Highest teaching honour for Maughan, one of four awardees

19 December 2013 | Story by Newsroom

Paul Maughan

Cheers and loud applause from graduands of the Faculty of Commerce greeted Paul Maughan (College of Accounting) at the morning graduation ceremony on 14 December when he received a Distinguished Teacher Award.

The morning ceremony also marked a milestone in UCT's history: it hosted the largest group of students ever to graduate in one sitting.

Altogether 531 students were capped, necessitating a 'relay hall', where the ceremony was streamed live to guests who could not be accommodated in Jameson Hall.

"We welcome them wirelessly," Deputy Vice-Chancellor quipped in his introduction.

Presenting Maughan to Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price, Nhlapo said the Distinguished Teacher Award is given only once in an individual's career to lecturers who had made a "significant and lasting impression on students".

Maughan was one of four outstanding teachers to receive Distinguished Teacher Awards during this cycle of graduation ceremonies, the 32nd anniversary of the awards.

Here is an excerpt from the motivation for Maughan's award.

Paul MaughanTop honour: Paul Maughan (College of Accounting) receives a Distinguished Teacher Award from Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price at the morning ceremony on 14 December when a record number of students graduated in one sitting.

"Maughan was one of the main drivers behind the introduction of a capstone course, Business Analysis and Governance, for undergraduate students in the Chartered Accounting stream. It was designed in response to the introduction of a new competency framework by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to enhance pervasive skills, or what UCT refers to as 'graduate attributes'.

"The head of the college called the course an 'outstanding success' and said that in his 20 years at UCT he'd never seen undergraduate students engage in the way they had to any single course. The success was attributed to Maughan's ability to challenge students to deal with the real business world, and to encourage them to participate by using a variety of novel teaching methodologies. These included a merger and acquisition project in which groups competed against each other; a JSE share trading competition using real companies as case studies for exams; and the explicit promotion of pervasive skills within the course.

"The course's success was capped by excellent student evaluations. During the final lecture, in which winning teams gave an 'Idols-style' presentation, Maughan was given a standing ovation by the 2012 class. Maughan's teaching philosophy is underpinned by a fundamental insight: Ken Bain's view that effective teaching results in deep learning, and that this is best achieved through the disruption of existing mental models.

"If students can be quickly confronted by the fact that they do not have the necessary mental models to deal with a scenario, they are more receptive to learning, and more likely to retain that enhanced mental model. Maughan teaches his students that it's not only necessary to learn the tools related to finance and accounting, but also to have an awareness of the tools that other disciplines offer. He is lauded as an excellent teacher with an ability to influence students beyond the classroom."

Story by Helen Swingler. Image by Raymond Botha.

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