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HERDSA/TERNZ Award Winners

Rob Wass, 2022
Kathryn Sutherland, 2021
Erik Brogt, 2020
Barbara Kensington-Miller, 2019
Stephen Marshall, 2017
Rachel Spronken-Smith, 2016
Eva Heinrich, 2015
Barbara Grant, 2014
Helen Sword, 2013
Tony Harland, 2012
Nick Zepke and Linda Leach, 2011
Neil Haigh, 2010

Rob Wass 2022

University of Otago

Rob has been awarded the medal for his substantial research contribution to the area of first-year student experience in higher education and for his sustained service to higher education research community.

Rob’s research aims to enhance student learning through academic development, mentoring, good assessment practices, and peer learning. Rob has 21 quality-assured articles in international journals, —including Higher Education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, Higher Education Research and Development (HERD). These are top 10 journals in the category of Higher Education (as ranked according to Google Scholar metrics).

Rob’s articles have had an impact; for instance, “Scaffolding Critical Thinking in the Zone of Proximal Development” (2011) is listed in the top ten most-read articles for the HERD journal with over 19,000 views. Similarly, the article “Sharpening a Tool for Teaching: the Zone of Proximal Development”, published in Teaching in Higher Education in 2014, is the fourth most read article of all time at 17511 views.

Rob’s service contribution is also extensive. He provides manuscript reviews for four international journals. Rob is Associate Editor for HERD and will take up the co-editor position in 2023. He has been involved with the HERDSA organisation since 2006, including being on the main HERDSA executive committee for a period of four years.

Rob has served as the secretary and deputy chair of the HERDSA NZ branch and is currently the elected chair. He was a co-convenor of the TERNZ conference in 2016 and is the co-convenor for the 2022 TERNZ conference. Rob recently completed the HERDSA Fellowship and is currently mentoring an Associate Fellow through her Fellowship journey. It is my great pleasure to award the TERNZ medal to Rob to recognise his achievements!

Kathryn Sutherland, 2021

Victoria University Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Kathryn has been awarded the medal for her research contribution to the areas of academic working lives, and the theory and practice of academic development in higher education, and for her sustained service to higher education.

Kathryn is well known amongst the academic community for her work with early-career academics and has published a book with Springer International in 2018 titled ‘Early career academics in NZ universities’. Kathryn’s article, co-authored by Julie Timmermans, on ‘Wise academic development’ published by the International Journal for Academic Development (IJAD) was the Article of the Year in 2020. Her article on ‘Holistic academic development’ in 2018 in IJAD was the winner of the Distinguished Contribution to the Scholarship of Educational Development.

Kathryn has given sustained service to higher education. She was on the IJAD editorial team for ten years, first as Book Reviews editor then as co-editor for 8 years, and is a committed member of HERDSA, serving on the New Zealand branch committee since the year 2000. She also served on the Australasian executive committee for five years, was vice-president from 2004-2006, and played an instrumental role in running the annual Academic Development Symposium Wellington. As a sign of peer esteem and recognition, Kathryn has delivered many keynote presentations and plenary addresses at national and international conferences.

Erik Brogt, 2020

University of Canterbury

Erik Brogt is a valued and respected member of the higher education community in New Zealand. The 2020 HERDSA TERNZ Research Medal recognises Erik’s sustained outstanding commitment to enhancing higher education in New Zealand through his research and service.

Erik is an active scholar in higher education, with over 50 publications in highly ranked and influential journals, such as HERD, Studies in Higher Education, Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, and the International Journal for Academic Development. Erik also regularly collaborates on research with colleagues within his institution and across New Zealand, and he has been Principal and Associate Investigator on numerous projects funded through Ako Aotearoa, as well as HERDSA.

Erik devotes his energies to serving the Australasian Higher Education community. He is a long-standing member of the HERDSA New Zealand Executive Committee, with over a decade of service, including multiple years as Treasurer. He is also the founder and co-chair of the HERDSA Special Interest Group in Academic Development – an initiative that demonstrates his commitment to building community. Erik was also the driving force behind the HERDSA New Zealand submission to the Productivity Commission on issues regarding new models of tertiary education in New Zealand

In addition to all his notable accomplishments through his leadership in research and service, Erik embodies values of collegiality and generosity of spirit.

