Six staff and five students from UCOL’s Wairarapa campus were recognised for excellence in adult teaching and learning as part of Adult Learners’ Week last week.
Staff members Peter Kozlowski (Nursing), Richard Sexton (Construction), Gary Esler (Automotive), Cathy Boreham (Health Science), Liz Polley and Maryann Corrigan (both Early Childhood Education) received the Exceptional Adult Educator Award.
This award recognises educators of adult learners who ensure a quality and collaborative learning environment, are committed to the advancement of their learners, demonstrate good practice in programme design and delivery, and respond to adult learners' needs with creativity and innovation.
Students Jensina Phillips (Health Science), Ellie Denniston (Health Science), Craig Ormsby, Alex Critchley, and Timo Aperloo (all Automotive) took home the Outstanding Adult Learner Award.
Recipients of this award have an infectious determination to learn, encourage others to engage in adult learning, share their new skills and knowledge with others, and use learning as a basis for improving their lives and lives of others.
UCOL Automotive Lecturer Gary Esler says he was pleased to receive the award, especially since he had been nominated by his students.
"I was rapt. I do really care about my students. They're not just a number."
He says that being able to connect with students with little high school experience was an important part of his approach to teaching.
"A lot of my students didn't like going to school and hadn't done a lot of paperwork. I break it down for them in a way they can understand. It's quite technical, but once they get it they feel quite empowered."
UCOL Certificate in Introduction to Health Science student Ellie Denniston says it felt very special to win the award. She recognises that entering tertiary study can be quite daunting for some students, so she is always trying to help her classmates reach their potential.
"The Wairarapa campus is small and I feel as though everyone is really helpful. I try to help the others with things they don't understand, when I can."
Adult Learners' Week is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) initiative aimed at celebrating achievements in adult learning, and raising public awareness about adult learning opportunities. It is supported by the Tertiary Education Commission, adult and community education providers, and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.