2019 Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards

Two UC academics will be recognised at this year’s Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards, hosted by Hon Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education, later this month.

Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Awards recognise the country’s top tertiary teachers and we’re proud to confirm that Dr Heather Purdie from our College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao and Dr Masayoshi Ogino from our College of Arts | Te Rāngai Toi Tangata have been recognised for their sustained excellence in tertiary teaching.

Dr Heather Purdie is passionate about geography, fascinated by glaciers and inspired by her father’s footsteps.

Heather’s teaching approach uses pūrākau or storytelling and experiential learning, bringing the outside in and connecting students to the environment. She embeds sound and innovative pedagogical practice into her teaching through her use of the real field and her reimagining of the field in the classroom – bringing the outdoors in.

Her commitment to integrating Te Reo Māori and Te Ao Māori in her teaching practice is particularly commendable. She has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to teaching over a number of years and she has sought opportunities to use her expertise to enhance the quality of teaching in her Faculty and beyond.

Heather demonstrates a dynamic, engaging and student-centred approach to teaching and her students testify to this.

“You could really tell she is passionate about geography…it rubs off on you and pushes you to want to know more.” 

Dr Masayoshi Ogino teaching style is based on a strongly-held belief that “Connections created through language and culture can engender empathy, compassion and a better understanding of oneself and others.” 

Dr Ogino’s pioneering of the online World Café Forums for Japanese Language Educators, which in 2018 attracted 60 educators from 15 countries, is an achievement for which he has developed an international reputation. 

He has created a multi-layered learning environment featuring a learner-focussed course design and networks his students with groups in the local and internet community.  This support of learning intentionally echoes traditional Māori support systems – where more experienced tuākana guide less experienced teina. 

One of his students have referred to him as a “life changing lecturer” and another described him as “super helpful, super kind and incredibly understanding.” 

“[Masa] ensures that students of all levels engage with their learning community.”