Meet our staff: Anil Narayan

16 Nov, 2022
Meet our staff: Anil Narayan

As the head of department for accounting, Associate Professor Anil Narayan is proud of the achievements he has had in his academic career so far, including many internal and external awards recognising his outstanding contribution to teaching and learning, research and leadership.

“I’m fortunate to have an academic career built on a strong foundation of teaching, research and professional accounting practice. I enjoy both teaching and research, but the leadership role is even more interesting and challenging.”

Born in Fiji, Anil migrated to New Zealand in the late 1980s and is on a mission to help improve the educational achievement of Pacific students in accounting studies.

“Pacific people are underrepresented in the accounting profession, and improving their academic success and completion rates in tertiary accounting qualifications will help address this persistent, yet surmountable, challenge.”

Supporting Pacific students

Over the past two decades, Anil has taught many Pacific students in both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and understands the difficulties Pacific students encounter in the tertiary education environment.

Together with his colleague Irshad Ali, he has also undertaken research to better understand the challenges Pacific accounting students face and how to help them succeed in pursuing accounting as a career.

Their research findings suggest that Pacific students’ low self-belief in their ability to succeed, and challenges to prioritise their learning over their other commitments are major factors contributing to poor academic achievement. Support from parents, church leaders and teachers has a positive impact on these students, and teachers in particular play an invaluable role in helping Pacific students achieve academically and professionally.

Based on the research, Anil has found that Pacific students generally feel comfortable attending classes and engage in learning when the teacher is friendly, approachable, culturally sensitive, and shows empathy and care for their learning needs.

These research results have been presented at different forums, and won the 2020 Faculty Research Impact Team Award and the 2022 New Zealand Business Research Translation Award.

Teaching success

Throughout his academic career, Anil has won various teaching awards, including the 2018 AUT Vice-Chancellor’s Individual Teaching Excellence Award. Recently he was also promoted to professor; a promotion that takes effect from January 2023.

“I’m enormously privileged to be in a profession that has the capacity to inspire and contribute to the knowledge development of such a diverse range of learners. Some of my high-achieving students have been recipients of the top scholar awards, and many have developed successful careers in accounting and professional practice.”

Anil uses his research to inform his teaching, and believes that teachers play a crucial role in nurturing the self-belief and confidence in Pacific students.

“Teachers need to build trusting relationships and provide a supportive learning environment that is culturally inclusive and aligns with core Pacific values of respect, humour, affection and relationships.”

“I always try to inspire my students to learn and succeed, to be excited about accounting, and to realise their true potential.”

More about Anil and his work