Selene Mize, President
Associate Professor Selene Mize is the President of the Ako Aotearoa Academy Executive Committee. She was elected President in April 2016. She has been teaching at the Faculty of Law at the University of Otago since 1985. She received the Prime Minister’s Tertiary Teaching Excellence award in 2009, and has served on the panel that selects teaching award winners as well as the Academy Executive. She trains judges in communication skills and techniques for dealing with unrepresented litigants through the Institute for Judicial Studies and trains mediators for the Samoan Lands and Titles Court.
Adrian Woodhouse, Vice President
I whakapapa back to Ngāi Tahu and since moving home 13 years ago, I have worked in the tertiary education sector, based at Otago Polytechnic. I have been privileged to have been exposed to the breadth of our sector having started teaching on Certificate programmes and later co-writing a degree which has just had it second year of graduands. I also design and deliver higher degree courses involving Assessment of Prior Learning (APL) and Work-Integrated Learning (WIL).
Since my first award, I have been actively involved in Ako Aotearoa education outreach initiatives. I have worked with colleagues from other institutions and offered customised professional development workshops. I have shared my experiences and resources with other members at Hub events, National and International meetings, and I have made myself available to provide guidance and advice to other teachers.
Being a member of the Executive Academy will afford me the opportunity to continue to build on the outreach initiatives I have been involved with. It will also enable me to take some of my work more closely with the regional hubs to develop tailored professional development programmes. I see the Academy as a central resource to drive the continued toolkit development and to continue support the delivery of quality teaching in the challenging fiscal times the sector is currently faced with. I believe my background and skills will be complementary to the other Academy members and I look forward to representing you, my fellow Ako Academy members.
I am intellectually indigenous to Victoria University, having come here straight from School and never leaving. I am now fully institutionalised, and seek to understand this “real world” people speak of through my research and teaching…
More seriously, however, I have been a member since 2008, and was a member of the first and second generation of the Academy Executive. I’ve been away for a wee while, being Head of School of Psychology at VUW, and I am currently Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning) for the Faculty of Science. I teach from pre-degree to PhD, but the highlight of my year is coordinating and teaching first-year psychology – seizing on the enthusiasm these yet-to-be-jaded almost-adults have for a subject most of them have never formally studied, and showing them they made the right decision.
What might I bring to the Exec? I’ve been there before in the heady days when we were starting up, and have built my understanding of the tertiary sector through my roles since. If I have a particular positive, it’s a long track record of working through and with media (I currently write a weekly column in the NZ Listener, among other things). I believe this may be helpful in making the vision expressed at the 2016 Symposium real, at a time when there have been changes at both Board and Operational level in the broader Ako machine.
I joined the Academy in 2015, where I have had the pleasure of meeting a diverse range of teachers who understand how critical the teacher/student relationship is for fostering what I call a “collaborative learning space”.
I have taught undergraduate students at the University of Auckland since 1992 entering in a rather osmotic way over the next years, as I combined teaching with family commitments. In 1999 I coordinated a boutique course in science communication taught to 40 students and over subsequent years developed this into a significant offering taught now to 500 students annually. I have also developed two interdisciplinary courses in science innovation and community engagement creating a small suite of courses that facilitate students’ learning to enable them to contribute as global citizens in a world of increasing complexity.
My research into collaborative learning spaces has revealed that creating this space is not only dependent on fostering positive relationships, but also relies on a supportive institutional framework that in the tertiary context, supports excellent teaching practice. I believe the Academy and its members play a pivotal leadership role in guiding the direction of tertiary teaching practice in New Zealand. The current discussions on accreditation are an important step in developing a vision to guide the Academy’s direction and I wish to contribute to the shaping of this vision. I am actively interested in initiatives that recognise excellent teaching through teaching awards and through promotional pathways that in many institutions are still largely afforded for research not teaching excellence
It is an honour and a pleasure to serve on the Executive Committee of the Academy. I won a national excellence award in 2006 and, although I have been trying the ‘pay it forward’ to students since, I feel it is now time to ‘pay it back’! More to the point, however I feel that I have the required energy and love of tertiary education to make a positive and dynamic contribution to the perpetuation and fostering of innovative and engaging practice across the sector in our country.
