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The Academic Division at the University of Otago includes:

Our people

Professor Phil Bremer

Professor Phil BremerDeputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic (Acting)

Poutoko Taiea Distinguished Professor Bremer teaches and researches in the Department of Food Science, where he specialises in enhancing the safety, quality, flavour attributes and shelf-life of foods, and the reduction of food waste, among other things.

He is the Chief Scientist for the New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre, the President of the New Zealand Institute for Food Science and Technology and a former President of both the New Zealand Microbiological Society and the New Zealand Association for Food Protection.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic (Acting)

Amanda Mabon

Amanda Mabon imageExecutive Assistant

As Executive Assistant, Amanda provides high-level confidential executive support and advice, and is the first point of contact for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic.

Amanda manages the Deputy Vice-Chancellor's appointments, meetings, and email correspondence, including all the administrative processes regarding the DVC s/ PVC s Advisory Group and other committees and working groups supported by the DVC Academic.

Amanda joined the DVC Academic Office in March 2023, having worked as an Executive Assistant in the University since 2000.

Amanda Mabon
Executive Assistant to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
Tel +64 3 479 8883

Michael Swanson

Michael Swanson image 2021Senior Analyst Research and Policy (Student Development)

Michael joined the Academic Divisional office in May 2019 as the Senior Research and Policy Analyst. In this role, Michael provides strategic research and policy advice and analysis in support of the delivery of the University's strategic objectives.

Prior to this posting Michael was a Business Development Advisor at Otago Polytechnic, where he played a role in developing commercial relationships and commercialising the services offered by the Polytechnic. Prior to that Michael was a Senior Advisor with Education New Zealand in Wellington, and a Private Secretary for International Education to the Minister for Tertiary Education. Michael has a Masters of International Studies (with a focus on Australian and New Zealand Defence relations with South-East Asia) from the University of Otago.

Michael Swanson
Senior Analyst Research and Policy, Academic Division
Tel +64 3 479 8985

Gary Witte

Gary Witte image 2021Manager Academic Committees and Services

Gary is the Manager of the Academic Committees and Services Office within the Academic Division. Academic Committees and Services provides support, advice to various stakeholders and secretarial services to many of the University's central committees, including Senate, Committees of Senate, Divisional Boards and some sub-committees of the Council.

The office is organised into two broad areas: teaching and learning support, which includes Specialists who are embedded in each of the academic divisions and centrally in the Academic Committees and Services Office to support the quality assurance, approval and reporting processes for new and changing programmes and papers together with related activities; and research support, which supports research and research compliance related committees which include the provision of support to animal research ethics committees and human ethics committees. Academic Committees and Services also leads and manages the provision of advice and support to researchers for human participant research ethics review and approval.

Gary Witte
Manager Academic Committees and Services
Tel +64 3 479 8256

Dr Sarah Stein

Sarah Stein imageDirector Distance Learning

Sarah's past work experience has been as a primary school teacher, a curriculum advisor working with teachers in both primary and secondary schools, and, most recently, as an academic staff developer in universities in Australia and New Zealand. Before commencing as Director, Distance Learning, Sarah worked in the University of Otago's Higher Education Development Centre and maintains her connection with HEDC through research projects and supervision of postgraduate students.

Sarah's research is in teaching, learning, curriculum and evaluation in higher education settings, with specific foci on technology and science education, student evaluations, teacher professional development.

Dr Sarah Stein
Director Distance Learning
Tel +64 3 479 5809

Professor Ben Daniel

Ben Daniel ImageHead Higher Education Development Centre

Ben Daniel is a Professor in Higher Education and Head of the Department of the Higher Education Development Centre at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He obtained his PhD in 2007, jointly in Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED) and Educational Technology from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. Before joining HEDC, Ben spent over a decade in the Canadian Prairies, working in the health care sector, in what was then Saskatoon Health Region (SHR)—now Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). While with SHA, he worked as a Research Methodologist and Innovation Analyst in the Office of the Vice-President Health Research and Innovation. Before this role, Ben worked in the software industry as a Knowledge Management Software Architect and Learning Specialist.

In HEDC, Ben leads academic development programmes in Research Methodology (Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods) and Educational Technology and supervises postgraduate students in these areas. His primary research examines the value of Big Data and learning analytics in influencing the quality of learning and teaching. In addition, he is investigating what constitutes "best practice teaching" in research methods.

Ben has Professional memberships with the International Society for Artificial Intelligence in Education (IAIED), The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) (Learning Technologies) and the Association for the Advancement of Computers in Education (AACE).

As the head of HEDC, Ben is responsible for overseeing the operational and strategic directions of HEDC, including Student Learning Development (SLD), and works with colleagues to provide strategic advice to the University in the areas of teaching and learning.

Professor Ben Daniel
Director Higher Education Development Centre ( HEDC )
Tel +64 3 479 5362

Dr Paul Baker

Paul Baker image 2021Director English Language Centre – Te Puna o te Kī

After completing his doctorate at the University of Otago in 1995, Paul embarked on a career in teaching English to speakers of other languages which now spans more than 25 years. After several leadership roles including Assistant Head of Studies and Head of Academic Programmes, Paul was appointed Academic Manager of the University of Otago Language Centre in 2010, responsible for the operation, management and quality of all Language Centre programmes. He was appointed to the role of Director, English Language Centre │ Te Puna o te Kī in 2021.

The Language Centre delivers a variety of English-language programmes both face-to-face, in purpose built facilities on campus, and online to students around the world. Students can take the next step on their academic journey through the Language Centre through programmes designed to lead either into Pathway or directly into both undergraduate and postgraduate study at Otago (English for Otago). The Centre also provides shorter-term English-language programmes to international institutional partners and universities to assist them in their own English-language programmes.

