Top teachers recognised

29 March 2018
Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins, Department of Statistics
Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins

Seven lecturers who deliver Department of Statistics courses have been recognised for their contribution to teaching in 2017 in a newly-instituted departmental awards scheme.

They are, in alphabetical order of first name, Dr Ben Stevenson; Joss Cumming; Associate Professor Paul Murrell; Associate Professor Rachel Fewster; and Dr Yalu Wen.

Additional guest award recipients – for temporary members of staff, and or staff from other departments – are statistics PhD student Liza Bolton and Dr Tanya Evans, who is based in the Department of Mathematics but teaches in a statistics course on mathematical finance.  

The awards were instituted by Associate Professor Ilze Ziedins, whose three-year term as Head of Department ended in January; the inaugural recipients was named as she left office. The awards will be made annually to recognise the major role that outstanding teachers play in the Department of Statistics’ success.

“We have many outstanding teachers in our department, and we want to acknowledge their contribution,” says Ilze, who remains in the Department of Statistics. “The awards also highlight our teaching contribution in general – the Department of Statistics is now one of the larger teaching departments in the University, and that growth would not have happened without excellent teaching.”

Ilze says it was a “very difficult decision” to choose the recipients.

“We have so many outstanding lecturers in the department. But I look forward to seeing our other excellent teachers receive awards in future years”.

To determine the winners, she says, student evaluations of lecturers were taken as a starting point, then the contribution of each person was considered holistically.

In a separate scheme, Department of Statistics teachers who rated highly in student evaluations received letters of commendation late last year from the Dean of Science, Professor John Hosking.

They are Ben Stevenson; Joss Cumming; Liza Bolton, Paul Murrell; Rachel Fewster; and Yalu Wen, all of whom were named above, and Professional Teaching Fellow Anna-Marie Fergusson.

Dr Julia Novak, Associate Dean Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science, says the letters congratulated staff on achieving exceptional levels of student satisfaction in the SET (Summative Evaluation of Teaching) reports from 2017.

The criteria were a mean score for overall teaching quality of above 4.5 out of 5, with 10 or more responses.