‘Delightful’ and ‘ridiculously captivating’ - Arts lecturers take a bow

29 September 2020

The students have voted. College of Arts lecturers received high praise in the annual UC Staff of the Year Awards, held last Friday 25 September, for their “obsession” for their subject areas, and “ridiculously captivating” ways of conveying information.

  • Nancy Chu receiving award

Chinese language lecturer, Nancy Chu took the College of Arts top lecturer prize. A nominator said: “Nancy Chu has a great teaching style with her warm, bubbly personality, and includes a variety of activities that capture students’ attention. She is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure students have a strong understanding of the syllabus.”

Nancy was delighted with her prize. “I feel extremely honoured and thankful to my wonderful students for the nomination, and to win was a really special moment for me. I am also incredibly grateful to my colleagues in the department of Global Culture and Language Studies for their kindness and support over the last few years.”

Supervisor of the Year was College of Arts Associate Professor Michael Grimshaw, who “is super supportive and always willing to go to bat for his students”, according to a nominator.

UC Arts students did not hold back when given the opportunity to create their own awards and shine a light on their lecturers’ passion for their subjects.

Art History and Theory lecturer Associate Professor Richard Bullen received the “Endearingly Obsessed with Their Area of Expertise” student-created award with this high praise: “For lack of a better word, Richard is an absolute Art History nerd. But it was refreshing, endearing and ridiculously captivating. There’s this exuberant way which he talks about art and something as crummy and dusty as art theory. Somehow, how deeply passionate about the subject he was managed to resonate through the class. This was positively delightful. He deserves recognition for how much time and pride he commits to his craft as a lecturer and academic.”

Music composition lecturer Hamish Oliver also earned a student-created award with special praise for his teaching strategies on Zoom. The award “Top Dog of Tangents” was given because: “In lectures, so much of the time was spent on tangents (that were related to, and enhanced, the knowledge that we were learning). These tangents were always entertaining and informative, especially via zoom. There was the time when Hamish ran back and forth across the room (while we were on zoom) to demonstrate bit depth and sample rate. They were enjoyable, that’s for sure.”

Lecturer of the Year Supreme Award winner was Associate Professor Sid Becker from Engineering.

Non-academic staff also stepped up to take a bow for their contribution to ensuring students thrived at UC. UCSA Executive Special Awards went to Steve Gibling, Director of Wellness Services whose “passion for the association and for students has been instrumental to so many things we have achieved.”, Riki Welsh, Team Leader in the Pacific Development Team, “the reason that so many Pasifika students are still enrolled today” and Anne Scott, University Librarian, “for the unbelievable amount of mahi to get the library open and keeping it safe for all students over the COVID-19 period in particular”. Administrator of the Year was Heather Couch for her quick responses and consistent helpfulness.

Read all the nominations and award winners here.