Dr David McMorran
Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching
Senior Teaching Fellow, Department of Chemistry, Division of Sciences, University of Otago
“Chemistry goes on around us all the time – the trick is to try to find ways to connect students’ experience of this to the underlying science being taught.”
David has been a teacher for most of his life; from teaching swimming as a teenager to running New Zealand’s largest chemistry course, with over 2000 students. Through his passion and enthusiasm, he exudes commitment to those he teaches. He strives to make chemistry real and wants his students to see it as a means to understand the world they’re living in.
He readily admits that chemistry is not a subject that all students find easy, and that many study first year chemistry because they have to. His years of experience in the chemistry research environment as well as teaching, have given him a deep understanding of how to relate concepts to students’ lives and experiences in innovative ways. He describes his job as helping students out into the big wide world of actual chemistry. A student remarks, “chemistry just makes sense when David explains it.” Colleagues describe his “unrivalled passion for education and respect for all, from undergraduate students and postgraduate tutors to academic colleagues”.