both their fellow colleagues, and their students."

Professor Squire warmly congratulated the recipients.

“To win this award, each has demonstrated that they are an inspiration to both their fellow colleagues, and their students. They personify the considerable value this University puts on teaching as well as research, and the Vice-Chancellor and I wholeheartedly endorse their selection.”

Dr Bateup says not only is it fantastic the University acknowledges teaching through the awards, but the application process “is very reflective and thought-provoking”, so would be a positive exercise for all University teachers to go through.

The award means she will have a budget to attend the American Society of Microbiology conference for undergraduate educators sometime in the future.

Associate Professor Clinton Golding says he has put a great deal of passion and energy into improving his teaching over 20 years.

“I always hoped I was doing some good things, but it’s nice to have this recognised by your peers.”

Professor Diana Sarfati echoed his sentiments, saying she “genuinely wants the students to learn and enjoy the process”.

Epidemiology is evolving so rapidly her work on new courses has involved collaborating with other epidemiology teachers around Australasia, which has been mutually beneficial.

Translating the latest developments for a teaching environment was also “energising and exciting”.

Professor Darryl Tong says he is humbled to receive the award when “there are a number of equally talented and dedicated teachers at the University who would be as deserving, if not more”.

He believes the awards not only highlight the importance of teaching and enabling learning at the University, but also reflect “the high quality of teaching across all disciplines and divisions”.

Professor Tong says he could not have won the award without encouragement from his students, past and present.