The Winners of UCSA’s Staff of the Year Awards Are …

Congratulations to the winners of our UC Staff of the Year Awards, including Lecturer of the Year Assoc. Prof. Sid Becker! Nominees were chosen by students, and the ceremony was on Friday night at Haere-roa.


2020 Winners

⭐️ College of Arts – Nancy Chu
The nominator said, “Nancy Chu has a great teaching style with her warm, bubbly personality, and includes a variety of activities that capture students’ attention. She is always willing to go the extra mile to make sure students have a strong understanding of the syllabus.”
⭐️ College of Business and Law – Assoc. Prof. Herb de Vries
The nominator said, “Associate Professor Herb de Vries is very kind and passionate about his teaching. He continued to stay optimistic during quarantine, and his homemade echo recordings made Management fun and interesting. He has so much enthusiasm which really keeps students going.”
⭐️ College of Education, Health and Human Development – Dr Valerie Sotardi
The nominator said, “Dr Valarie Sotardi is a ray of sunshine when she walks into a room! She is motivating, kind, and just an overall amazing person. She excites the class about her topic, is inclusive, responds well to student queries, and has a genuine love for her subject and the students in it.”
⭐️ College of Engineering – Assoc. Prof. Sid Becker
The nominator said, “Where to start? Associate Professor Sid Becker has legitimate empathy, hilarity, relatability, and consistent dedication to caring about his students, their wellbeing and their understanding of the topic. There is no way to truly represent how integral Sid was to getting students through thermodynamics.”
⭐️ College of Science – Prof Ian Shaw
The nominator said, “Despite the pandemic, Professor Ian Shaw was lovely in every regard and managed to create a wonderful sense of community among his students. He brought enthusiasm to every lecture and empowered students with the hope for the future. He always replies quickly with a detailed answer to students’ issues and then relays it to the rest of the class.”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award – Dr Rachael Tappenden, College of Engineering, for “Most Unexpected Enthusiasm for Penguins”.
The nominator said, “Rachael’s ardent advocacy for the plight of endangered NZ birds should be an example to us all. Admittedly, MATH203 was not where I was expecting to encounter such passion, but lectures are more fun with a tangent or two!”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award – David Stiles, Business and Law, for the “Bear Grylls Award”
The nominator said, “He travelled the world and fought off a bear.”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award – Hamish Oliver, Music, for the award: “Top Dog of Tangents”
The nominator said, “In lectures, so much of the time was spent on tangents (that were related to, and enhanced, the knowledge that we were learning). These tangents were always entertaining and informative, especially via zoom. There was the time when Hamish ran back and forth across the room (While we were on zoom) to demonstrate bit depth and sample rate. They were enjoyable, that’s for sure.”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award – Jan Jakob Bornheim, Law, for the award: “Lecturer who Could be a Youtube Sensation”
The nominator said, “Incredible online lectures with into and outro sequences, perfected the vlog style lectures including memes and cat stories, made studying competition law the most enjoyable experience of lockdown, not often I laugh while learning about abuse of market power but Jan made that possible!”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award – Richard Bullen, Art History and Theory, for the award: “Endearingly Obsessed with Their Area of Expertise”
The nominator said, “For lack of a better word, Richard is an absolute Art History nerd. But it was refreshing, endearing and ridiculously captivating. There’s this exuberant way which he talks about art and something as crummy and dusty as art theory. Somehow, how deeply passionate about the subject he was managed to resonate through the class. This was positively delightful. He deserves recognition for how much time and pride he commits to his craft as a lecturer and academic.”
⭐️ Student Create your Own Award Tham Piumsomboon, School of Product Design (AIGD), for the award: “Willy Wonka, the Candy King”
The nominator said, “Always has candy to giveaway in class and in his office. We (the class) saw that AIGD has a candy fund just for him but I suspect he buys the candy with his own money for us.”
⭐️ UCSA Executive Special Award – Steve Gibling, Director of Wellness Services, Student Services and Communications
