UC scientist named one of NZ's top tertiary teachers

04 August 2011

University of Canterbury freshwater ecologist Associate Professor Jon Harding has been recognised as one of New Zealand's top tertiary teachers.

UC scientist named one of NZ's top tertiary teachers  - Imported from Legacy News system

Associate Professor Jon Harding.

University of Canterbury freshwater ecologist Associate Professor Jon Harding has been recognised as one of New Zealand’s top tertiary teachers.

Professor Harding (Biological Sciences) was one of 12 teachers awarded a national Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching Award during a ceremony held at Parliament last night.

The awards, administered by Ako Aotearoa  – New Zealand's National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence – recognise and encourage excellence in tertiary teaching. The award includes $20,000 in prize money to be used for career development and to promote best practice.  

Professor Harding, a recipient of a University of Canterbury Teaching Award in 2004, has taught at UC for 10 years.  He holds a BSc, MSc (Hons) and PhD from the University of Canterbury.

Professor Harding said he was surprised at news of the award.

“I read the briefs on some of the previous recipients and was fantastically impressed by their quality. So I'm humbled to be in their company.” 

He said he hadn’t given the prize money any thought but would probably use it to visit some other universities to find out about different teaching strategies, particularly e-learning initiatives.

Professor Harding’s citation for the award noted his “infectious enthusiasm for the natural environment rubs off on his learners”.

“A freshwater ecologist, he shares his sense of wonder about the beauty and complexity of natural ecosystems and the urgent need to protect them in a polluted world. A strong believer that science is learned by doing science, he takes all his learners into the field, literally getting his feet wet as they study biology in the wild.”

One of Professor Harding’s students noted his ability “to capture the classes’ attention and promote discussion so easily you forget you are in a lecture”.  Another student commented that Professor Harding was “the standout lecturer throughout my undergraduate degree”.

“His engaging teaching style, which couples intriguing anecdotes with theoretical concepts, makes lectures exciting and the key messages clear and easy to recall.”

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Town said he was delighted that Professor Harding had been recognised with the award as he had “for a long time been regarded by his peers as an outstanding teacher".

“On behalf of the whole University community and especially our students Jon deserves our thanks and warmest congratulations.” 

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