Dr Maxine Lewis
Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching
Senior Lecturer, Classical Studies and Ancient History, The University of Auckland
“I feel privileged to teach subjects that I am passionate about to enthusiastic students from whom I learn so much. I am deeply committed to bringing knowledge of the ancient Greek and Roman world to students in Aotearoa New Zealand, while celebrating how their unique knowledge and approach sheds new light on this ancient material.”
Maxine believes that excellent teaching happens when teachers embody ako; being eager to learn from their students and empowering students to teach as well as learn. She strives to embody it herself and is not afraid of the vulnerability that this requires. As a student commented, “the fact that my lecturer is as open and eager to learn as I am is inspiring…”.
Her approach to teaching and learning is also exemplified by words like ‘reimagining’ and ‘opening up’. She is passionate about the classics and ancient history; making these disciplines accessible, inclusive and relevant.
Maxine’s feminist and ako-based pedagogy is used not only to support student success, but to destabilise commonly held understandings, to ‘upend’ the idea of ‘treating the ancient Greeks and Romans as fonts of wisdom’. This approach creates a space where te Ao Māori and Pasifika world views can be the ‘touchstone’ for learning, validating and expanding the knowledge students bring to the classroom and connecting it to the subject matter in a meaningful way.
Her colleagues value her tremendously; one describing her work as being “at the forefront of curriculum development, innovation, and excellence in teaching in Classical Studies and Ancient History at The University of Auckland”.