Award-winning tutors put students first

News News & events

27 Sep 2019

Ara tutors from a variety of academic departments received formal recognition from their peers in the annual Ara Teaching and Learning Awards ceremony last night (26 September).

The award winners were celebrated for their outstanding contributions to the Institute and the many ways in which they go above and beyond to cater to their students.

A cross-institutional panel selected the 12 award winners from the 35 tutors nominated- the highest number of nominations in the last 10 years.


The Teaching and Learning Award winners 

New to Teaching

The first award of the night recognised those ‘New to Teaching’ and was jointly awarded to colleagues Emma Fairs & Kesava Kovanur Sampath. Both teach Osteopathy through the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health (NMAH).

As described by their Department, both individuals “bring a wealth of clinical knowledge to the team and are committed to critical evaluation and reflection on both course content and their teaching practice.”

Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The largest award category saw six tutors recognised for their ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning’, each for success in their respective subject areas.

Gene Foster from the Department of Hospitality and Service Industries in Timaru, was one of these winners who stood out for his “creative teaching approach” which “contributes to a highly effective learner-focused environment”.

Over the past nine years Foster has taught a wide range of courses in Tourism and Hospitality at Ara’s Timaru, Oamaru and Christchurch campuses. Foster attended his own graduation earlier this month and was the first student to graduate with the Bachelor of International Tourism and Hospitality Management from Ara.

The other winners of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards were, Kelly Kara (Department of NMAH), Lesley Ryan and Sheryl Hayman (Department of Humanities), Shaun Rahman (Department of Trades) and Heelen Craig (Department of Hospitality & Service Industries).

Award winners in this category were recognised for developing new programmes, sharing knowledge with peers, assisting students with diverse learning needs, pastoral care, high-quality teaching resources, incorporating current industry practise and improving cultural competency experiences of learners.

Excellence in Utilising Innovative Teaching Environments

Johnson Keast from the Department of Enterprise & Digital Innovation won the award for Excellence in Utilising Innovative Teaching Environments.

According to his department Keast is “a wonderful example of a kaiako that develops a passion for life-long learning in his students [...] He ensures that students are dynamic thinkers and leave Ara with the ability to adapt quickly to an ever-changing world.”

Keast recently introduced the use of multiple new technologies into his teaching, including Augmented and Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence on mobile devices within assessment practise.

Excellence in Scholarship in Teaching and Learning

By committing herself to furthering her own education, tutor Melissa Barber sets a great example for her students and embodies what it means to be a life-long learner. Her colleagues within the Department of Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health say she “has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to maintaining her educational currency through further study and research. She has recently completed a Master of Education with Distinction endorsed in Leadership.”

Excellence in Enhancing Learning through Industry/Professional Connection

Ara is proud to have formed close working relationships with a range of individuals, companies and organisations that allows the Institute to take full advantage of resources. This award recognised two tutors who enhance their students’ learning through these industry connections: Bernard Otinpong from the Department of Enterprise & Digital Innovation (EDI) and Roger Bleyendaal from Department of Trades.

The Department of EDI praised Otinpong’s efforts to advocate for his students’ work being displayed throughout Christchurch.

“He guides students to undertake projects that meet industry expectations and present outputs that are in use in the industry. Some of these projects include a hologram for Christchurch International Airport and mobile apps for Pegasus Health, Ara Osteopath Clinic and Christchurch District Health Board.”

Trades tutor Bleyendaal is known within his department for the “redesign of the delivery of the carpentry apprenticeship programme at Ara.”

“He has developed an app to help learners record evidence throughout their apprenticeship journey […] This has led to increased engagement from both learners and colleagues and higher achievement. His work has positioned Ara’s level 4 Carpentry Apprenticeship scheme to strongly compete against any on offer in New Zealand.”


Student Led Teaching Awards

These awards were selected by a panel of Student Council Representatives and moderated by Student Voice Coordinator, Angus Howat.

  • Tech Guru Award – Mazharuddin Syed Ahmed
  • Moodle Master Award – Phillip Roxborogh
  • Class Of Culture Award – Danelle McGrath
  • Supporting Hand Award – Jean Cory-Wright
  • The Pro Award – Dr. Tony McCaffrey
  • Overall Excellence Award – Sandra Thompson