Professor Leoni Schmidt

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Academic Leader, Dunedin School of Art, Otago Polytechnic

“The learning in art.

As a former lecturer in South African, Leoni Schmidt faced new challenges in teaching on her arrival to New Zealand. The realisation that she needed to relearn people’s codes of living and expectations became part of what now exemplifies her as an excellent teacher. Like many teachers, her teaching life encompasses different age groups, abilities and ethnicities and encourages her to be flexible and adaptable in her teaching practices.

One colleague notes: Leoni’s manner facilitates 'effective teamwork in others and the insight and vision needed to support innovative and sustainable art practices and art education in the future'.

Leoni presents the broader concepts of her subject while ensuring that she covers the finer details. As an academic leader and colleague, she is involved in a range of professional activities including course design, learner supervision, conference organizations, peer mentoring, publications and research. But it is to teaching that Leoni always returns. Her sincerity, warmth and effectiveness of her relationship with her learners remain the core of her beloved profession. 

A learner wrote to Leoni: 'Thanks for everything ...You live in your heart'.