The nominator said, “Specifically wanted to recognise this staff member’s formation of the Wellbeing Strategy, their constant support of wanting to help students succeed in the Sport and Rec space in recognition of their service to students over the last heck load of years. They were also a leader in the space of COVID-19 as an incident controller and key in driving and listening to student voices over this time. Without them, students would not have had access to things like Hardship help, access to campus, access to learning equipment and more. They are key in supporting this Executive and have been a hell of a friend along the way.  Anyone who has worked with them would totally agree when I say their passion for the association and for students has been instrumental to so many things we have achieved.”
⭐️ UCSA Executive Special Award – Riki Welsh, Team Leader in the Pacific Development Team
The nominator said, “While their whole team really deserves an award, we have worked really closely with this staff member this year. They have worked at UC for 10 years and are the reason that so many Pasifika students are still enrolled today. They are the team leader over at PDT and it their heart and soul is so clearly in the job. They deserve recognition for their massive contribution to students.”
⭐️ UCSA Executive Special Award – Anne Scott, University Librarian
The nominator said they chose Anne, “For the unbelievable amount of mahi to get the library open and keeping it safe for all students over the COVID-19 period in particular. They are a great leader and amazing ally for students here at UC.”
⭐️ Outstanding Support of International Students Award – Jonie Chang, Senior International Student Advisor, Student Care
The nominator said, “This staff member works tirelessly for the benefit of international students at UC, both in her work with individual students, and as an advocate for the needs of international students in the wider University context. She combines excellent knowledge of the University and its many processes with a great deal of empathy and a keen understanding of the international student experience, having had similar experiences herself. She provides outstanding support to international students at UC, and is truly an asset to the University.”
⭐️ Above and Beyond Award – Nicole Anfang, Postgraduate Student Advisor, Business School
The nominator said, “This staff member knows the Business School’s postgraduate programmes inside and out, and works hard to ensure students understand the requirements of their programme and how to get the most out of their experience at UC. She is also invaluable in connecting students with other support services at UC, and has a holistic understanding of students’ needs. She also has a deep empathy for her students, having completed a UC Business Taught Masters programme herself in the past. She truly goes above and beyond in her support of postgraduate students in the Business School.”
⭐️ Best Online Learning – Dr Craig McConnochie
The nominator said, “Dr Craig McConnochie went above and beyond over the first lockdown, and was very quick to get on board with online lectures. They were very clear, well made and his online banter was brilliant. His brightly coloured shirts really popped in an online setting. He also sent weekly emails outlining the work for the week, and drew helpful parallels to his experience as an Undergrad during the Christchurch Earthquakes.”
⭐️ Superstar of the Year – Desmond Breeze
The nominator said, “Desmond Breeze is so kind and understanding. As Year 1 coordinator for Primary teaching he has gone above and beyond to help students out this year. When teaching switched to online, Des was the first to email students and ask how they were, if they needed help with anything, and also most importantly asked about their well-being.”
⭐️ Great Character – Assoc. Prof. Sid Becker
The nominator said, “There really is no one like Sid Becker. He is such an outgoing character; he has a level of craziness that made thermodynamics interesting, but also really cares about students. One student said “I have never seen another lecturer throw a chair to get the attention of the class”. Also: he has a cute cat.”
⭐️ Technical Staff of the Year – Garry Cotton
The nominator said, “Garry Cotton has such a strong love for learning and individual safety and development. One student said they ‘Learnt more about engineering practice from the week of workshop training he gave than all of ENME 201/221’. He can also teach how to cook the perfect steak!”
⭐️ Administrator of the Year – Heather Couch
The nominator said, “Heather Couch always goes above and beyond and helps students wherever she can. She always replies to emails almost within the hour despite the number she must receive, is always so supportive, and knows the department inside and out.”
⭐️ Supervisor of the Year – Assoc. Prof. Michael Grimshaw
The nominator said, “Associate Professor Michael Grimshaw is super supportive and always willing to go to bat for his students.”
⭐️ Lecturer of the Year Supreme Award – Assoc. Prof. Sid Becker
Posted in

Leave a Comment