Excellence in pharmacy teaching leads to top national tertiary award
Dr Rhiannon Braund’s dedication to both her learners and profession has led to her being named the 2012 recipient of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for tertiary teaching excellence earlier tonight.
The prestigious supreme award is the pinnacle of the 2012 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award ceremony. The Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards celebrate New Zealand’s finest tertiary teachers – as recognised by their organisations, colleagues and learners alike.
A total of 12 awards were presented to the finalist teachers. Rhiannon is among a record nine women to receive an excellence award in this round.
The parliamentary event was jointly hosted by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Hon Steven Joyce, and Nikki Kaye MP, Chairperson of the Education and Science Committee. Ako Aotearoa – The National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence is the administrator of the awards. The Centre aims to recognise and celebrate excellence in tertiary teaching and share good practice that has proven to benefit learners.
Dr Peter Coolbear, director of Ako Aotearoa, and member of the Awards Committee, comments 'There were a record number of nominations this year and the general standard was extraordinarily high. There is some fantastic work being done in our tertiary sector and each of these awardees is truly inspiring. Each has made an enormous contribution to the successes of their learners over many years. It is a great privilege to be part of the selection process.'
Dr Rhiannon Braund – Supreme Award winner
Dr Rhiannon Braund, senior lecturer from the School of Pharmacy at University of Otago, was selected as the supreme winner this year for her dedication to both her profession and her students. She believes that pharmacy is about people and that it is paramount in her role as teacher to equip students with the ability to translate their academic knowledge, so they can best serve patients.
Rhiannon plays an active role outside the classroom in the planning and design of pharmacy courses across New Zealand and Australia. At a community level, she volunteers in the New Zealand Police DARE program to teach primary children about safe handling of medications.
Rhiannon’s teaching models her convictions that there is no such thing as a stupid question and that every question deserves an honest answer. She translates complex ideas and makes them accessible. Her practice is innovative, her standards rigorous, and her encouragement of students and colleagues strongly attested.
Out of the 12 awards, nine were presented for sustained excellence in tertiary teaching under the General category. For the first time since the 2004 round, this category included a tertiary teaching team – a tight-knit group of eight representing the Restaurant, Wine and Bar Team from the School of Food and Hospitality at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology.
Under the Kaupapa Maori category three women with more than 80 years teaching experience between them have been recognised for their contribution to tertiary teaching. At 75 years of age Mana Elizabeth Hunkin is still teaching and mentoring adult learners in her role as the highly respected Tumuaki at Te Kura Motuhake o Te Ataarangi – a private training establishment based in Wairoa.
Chair of the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards Committee, Professor Noeline Alcorn was particularly impressed with the diversity of finalists this year. 'The 2012 award winners cover a range of fields and work in very different contexts. All are committed to helping their students develop knowledge and skills for both life and work and to fostering critical thinking and initiative. It is especially pleasing to see among the winners this year two teachers from the PTE / ACE sector and a team of tutors who have worked closely together over a long period,' she said.
All recipients receive a cheque for $20,000, while the Prime Minister’s Supreme awardee will take away an additional $10,000.
See photos from the Award presentation at Parliament