I am a human geographer and development studies professor who publishes on Latin America and the Pacific Islands and currently hold two Marsden Fund grants in these areas. I recently completed, with Prof John Overton, Geographies of Globalization (2nd edition) published by Routledge and have been Editor of a number of scholarly journals. My main area of interest in pedagogic terms is the concept of ‘virtual fieldwork’ which I hope to develop over the coming years as a means of transporting students to the field that will complement real fieldwork - which students enjoy and learn from so much. Most importantly, I can play the banjo at meetings. For free.
I became a part of the Academy in 2016 and I have been blown away by diverse talents and generosity of spirit of its members.
I spent 14 years teaching in the Business Faculty of Unitec Institute of Technology across a number of subjects, most of which related to information systems. I’m fascinated by the different teaching approaches employed by my peers and turned my attention towards education as a discipline.
Nowadays I combine my technical background with my passion for education to explore the benefits that digital technologies can have on learning. I moved from the Business Faculty to join our academic support unit in 2015 and now occupy the position of eLearning Leader, overseeing eLearning for the Institution. This has been an exciting change for me as I am able to bring an academic voice to important institutional decision making processes. My team and I are responsible for the redesign of our now leading edge collaborative teaching spaces in addition to supporting teaching staff with all our digital learning platforms. Meanwhile, I still get to teach on our Graduate Diploma of Higher Education.
I tend to have a positive outlook and look to create opportunities out of challenges. I believe I have the experience and a unique skill set that could help the Academy to move forward and continue to have a real impact in the ever-changing educational landscape we find ourselves in.
I am a Professional Practice Fellow at the University of Otago. I teach human anatomy to science and vocational students that take courses such as medicine and physiotherapy. I came to Otago from Whakatane in 2001, and for 3 years I was pretty much the worst (but also not atypical) kind of student. I partied. I drank. I didn’t regularly go to class because I wasn’t engaged and I didn’t really know why I was even at University, let alone have an awareness of what I wanted to do with my life. That was until two transformational educators changed my perspectives. One showed me through her inspirational teaching that the human body was a tool in so many ways to communicate how we interact with the world. Another took a chance on this very average student because I was interested in her research and agreed to take me on for Postgraduate study. Along the way, she mentored me while I began to dip my toes in teaching. The rest, as they say, is history.
I am brand new to the Academy, but already feel a very strong sense of community, even if my interactions have been brief. However, prior to being made a member, I had little knowledge of the existence of this group of educational leaders. Perhaps if had I known more about this group and the immense wealth of expertise it holds, I could have made approaches and collaborations that would have enhanced my teaching and the experiences for my students and colleagues even earlier than now. If elected, this is something I would help change by bringing our collective experience and ideas and passion for teaching to the attention of the wider tertiary education community and create an exciting, innovative and supportive network among our peers.
Eric Pawson, Editor, Limelight Newsletter
Eric Pawson is Professor of Geography at the University of Canterbury. He is particularly interested in active pedagogies, including problem-based and community-based learning. He leads courses using these approaches to contribute to post-earthquake recovery in Christchurch. He has published a number of books, including the recently co-edited Making A New Land, Environmental Histories of New Zealand (2013). He is a registered auditor with the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities.
Eric was the Present of the Ako Aotearoa Academy for 18 months with his tenure ending in April 2016.
Kelly Pender, Māori Caucus Liaison
Tēnā koutou katoa
Ko Mataatua raua ko Te Arawa toku waka
Ko Whakatōhea raua ko Te Arawa toku iwi
Ko Ngāi Tamahaua raua ko Ngāti Rangiwewehi toku hapu
No Tauranga toku kainga inaianei, engari
Ko Te Kuratini o Poike toku mahi
Ko Kelly Pender toku ingoa
As an adult educator, I’m proud of the teaching and learning journey I’ve experienced thus far and appreciative for the opportunity to be in a chapter in the lives of many students. Teaching on the Cert4Fitness programme at Bay of Plenty Polytechnic is not only my profession but also a hobby that I am deeply motivated and passionate about. I am grateful to Ako for the opportunities and have enjoyed being able to give back wherever possible.
Academy Liaison - Amy Fitzgerald
Amy is the Academy's part-time administrator and immediate point of contact. She has a number of roles, including production of Limelight. Her experience in organising and running large scale conferences is an invaluable skill when it comes to coordinating and managing the Academy's annual symposium. Amy is the managing director and founder of Flow Events Ltd, experts in sustainble and green events.