Barbara Kensington-Miller, 2019

University of Auckland

Barbara has been a pillar of the New Zealand higher education community for many years. Her work has been funded by the highly competitive Ako Aotearoa National Project Fund and the Office of Learning and Teaching in Australia and looks at important topics such as hidden learning outcomes (https://ako.ac.nz/knowledge-centre/illuminating-undergraduate-learning-outcomes/), employability of graduates https://ako.ac.nz/knowledge-centre/embedding-employability-curriculum/), the identity and practice of academic developers, and supporting early career academics through communities of practice (Kensington-Miller, 2016). See https://unidirectory.auckland.ac.nz/profile/bmil040 for more details.

Barbara has served the HERDSA community in a variety of roles, both in the limelight and outside of it. She’s acted as the Chair of HERDSA NZ for the last three years and serves on the general exec of HERDSA. Her work and leadership in these roles is highly valued by her colleagues, who know they can rely on her in good as well as challenging times.

Stephen Marshall, 2017

Victoria University of Wellington

Stephen has developed an international research profile and had impact on government and institutional policies around the world. His work within Victoria has had a profound effect on the design of learning particularly in relation to strategic and practical embedding of digital teaching and learning.

Stephen is recognised internationally as an expert in benchmarking higher education and the impact of technology on tertiary education. This recognition is apparent most recently through the invitation to lead a major project by the TEC, as well as the invitation from the UK Open University to co-facilitate a benchmarking workshop in June 2017 in the UK (funded by OU and ACODE).

His research has generated over 100 publications and attracted over $400,000 in external grants to Victoria directly, as well as being associated with projects funded for a further $1.5 million dollars. His personal H-index is 24 (Google Scholar).

His research focuses on the impact technology has on Universities and national systems of tertiary education. This work builds from his creation of the e-learning Maturity Model (eMM) that has resulted in 27 publications cited more than 480 times, the top two more than 100 times each and 34 eMM confidential reports for individual institutions in New Zealand, Australia and the US.

The TEC contracted him to create a Capability Framework using the eMM to provide a forward-looking framework for the Investment Plan process responding to the Productivity Commission report on New Models for Tertiary Education. That report cited his work and included multiple references to the submissions he made. Chris Whelan, Universities New Zealand Executive Director, noted by email “fantastic job on your submission to the Productivity Commission! I’ve recommended it to the Vice-Chancellors’ group as one of the six best submissions made.” His national profile is also reflected by the invitation in 2015 from the Chief Executive to be member of the Otago Polytechnic council as expert on e-learning.

His current research includes documenting the impact of the VirtualCSU developed at Victoria and he has a contract with Springer to write a book on the impact of technology on higher education which is currently with the publisher.

He is an editor for the Australasian journal Higher Education Research and Development (A Ranked) and associate editor for the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (B Ranked).

Rachel Spronken Smith, 2016

Dean of the Graduate Research School at the University of Otago.

Rachel started her career as a geographer at the University of Canterbury and became interested in research into higher education in the early 2000s while studying for a Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Tertiary Teaching at the Higher Education Development Centre, University of Otago. Rachel’s interest and success in her studies led to an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in HEDC in 2004. She has worked as an academic developer and was Head of Department from 2009-2012.

Rachel left HEDC in 2012 and is currently Dean of the Graduate Research School. When not invovled in administrative duties she still teaches and supervises in both higher education and geography and is an active researcher in higher education. Her teaching was recognised with a University of Canterbury Teaching Award in 2002, an OUSA Supervision Award in 2012, a University of Otago Teaching Award in 2013 and a national Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award in 2015.

Rachel’s interests in higher education research include learning through inquiry and undergraduate research, the teaching-research nexus, curriculum change, graduate attributes and aspects of the student experience. She regularly undertakes consultancy work for university and polytechnic staff wishing to undertake curriculum renewal, especially when the focus is on embedding inquiry in curricula.

Rachel has chaired an international conference on higher education and been part of the organising committee for the HERDSA TERNZ conferences. She has been an active contributor to the field and has been prolific in her publications in higher education.

Eva Heinrich, 2015

School of Engineering & Advanced Technology at Massey University.

Eva has made a significant contribution to research into the use of technology to improve teaching and learning. In recent years this research has focused on online assessment of assignments, and the use of ePortfolios. In both these areas Eva has been centrally involved in major externally funded research projects leading to numerous scholarly outputs.

While Eva’s research will add to the academic record, it is the impact of this research on the academic community, especially students, that is particularly important. Eva’s research on assessment has directed the development of the assignment tool in Moodle, which is used in over eighty thousand sites worldwide and by millions of students.

Eva is an award winning teacher, recognized within Massey University as an exceptional academic. Eva has won the Darrilyn O’Dea Award for her work incorporating technology tools to extend student engagement. She actively contributes to the university community through academic development events and through her brilliant teaching in computer science.

