Sustained excellence teaching award to Associate Professor Peter Adams

06 November 2013

Associate Professor Peter Adams has received the 2013 University of Auckland Teaching Excellence Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching.

Peter has taught at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences for 22 years.  During that time he has strengthened the teaching of communication skills to medical students and pioneered teaching of programmes in alcohol and drug addiction and mental health, family violence and gambling.

He also introduced a strong theoretical element to many of the social and community health studies carried out at the School of Population Health, especially by doctoral students.

“In the early 1990s, we advocated the much wider use of teaching communication skills to medical students along performance lines,” says Peter.  “These skills are now embedded in the medical programme, making more use of actors in training and assessment.”

“Students have to interview role playing actors and learn to recognise and articulate the symptoms and behaviours that they are observing.  Each student’s performance is video-taped and evaluated on how insightful they are and how they assess their own performance.”

Peter’s Teaching Excellence Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching follows on from his receiving an FMHS Butland Teaching Award in the same category earlier this year.  He develops, co-ordinates and teaches three postgraduate courses, and as Head of Social and Community Health for 11 years he helped establish another 20 or more, undergraduate and postgraduate courses and programmes.

“Twenty years ago, we recognised the need for alcohol and drug teaching, and have developed that more over the last fourteen years,” he says. “From alcohol and drug addiction teaching in the medical programme, I recognised a need for qualifications in the wider workforce.”

Peter developed the post-graduate certificate in alcohol and drug studies and slowly built that up.  It is still one of only two major programmes available to people working in the alcohol and drug field in New Zealand.

“It became a basic qualification for those working in the field who didn’t have qualifications, mostly people in their 40s and 50s, “he says.  “Now we are aiming to engage new graduates.”

Peter is the Director of the Bachelor of Health Sciences programme, was acting Associate Dean Postgraduate for six months in 2012 and is now the Acting Head of the School of Population Health.  His academic training included a Master of Philosophy and a Master of Psychology (both with 1st Class Hons), a PG Dip in Clinical Psychology and a PhD in Psychology.


For more information contact:

Suzi Phillips , Media Relations Advisor Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences The University of Auckland Email Phone +64 9 923 7383 or Mob 021416396

Associate Professor Peter Adams