Dr Paul Baker
Director English Language Centre – Te Puna o te Kī
Tel +64 3 479 5869

Garry Chronican

Garry Chronican image 2021Director Otago Pathway – Te Huarahi

After graduating from the University of Otago, Garry started his career teaching high school Mathematics. He progressed to Head of Department Mathematics, Deputy Principal and Director of International Students. During that time, he had stints as a Mathematics Adviser and Assessment Facilitator at the Dunedin College of Education.

Garry was appointed as Academic Manager, University of Otago Foundation Year in 2014. In that role he was responsible for the operation and management of the Foundation Year Academic Division and ensuring excellence across all facets of the teaching and learning programmes. He was appointed to the position of Director Otago Pathway │ Te Huarahi in 2021.

Garry Chronican
Director Otago Pathway – Te Huarahi
Tel +64 3 479 8734

Dr Stephen Scott

Stephen Scott imageHead of Office of Student Success

Stephen is Head of Office of Student Success and is of Ngāti Whātua and English descent. He has a background of Zoology teaching and student support at the University of Otago. In the Division of Sciences, he held the positions of Kaitautoko Whakamātau (Māori support) and Manutaki Tuarua Māori (Associate Dean Māori) for several years where he developed and supported Science Wānanga, the Sciences Kaiāwhina support network, and programmes to support Māori Science student success. Stephen also worked with a number of caring staff in 2009 to develop the Locals Collegiate Community which supports students that choose to go flatting or live at home in their first year at Otago.

He was appointed as the Director, First Year Experience, in 2016 and developed the Academic Orientation programme for the University of Otago. In this position his research focused is on the use of institutional data to investigate first-year student engagement, retention, wellbeing and success with a focus on indigenous students.  In his current role, Stephen now has the mandate to investigate opportunities to support student success across the whole University.

Stephen Scott
Tumuaki, Te Tari Tuata (Head of Office of Student Success)
Tel +64 21 267 2674

Margaret Morgan

Margaret MorganDirector Quality Advancement

Margaret Morgan is the Director, Quality Advancement and leads the Quality Advancement Unit (QAU) which has responsibility for the University's ongoing cycle of academic and administrative reviews, core institutional student and graduate opinion surveys, quality forums, improvement grants, external academic audit and liaison with the Academic Quality Agency for New Zealand Universities (AQA).

Margaret has an MA (Otago) and DipArch/RecMgmt (Monash). She has held a variety of administrative roles at the University and joined the QAU as its first Director in November 2010.

Margaret Morgan
Director Quality Advancement
Tel +64 3 479 8229

Jo Gibson

Director Student ExperienceJo Gibson image

Jo is the Director Student Experience at the University of Otago, a role she has held since her arrival in New Zealand in June 2019.  Prior to this Jo worked for twenty years in Student Services/Student Experience focused roles in universities and charities in the UK, following roles in sports coaching (mostly soccer) in the UK and USA.

Student Experience includes responsibility for Student Administration (academic integrity, admissions, course and records management, examinations, graduation, research/doctoral administration, scholarships awards and prizes), Student Development, and Timetables.

Jo holds a BSc (Hons) Sport & Exercise Science degree, an MA in Student Support & Management, the PRINCE2 Foundation & Practitioner project management qualification, and will complete an MSc in Management & Law (International Business) in 2022. Jo holds the A1 Assessor qualification, and in the UK Jo assessed vocational qualifications focussed on advice and guidance. Jo is an England Athletics qualified run leader and guide runner (supporting visually impaired runners). Jo is a member of the Sport Otago Board, an elected member of the ATEM Aotearoa Regional Committee, and continues to input to a number of UK-based student experience and sport related boards

Tel +64 212 79 5137

Claire Gallop

Claire Gallop 2022 imageDirector Student Services

Claire Gallop is Director of Student Services which covers a wide range of support services for students. Claire has responsibility for the Proctor's Office and Campus Watch, Student Health, Recreation Services, Māori Centre, Pacific Islands, Disability Information and Support, Career Development Centre, Including the Social Impact Studio, and Te Whare Tāwharau. Her role also includes responsibility for oversight of the Compulsory Student Services Fee and managing the relationship with OUSA as a provider of services for student services as well as working with the Chaplaincy Trust Board for the provision of Chaplaincy Services.

Claire began her University Career at the University of Auckland where she gained an MA(Hons) in Political Studies. She has had a variety of academic and professional roles at the University of Otago and started as Director of Student Services in 2022.

Tel +64 3 479 8355
Mob +64 21 0369 668

Summer School and Continuing Education – To be advised

Acting Director Summer School

The Director of Summer School is responsible for the planning, development and operation of the annual Summer School teaching period, maintaining a robust and viable programme in accord with policy, best practice, and the overall interests of the university.  The role currently has oversight of the University's Continuing Education Programme.

Director Summer School
Tel +64 3 479 9181

Mike Wall

Mike Wall image 2021University Librarian

Mike is the University Librarian with responsibility for the strategic direction of library services, including the Hocken Collection, six physical libraries and the digital services and infrastructure that contributes to the University's research, education, and external engagement.

He joined the University in 2021 and has over 30 years of experience in libraries in the UK, including at the universities of Bristol and Durham, leading service transformation especially related to digital content delivery, research information and library space design.

Mike Wall
University Librarian
Tel +64 3 479 8933

For further information

Tel +64 3 479 8883

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