In line with my background in both practice and theory, my contribution to teaching has focused on courses that bring together the world of ideas and the world of practical challenges. I have contributed to curriculum design and delivery at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in the School of Population Health and in the medical programme.
Effective teaching needs to appeal to both the mind and the heart; it needs to inspire and activate the imagination to allow assumptions to be critically re-examined. Students must feel part of a safe environment in which optimism, reflection and inspiration can flourish.
My main areas of teaching are in:
- Our postgraduate certificate/diploma/masters in addiction studies and related courses
- Teaching in theory, community development, mental health and qualitative research methods
- Contribution on social practice in our undergraduate medical programme on alcohol and drugs, gender-based violence and communication skills
My Current Courses
- POPLHLTH 737 Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Studies. (Semester 1) Provides an introduction and overview to studies on alcohol and other drugs. Incorporates theory and research developed within public health, mental health, and specialised treatment frameworks.
- POPLHLTH 700 Community Health Development. (Semester 1) Provides a comprehensive overview of the principles, theories, and frameworks for undertaking community-level health development. Special emphasis on empowering and critical perspectives and the implications for health and determinants at a community-level of focus.
- POPLHLTH 758 Theoretical Concepts of Health. (Semester 1) A number of theoretical explanations of public health are considered in order to address health issues in diverse communities. An ecological perspective of health will be explored and the specific models of population health will be critiqued.
- POPLHLTH 774 Addictive Consumptions and Public Health. (Semester 2) Focuses on the extensive health impacts of addictive consumptions, particularly in relation to the legalised consumptions of tobacco, alcohol and gambling. Outlines applications of public health principles to reducing harm from these consumptions.
Addiction Studies at the University of Auckland
Since 1995, we have gradually developed our programmes in Addiction studies and currently include the following qualifications:
- Post-graduate Certificate in Health Science (Alcohol & Drug Studies), 1 semester full-time study (60 points). On completion, eligible to apply for DAPAANZ registration.
- Post-graduate Diploma in Health Science (Alcohol & Drug Studies), 2 semesters full-time, (120 points).
- Masters in Health Science. Requires completion of PGDip (120 points) and a further 120 points in the form of either a 120-point thesis or 60-point dissertation with 4 additional courses.
- Masters of Health Practice (Addiction Studies). While this is a 180-point, rather than a 240-point masters (so six months less full-time study), it requires enrolment as a unit, so those enrolled in PGCerts or PGDips will need to transfer before completing their first year.
- PhD in addiction studies.
Approach to Learning
My Approach to Postgraduate LearningI teach a diverse range of students ranging from the pragmatically inclined to those with a passion for academic enquiry, as well as across different levels, from undergraduate students to PhD scholars. What characterises almost all my students is a strong interest in how learning can be applied to real life situations, whether that is in terms of improved practice, or project and policy applications.
An ongoing challenge is where to pitch the teaching in order to engage all students, and to address the diversity of needs and motives. For example, most students enrolling in the Postgraduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drugs wish to credential themselves as practitioners. They have only a peripheral interest in theory and research. But in amongst them is one sub-group who are already interested in the academic dimensions of practice and another group who could become interested should they find themselves engaged appropriately.
The majority of my postgraduate research students are similarly preoccupied with the practical applications of their research to service, community or policy contexts. This entails a similar tension between application and academic dimensions. My approach is to acknowledge this diversity and to validate the motives of each group of students.
Inaugural class graduating with the Postgraduate Certificate (Alcohol and Drug Studies) in 1998 (Me and the other teacher, Helen Warren, on the right)
- Addiction Studies at the University of Auckland
- Addiction Studies at the University of Otago (Christchurch)
- Bachelor of Health Sciences (Honours) BHSc(Hons)
- School of Graduate Studies, the University of Auckland