David Cox

Te Whatu Kairangi Award

Excelling at the teaching job he loves

David is Lecturer in Mathematics and Statistics Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University Wellington.

David faces a challenge few teachers would envy: teaching a huge first year statistics course to students with a wide range of ability – from those who excelled in Year 13 Statistics, to those who hate maths and do not believe they can succeed. Yet David has transformed this course through a range of student-centred innovations and a passionate concern for at-risk students. His goal is for “students of all abilities, cultures and backgrounds [to] find and understand content they can relate to and experience whanaungatanga.” He calls this challenge “the teaching job I love.”  

His success is evidenced by increasing pass rates, better results for Māori and Pacific learners, and the testimonies of his learners, their whānau, and his peers. His course redesign reduced the exam-marking burden on his colleagues by approximately 65%. One colleague described wider impacts: “David's use of innovative teaching technologies, and his championing of those in other courses within the School, has been appreciated … by many other SMS staff.”  

A learner commented, “I know no other lecturer more supportive about uplifting Māori and Pasifika students … he could see my potential when I couldn’t.”  One learner’s father was compelled to give his own feedback: “I wanted to sincerely thank you for the positive contribution you’ve made to Amie’s life (no exaggeration).”   

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David Cox - Recipient of a 2022 Te Whatu Kairangi Award