From her Doctorate of Philosophy in 2000 to her Doctor of Education in 2013, Eva has demonstrated sustained excellence in researching teaching and learning. This has impacted the students she teaches as well as students worldwide as the results of her research are implemented. Recently Eva complemented her discipline PhD with a Doctor of Education which explored how teaching groups can improve learning about teaching.

Barbara Grant, 2014

Faculty of Education and Social Work at The University of Auckland

The TERNZ medal for 2014 was awarded to Barbara Grant for ‘outstanding service’ to higher education research and the tertiary education community, and to recognise the contribution of ‘original, quality ideas’. This brief tribute draws heavily from comments from the people who nominated her.

Barbara’s contributions to the higher education scholarship and education have international status and recognition, as reflected in citation of her publications, her roles within several higher education professional bodies and her membership of the editorial bodies of leading higher education journals. At the same time, her work addresses New Zealand contexts and is influential for New Zealand researchers, teachers and students.

Barbara has been an active and key figure in HERDSA and HERDSA NZ, and has worked hard for the organisation in Australia and New Zealand. An example of her work has been the two successful Researching Higher Education Symposia in New Zealand, which she took a lead in organising and chairing.

Barbara’s contribution is particularly evident in her leadership of Higher Education Research and Development since she became Executive Editor in 2012. During her time as leader of the team, the journal has enjoyed an increasing ISI journal impact factor rating and the quality of work published has improved.

Another strong contribution is Barbara’s work on doctoral and academic writing. This work has been done through research at a theoretical level and through organising writing retreats over many years. She has mentored new researchers and has an exceptional record of PhD and Master’s supervision with 11 students in 2014.

Barbara has an extensive publication record. She publishes in the top journals and many of her articles are highly cited which is outstanding in any educational field. Barbara manages to balance her theoretical and subject interest expertise with methodological experimentation and playfulness, and she pushes the boundaries of what is typical in this research area. The titles of her articles reflect this, for example, ‘Of zombies, monsters and song: the third Academic Identities Conference’ and ‘Agonistic struggle master: slave dialogues in humanities supervision’.

Barbara has most definitely provided sustained ‘outstanding service’ to higher education research and the tertiary education community.

Helen Sword, 2013

Centre for Learning and Research in Higher Education at The University of Auckland

Helen’s research and writing over many years analyses and fosters creative innovations in the intersecting domains of literary studies, digital poetry, higher education pedagogy and academic writing. She has published five books and innumerable academic papers as well as hosting several websites on digital poetry and writing.

Helen’s work on academic writing is very significant and influential from the perspective of both scholarship and practice. Writing is an aspect of academic/research work that is inescapable, but troublesome and anxiety-provoking for many academics (and students). The international recognition of her contribution in this area reflects, in part, an appreciation for her having helped to bring the issue of academic writing into the open.

Helen’s most current work – Stylish Academic Writing – was published by Harvard University Press in 2012. It is based on an empirical study derived from a linguistic analysis of more than a 1,000 peer reviewed articles and books. In this sense it distinguishes itself from most other writing guides and self-help books as it is a scholarly work that carefully uses examples of good and not so good writing to illustrate both the theory and practice of writing.

When launched, the work received worldwide attention and the Times Higher Education Supplement put it on the front cover with a three-page article. Few New Zealand researchers have achieved this sort of recognition for an idea. Reviewers have said:

  • Elegant data and ideas deserve elegant expression, argues Helen Sword in this lively guide to academic writing. For scholars frustrated with disciplinary conventions, and for specialists who want to write for a larger audience but are unsure where to begin, here are imaginative, practical, witty pointers that show how to make articles and books a pleasure to read—and to write.
  • Dispelling the myth that you cannot get published without writing wordy, impersonal prose, Sword shows how much journal editors and readers welcome work that avoids excessive jargon and abstraction.

Helen’s work most definitely meets the criteria for ‘research with major impact’.

Tony Harland, 2012

Higher Education Development Centre at Otago University

Tony has contributed to higher education research in NZ since his arrival from the University of Sheffield at the end of the 1990s. He initially worked as an academic staff developer in the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC) at the University of Otago. He was the Chair of HERDSA NZ and was a founding member of TERNZ, which has run very successful conferences that is run in different centres around NZ each year.

Tony’s research focusses on many aspects of teaching, learning and research in higher education. This includes studies which question the nature of university curricula and student learning and he examined the construction of knowledge in disciplinary contexts. However, Tony’s particular interest lies in the area of values: values in a university education, how are these values informed and how might they change in the future.

