UC honours its outstanding teachers

15 July 2011

Teaching excellence at the University of Canterbury has been recognised with the awarding of six University Teaching Awards.

UC honours its outstanding teachers - Imported from Legacy News system

UC Teaching Award recipients (from left) Associate Professor Charles Fleischmann, Dr Tammy Steeves, Dr Michael Hayes, Stephen Agnew, Irene David and Dr Herb de Vries.

Teaching excellence at the University of Canterbury has been recognised with the awarding of six University Teaching Awards.

The awards were presented to staff at a special function held in NZi3 last night (14 July) in acknowledgement of outstanding teaching achievements. The recipients were: Stephen Agnew (Economics and Finance); Irene David (Mathematics and Statistics); Dr Herb de Vries (Management); Associate Professor Charles Fleischmann (Civil and Natural Resources Engineering); Dr Tammy Steeves (Biological Sciences); and Dr Michael Hayes (Electrical and Computer Engineering).

University of Canterbury’s Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Town said the role of teaching at UC was “integral to the joint enterprise between teaching staff and students”.

“UC has a well-deserved reputation for excellence in teaching and the UC Teaching Awards seek to ensure that the University of Canterbury’s fine tradition of excellence in teaching continues and that it is recognised.”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to share the University’s sense of pride in its outstanding teachers with a wider audience at the UC Teaching Awards event and congratulate the winners for 2010.”

Mr Agnew’s philosophy of teaching was shaped by 11 years of teaching economics in the secondary school system and his citation said he had built on this while at UC by “tirelessly championing the academic achievement and transition into tertiary education of secondary school students” by running weekend workshops throughout the country and teaching a STAR (Secondary Tertiary Alignment Resource) distance programme.

Mr Agnew’s passion for teaching has earned him nominations for the UCSA Lecturer of the Year Award each year since his appointment in 2005.

Ms David’s citation said her colleagues described her as “an inspiring leader with boundless energy, enthusiasm and passion for her subject”.

“Her approach focuses on making statistics fun and relevant, using real-world examples at every opportunity. She is known as a teacher who builds a rapport with students and who fosters a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.

“One of Irene’s strengths as a teacher is her willingness to embrace new ideas and new technologies that will meet the learning needs of students.”

Dr de Vries’ citation said he was known for his passion for his subject, his energetic delivery and engagement with his students.

“He describes himself as someone who ‘lives and breathes teaching’, who wakes up in the middle of the night to write down ideas for a better lecture delivery. He constantly looks for ways to improve his teaching through research, peer review, teaching evaluations and self-reflection, and by using the latest technology available.”

Professor Fleischmann’s nomination for the award said he “places a very high priority on his teaching and he is actively engaged in improving his teaching, reflecting on his current approaches, talking with others about new ideas and seeking funding to support his efforts for improvement”.

“He believes that teaching is not simply about performing in the lecture theatre — it is about providing a multifaceted experience that will reach as many students as possible and he adapts his teaching style to support his students’ needs.”

Dr Steeves was described by her colleagues as a role model to both new and established teachers in biological sciences, and as someone “who shines as a teacher”.

“In the five years she has taught at the University she has become an integral part of the teaching team in her school. She has developed innovative and dynamic teaching strategies, and students describe her teaching style as approachable, collaborative and inclusive,” her citation said.

“She is happy to be known as a teacher who takes the time to stop and explain.”

For Dr Hayes, teaching engineering was about much more than just giving lectures — he believed that students benefited most from seeing how to go about solving a problem.

“He sets the students problems, then during lectures, labs and tutorials, he introduces concepts that help them solve their problems in a staged manner and tries to relate difficult material to things students know or can envisage,” his citation said.

“As a teacher Michael has also demonstrated excellence in his use of a variety of contemporary teaching tools.”


For more information please contact:
Jacquie Walters
Public Relations Consultant
University of Canterbury
Ph 027 5030168

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