Professor Graeme Aitken is about to step down as the Dean of Education and Social Work at The University of Auckland after more than four decades teaching both students and teachers. He's held a number of high profile roles within teacher education, and in 2001 was awarded a Distinguished Teaching Award for his contribution to the establishment of the secondary teacher education programme at the university. Aitken holds the degrees of BA and MA(Hons) in geography and a doctorate in education (EdD). A period of almost fatal ill health as a teenager saw him commit his life to education, with perfecting the art of 'how to teach' a focus in the later years of his career. He will deliver a Retrospective Lecture on October 25 called 'Ambition and Its Enemies: A Report Card on 40 Years of Leadership in Education'. Aitken is a frequent commentator on issues in education, including how to make the narrative around teaching as a career more positive.