Reflecting these interests and the many research projects he has been involved in, Tony has authored and/or co-authored book chapters in edited books and numerous journal articles. Of particular importance, was a single authored chapter in the notable, The Routledge International Handbook of Higher Education in 2009, in 2010, the publication of a co-authored book entitled Values in Higher Education Teaching and in 2012, University teaching: An Introductory Guide.

Tony’s international reputation is recognised by journal and book editors. During recent years Tony has provided consultancy advice to the Malaysian Ministry of Education, working specifically on a project to develop and educate university lecturers across Malaysia in action research processes. As part of the project, Tony has trained large numbers of academics, and provided advice and direction to university staff at all levels to facilitate their investigation of their own teaching and the learning of their own students.

As part of his role at the University of Otago, Tony teaches postgraduate courses and supervises postgraduate research students, thereby nurturing new researchers into the field of higher education. Tony is on the editorial board of four international journals including the UK’s Teaching in Higher Education, thus offering a New Zealand perspective on research work being published from all around the world.

Tony’s reputation is strongly felt around New Zealand, particularly in the universities, but also in other parts of the tertiary sector. Tony is a notable researcher who is keenly interest in the welfare and development of higher education research in this country. He has already contributed much to the higher education scene in New Zealand and is continuing to do so.

Nick Zepke and Linda Leach, 2011

College of Education at Massey University

Neil Haigh, 2010

Centre for Learning and Teaching, AUT University

For over 40 years Neil has promoted the development of a scholarly and professional teaching environment in New Zealand as seen in his carefully researched teaching, his presentations and publications on educational research and his advocacy for a national teaching body. In a career spanning the coming of age of educational research, he has promoted teaching, including postgraduate supervision, as a subject worthy of academic research, endorsed government directives for research–led teaching, published on the scholarship of learning and teaching, broadened the activities of the NZ branch of HERDSA and spearheaded the inception of a national body which aims inter alia to advance tertiary teaching through research.

Neil promotes research–led teaching by examining the concept in presentations, supporting academics in their development as teachers of research-led teaching and collaborating with discipline-based colleagues in articles. Many of his joint publications (e. g in accounting, science, and health education) are a result of his support for colleagues as researchers of their discipline teaching, encouraged by his bibliographies of journals for discipline–based education.

In New Zealand Neil has been a key figure in two multi-site, nationally funded research projects: The Teaching Matters Forum and the Teaching & Learning Enhancement Initiatives as attested by numerous publications and presentations (see publications).

He has ensured currency with wider developments in educational research by attending international conferences, by inviting key figures to NZ (e.g. Fred Lockwood, Mick Healey), and in external examining and reviewing (HERDSA, ISSOTL). At the same time he has promoted indigenous perspectives through workshops and bibliographies and fostered a NZ research environment through conferences (HERDSA, TERNZ) and active membership of professional bodies.

The comprehensiveness of his contribution can be evidenced in his legacy at the two universities where he has worked. At the University of Waikato as Director of the Teaching Development Unit he inaugurated a postgraduate certificate (PGCTT) to engender a more scholarly approach to learning and teaching. More recently as Associate Professor at AUT, Neil has fostered the research-teaching nexus and built research capability from early beginnings.

Ako Aotearoa is in large part due to Neil’s energy and commitment to a national body. He was “the first who articulated the vision” (Gould, 2007), “ the pioneer visionary behind the concept” (Cullen, 2007), consulting key interest groups, making submissions and advising on structures. He was the AUT representative on the Massey-led consortium bidding to host Ako Aotearoa, and has continued to support the growing status and increasing influence of this body.

Neil’s overall contribution to research in NZ has been broad and generous and positions him as a leader in the NZ educational research community. Not for him a lifetime focus on one narrow field for publication. He belongs to the community, gives back to the community and nurtures the next generation of leaders of research. He models the research-led teaching he actively promotes, he challenges himself with emerging fields of research and shares his enthusiasm for the academic endeavours of a researcher.

Neil is a fitting recipient of the inaugural TERNZ medal for sustained contribution to the New Zealand research environment.

Cullen, M. (2007, November 1). Sharing the Knowledge of Tertiary Teaching Excellence. Retrieved from http://www.infonews.co.nz/news.cfm?id=8841
Gould, B. (2007). Ako Aotearoa Annual Report 2006-2007. Retrieved from akoaotearoa.ac.nz/download/…/n915-ako-aotearoa-annual-report-2007.pdf

HERDSA – Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia
ISSOTL – International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning
PGCTT – Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching
TERNZ – Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand

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