2014 Teaching Awards

Vice-Chancellor's Teaching Awards - 2014

Citation for Sustained Commitment to Teaching Excellence

Dr Terry Macpherson

Terry MacPherson’s portfolio demonstrates his enthusiasm for teaching and commitment to student learning, to ongoing improvement and to the use of new technologies to engage students in multiple ways. Terry facilitates the large first year marketing paper for internal and distance students, multiple times annually. His goal is to harness the experiences, knowledge and insights students bring with them and to university to build on them by providing opportunities to grow these attributes. 

To help ‘reach’ students Terry has developed weekly pre and post tests. Many students commented, “…the pre and post tests are great to see where I am at,” and they “…helped me to focus my learning…”.  Terry encourages students to engage with technology solutions to guide them through their learning prior to attending lectures, thus leaving the classroom free for linking concepts to examples in the field, for engaging with industry experts, and for discussing issues raised by students.

Terry makes extensive use of Stream to support students, and believes that the most important aspect to teaching students, particularly those at distance, is ‘presence’; that is, being online to answer questions, to provide encouragement, and to affirm and expand forum discussions. Many students echoed, “…his real life examples and input on Stream and the structure just made learning so easy.” “Overall he is a great lecturer.”

Terry is known for being at the forefront of teaching with technology (“I love that this course has a twitter!! So cool!!” one student tweeted), and for his willingness to share his practice with the Massey community.

Helen Simmons

Helen Simmons sees teaching as a shared adventure. It is a challenging and exciting journey for her students and herself as she engages students with developing the shared skills and attributes for social work practice.  It is with this in mind that Helen creates a transformative and collegial learning environment. A ‘buddy’ system between internal and distance students enables all students to feel safe and able to confront issues that many clients will present to them in the workplace.

Student engagement with the Treaty of Waitangi and what it means for social work practice is a significant learning area for students. At the noho marae students engage in exercises that are both challenging and affirming.  Student feedback indicates, “…these activities enabled me to further explore myself and learn about others,” it “was confronting but also freeing.”  This analysis process for working in a bi-cultural context developed by Helen and colleague is recognised internationally.

Students are encouraged to give of themselves as Helen does wholeheartedly. She is passionate about helping others realise their dreams by using multiple teaching and learning tools. Helen is seen as a leader and mentor; for newly graduated students embarking on their first job, for new colleagues, for social workers in the field; by providing supervision, to initiating community projects and facilitating Project Waitangi community development.

A senior colleague comments, “Helen Simmons is an outstanding teacher …. She has extensive discipline knowledge, is able to share this with students … [and] has an energising presence” … that carries students along.

Paul Stock

Caring and supporting students is at the heart of Paul Stock’s teaching. Paul works .5 in Plant Biology and .5 in the Massey Chaplaincy and sees both these roles as important to his holistic approach to teaching and in advancing learning outcomes for students.  

Paul goes out of his way to engage all students, building models at home to help them visualise complex plant anatomy, and by helping students to explore and build knowledge in a learning community.  He focuses on instilling enjoyment and curiosity in learning through inquiry, by careful questioning and inviting students to make connections between the knowledge gained in lectures to experiments undertaken in the laboratory.

Paul is regarded by his colleagues not just an excellent teacher but as “outstanding”. They say, “He has a gift for communication… can effortlessly step into [students] shoes and see what they need…” while student feedback stresses Paul’s willingness to go the extra mile and show “ he cares about our learning”.

Significantly Paul coordinates and teaches the professional development of postgraduate student demonstrators and supervisors for laboratory teaching. His approach leads staff and students through a process of questioning with modelling laboratory inquiry.  In addition, his work around the experience of international students studying at Massey has furthered the understanding of the support needed for this group of students.

Dr Leonel Alvarado, Dr Celina Bortolotto, Raquel Direnzo, Francisco Gonzalez, Cynthia Landa (Spanish Language Programme)

The Spanish Team bring a strong, caring collegiality to their teaching. Teamwork, passion and commitment has enabled the design and facilitation of a coherent programme ensuring all papers are interrelated whether they be Spanish language or culture and society papers. “…using stories about history and music [to] incorporate new grammar being taught,” elsewhere was echoed in student feedback.

The Spanish Team, in the School of Humanities, believe in the importance of contextualising the content across the Programme to ensure it meets the goals and interests of their students, be they internal or distance students, whether they be in New Zealand or Australia in delivering their Programme through the University of New England. Contextualising has meant moving away from northern hemisphere focused textbooks and resources to developing a raft of resources incorporating New Zealand, Australian and Latin American reference points.

Using rich digital media the Spanish team are at the forefront of language teaching with ‘communicative learning with constant feedback’; developing targeted videos and audio files for language practise, synchronous online tutorials with peer and staff feedback,  and weekly quizzes. As students said, “excellently prepared … great use of multimedia resources.”, “the online learning environment…is amazing.” 

Community engagement and encouraging students to further study is fundamental for the Spanish Team. They have long organised annual Latin American film festivals, Tango evenings, community Spanish language classes, and student language awards and exchanges to Spain. In 2013 the Programme was awarded by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences for “their vision, innovation and leadership in teaching and learning”.

Citation for Sustained Commitment to Teaching Support

 Andrew Jamieson

Andrew Jamieson is passionate about helping Massey staff to enhance the quality of their teaching and student learning. He helps staff leverage the potential of new digital media to augment sound classroom pedagogy and distance learning.  He brings a strong student centred philosophy to his work as a Teaching Consultant as he responds to the needs of staff and students.

Andrew is widely respected across the University for the strong working relationship he establishes with academics at all levels, professional staff and students. His contribution too many innovative teaching and learning projects with individuals and across programmes are exemplars.  In his dealing with staff he takes a facilitative approach to guiding change. He is able to ‘get alongside’ staff, show empathy for their competing pressures and find solutions that empower them to make changes with ownership. 

Andrew’s influence, particularly with developing learning platforms and resources for particular cohorts, such as the Crown Ownership Monitoring Unit, and in addition facilitating a ‘readiness’ programme for international students for the Brunei project delivered in Brunei is substantial. His leadership in teaching and learning is wide reaching across the wider community with his involvement in schools, community groups and providing professional development in Polytechnics within the Massey regional context.