Dr Phil Bishop

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Otago

"Frogs, frogs and even more frogs".


Education and frogs are Phil’s passions, intertwined in nearly every aspect of his professional life. “My research expertise is frog biology; I run a website on frogs, give public lectures on frogs and even reward my students with chocolate frogs. During the Year of the Frog, I offered to go anywhere, anytime to promote these sensitive indicators of biodiversity”.

Phil’s dedication to teaching, from Year 1 to PhD, is illustrated by an impressive list of initiatives: the Biology Button (electronic resource centre), the Gap Junction (email discussion board), the electronic comparative dissection guide and an externally funded Internationalising the Curriculum project. He also helped design a lecture theatre that facilitates an interactive, student-focussed approach to teaching large groups. This fits with his belief that students should drive their own learning, with him as the passenger “assisting so they see the landmarks, understand the journey and have deeper interpretations when they get to their destination”. Colleagues describe Phil as “innovative, highly interactive and engaging”, “drawing students into his subject”. Students sum him up as an “awesome dude!”.