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