2017 Teaching Awards - Academic Services Group - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

2017 Teaching Awards 

Professor Philippa Martin, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Nominated by Professor Jan Evans-Freeman, PVC Engineering

Philippa is described by her students as infectiously enthusiastic, and by her colleagues as deeply committed to teaching and achieving the best experience for her students. She is an innovative and creative teacher who lives up to her belief that learning and teaching should be: “fun, positive, encouraging and delivered with enthusiasm.”

Philippa has shown the way for several of her colleagues, particularly in online methods of teaching. She developed short videos which work through difficult concepts and she uses a wide variety of other tools to increase student participation in their learning including Kahoot for in-class quizzes, Padlet, to encourage anonymous collaboration and feedback and tutorials and laboratory sessions to apply knowledge and relate it to real world technologies and research.

Philippa is leader of the communications research group and has supervised 28 research students since 2014.  She is a course coordinator who diligently tracks student performance and provides excellent pastoral care.  She shows consistent commitment to engineering education through mentoring and supporting new colleagues, leading curriculum reviews and to pedagogy through her completion of the Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching and Tanagata Tū, Tangata ora course and her current enrolment on an MBA course on Leading Others.

Dr Pieter Pelser, Biological Sciences

Nominated by Professor Matthew Turnbull, Professor Jack Heinemann, Biological Sciences

Pieter believes that “teaching is most effective when learning takes place in an environment in which students feel supported and receive the personal attention and encouragement that they need to excel.”
His nominators confirm: “Pieter has developed ways of instilling in students a higher personal commitment to engagement, not through cajoling or pressure, but through targeted feedback that results in improved learning outcomes. He brings a warm and personal approach to students, starting by getting to know each student by name.”    One of his students says: “Pieter is one of the best teachers I have had. He genuinely cares about students learning, the way he answers questions shows that he doesn’t just want me to do well in assessments, but to actually understand the concepts he is teaching.”  

Pieter has worked with Student Care and the Māori Development Team to organise four extra-curricular Positive Learning Workshops targeted to meet the needs of ‘at risk’ students.  He is currently working on ‘5-minute Secrets to Success’ in his first year lectures to improve student well-being, academic skills and the transition from high school to university. He has also shown a strong commitment to course design and in particular to incorporating the UC graduate profile attributes. 

Dr Jenny Clarke, Sport and Physical Education

Nominated by Professor Richard Light, Director of Sport Development

As her Head of School states, “Jenny said in her application for this award that she ‘loves teaching’ and it shows. She ranks as one of the best teachers in the School of Health Sciences and has maintained outstanding teaching evaluations. This is an extraordinary accomplishment considering her areas of teaching have ranged from experimental physics to sport sciences. To me, this speaks volumes of her abilities as an educator and makes her application even more exceptional.”

Jenny works tirelessly towards her goal which she says is to support students reach their full potential, to leave UC confident, articulate, enthusiastic and positive, ready to make a difference in the world. She provides a supportive learning environment whether she is teaching large first year lectures, supervising research students, delivering tutorials to small groups of local secondary school STAR students or using Adobe Connect and Skype to teach distance learners. She has developed extensive teaching resources including on-line quizzes, video tutorials and weekly worksheets. She uses her skills and knowledge as a multiple world champion in croquet to inform her athlete-centred approaches to teaching coaching. She operates an open door policy for students, who come to her for help with course planning and share their needs and concerns. 


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