Inspired by his kaumātua (elders) Dr Jason Mika has spent the last eight years dedicated to sharing knowledge with his students and has been awarded the annual Richard Buchanan Teaching Excellence award.
Senior Lecturer from the School of Management and Director of Te Au Rangahau, Dr Mika has been recognised for his commitment and quality of teaching in this year’s selection.
Dr Mika says this award means a great deal to him but also to his whānau whom he hopes will be inspired to study, teach and give it their best: “It’s humbling for me and my whānau to receive this award and I hope to continue to make a difference for students that I am fortunate enough to teach in the future.”
The judges said they were particularly impressed with the “depth, richness, authenticity and humour of Dr Mika’s application.”
The award which honours the late Professor Buchanan, encourages teaching staff to raise their profile and strive for teaching excellence.
Dr Mika says he is proud to carry the award bearing the name of such an esteemed professor.
“People have shared with me a little of what kind of fellow he was, and upon learning about him, it makes me even more proud to have received the award that honours his name, his whānau and his work here at Massey.”
Interacting with students and seeing how they respond to material, teaching methods and each other during class is the best part of his job according to Dr Mika. He is known by students for his friendly and approachable nature and thorough explanations as well as his extensive knowledge and passion for Māori culture.
“My kaumātua have taught me much about living, life and I want to share knowledge in ways that students find useful, relevant and uplifting, no matter what subject it is.”
However, teaching excellence hasn’t been without its hiccups, from issues with his first online lecture to “freaking out” in front of a lecture of 250 first-years.
Dr Mika said he is appreciative of the support he has had from teachers and administrators at Massey over the years.
“Massey University has been a great support to me and my whānau, it’s a privilege to be here doing what I do and I take nothing for granted. It’s humbling for me and my whānau to receive this award.”