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Academic Committees and Services


What we do

The Academic Committees and Services Office (ACS) manages a range of academic and research approval processes, connected in particular to academic proposals and to human and animal ethics applications, and is available to provide advice to University staff regarding these processes.

A key task of ACS is to provide secretarial support and co-ordination for various high-level academic and research committees of the University. The committees we support include Senate, the Divisional Academic Boards for Health Sciences, Sciences, Commerce, and Humanities, the Boards of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies, the Human Ethics and Animal Ethics Committees, and the Research Committee, along with various other Committees of Senate and of the University Council.

As part of this work, we manage the approval process for academic proposals, from the Divisional level, right through to the external accreditation of new programmes at Universities New Zealand’s Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP). We also receive and process all applications for ethical approval, advising academic staff and senior students in relation to research ethics.

A Specialist from ACS is embedded within each of the four Divisions of the University. Each Specialist has a close working relationship with the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Associate Dean (Academic) and Associate Dean (Postgraduate) of their respective Division. A fifth Specialist primarily supports central academic committees and works closely with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). Central ACS staff also work closely with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) and the Dean of the Graduate Research School in relation to committees supporting research and research ethics.

Our people

Gary Witte

Manager, Academic Committees and Services Office

Matt Angel


Matt supports the Board of Undergraduate Studies (BUGS), the Board of Graduate Studies (BoGS), Senate, and Otago’s involvement with the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP).

Michelle Bennie

Senior Administrator

Michelle supports the Graduate Research Committee, Graduate Research Student Liaison Committee and Scholarships and Prizes Committee.

Janine Cockburn

Client Services Administrator (Student and Academic Services)

Janine provides administrative support to ACS on behalf of Client Services.

Rebecca Connaughton


Rebecca is embedded in the Division of Commerce, and supports the Commerce Divisional Board and Proposals Committee, Summer School and Continuing Education Board, Distance Learning Advisory Committee, and the Policy Management Group.

Jo Farron de Diaz


Jo supports both Human Ethics Committees: the Human Ethics Committee (UOHEC) and the Human Ethics Committee (Health) (UOHEC (H)).

Carol Forbes


Carol is embedded in the Division of Humanities, and supports the Humanities Divisional Board, Academic Committee and Graduate Studies Committee. She also centrally supports the Quality Advancement Committee (QAC) and Committee for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT).

Penny Harrison

Senior Administrator

Penny supports the Animal Ethics Committees for the University’s Dunedin and Christchurch campuses.

Paulette Milnes

Senior Administrator

Paulette supports the Research Committee, Human Ethics Committee and the Animal Ethics Committee.

Dr Tosh Stewart


Tosh is embedded in the Division of Health Sciences, and supports the Health Sciences Divisional Academic Board, and the Otago Medical School Postgraduate Board.

Mark Wilesmith


Mark is embedded in the Division of Sciences, and supports the Sciences Divisional Academic Board, the Division of Sciences Standing Committee, and the IT Governance Board.

Contact us

General enquiries about the work of ACS may be directed to