Sara Kindon

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Senior Lecturer, School of Geography Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington

"Sixteen years after I began living and working on a fault-line, I describe my teaching philosophy as one that is committed to unsettling learners’ assumptions about Geography and Development Studies."

Sara Kindon describes her teaching philosophy as unsettling learner's assumptions. She does this through a pedagogy which blurs the boundaries between research and teaching and fosters deep reflection. She takes innovative approaches to disrupting students' understanding of place and of the geographies of power and exclusion; students explore downtown Wellington blindfolded, walk a high ropes course, and visit soup kitchens and marae. Students speak of her ability to change their lives: "Sara's innovative teaching….has helped me to broaden my conceptions of 'the classroom' and I view the world differently because of this".

In 2008 Sara won Victoria University's Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching. She has successfully supervised 59 postgraduate students, including 5 PhDs. Colleagues speak of her transformative impact on their own practice. She has published 12 quality-assured articles and books on the teaching-research nexus. But Sara reserves special mention for Global Remix, a student-led support group she established for students with a refugee-background. Sara's joy in teaching, in "unsettling" her students, and empowering their participation is evident throughout her portfolio.