Dr James McKinnon

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching

Senior Lecturer, School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

"I want students to learn to be active, creative agents in their worlds, not merely critical bystanders or passive consumers of others’ products." 

James is a passionate and innovative teacher who places students firmly at the centre of his practice.  One student writes: “He is profoundly aware that not everyone learns the same way; that something that works for one student won’t work for another”. 

He is committed to developing student capability including their confidence and power to act, encouraging them to build on their interests and strengths: “I felt like I had autonomy over my work … more rewarding because I was following things I was interested in”. James uses active learning and assessment strategies and has adopted evolving technologies to facilitate new methods of learner engagement and assessment.

James has become an excellent teacher through purposeful decision making informed by known good practice and by actively seeking student suggestions for improvement – evident by consistently outstanding student feedback.  He is an accomplished researcher into learning and teaching with a growing international reputation for his research into pedagogical practice. James is described as “an inspiring pedagogical leader, who has had a dramatic and positive impact on teaching practices in the Theatre programme and beyond.” 

Video Gallery

Dr James McKinnon - Recipient of a 2017 Ako Aotearoa Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award