Dr Heather Kavan

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Lecturer, Department of Communication Journalism and Marketing, Massey University

"For me, stories are the best way of humanising concepts. They also ignite interest, make information memorable, and help me create a bond with students"

Heather thinks what might differentiate her from other dedicated teachers is her “tremendous gratitude for my job as lecturer”. For her, the overall meaning of teaching is “to liberate” and she bases many of her methods on the writings of Paulo Freire. “My perception of excellence is action-based, evoking a life-long love of knowledge, bringing original perspectives, and enabling students to find their own best path.”

Over eight years, Heather has taught a wide range of subjects in religious studies, communications and research methods. She is aware that students attend university for many different reasons including “the need to belong, to create meaning and forge an identity”. Heather works hard to create a positive environment, help students explore new possibilities and learn from constructive feedback. “Nobody is going to get an idea if I don’t first grab their attention”, she says. 

One of her student’s sums up Heather’s commitment and impact: “You clearly have impeccable standards for both your work and research. Personally I find that enormously inspiring!”