The Academic Division at the University of Otago includes:
- Academic Committees and Services
- Continuing Education
- Distance Learning
- Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC)
- English Language Centre – Te Puna o te Kī
- Otago Pathway – Te Huarahi
- Quality Advancement Unit
- Student and Academic Services
- Summer School
- University Library
Professor Helen Nicholson
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)
After graduating from the University of Bristol, Professor Nicholson worked as a doctor in hospital and community settings before taking up an academic position in the Department of Anatomy at Bristol.
She moved to the University of Otago in 2000 to become Professor of Anatomy and subsequently became head of the Department of Anatomy.
In 2007 she was appointed Dean of the Otago School of Medical Sciences and in 2011 was the Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) for six months.
Professor Nicholson was appointed as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) in February 2014 and was appointed the inaugural Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) in mid-2015. This role focused on strengthening external engagement, raising the profile of the University of Otago and attracting high quality domestic and international students to study at Otago.
In January 2021, Professor Nicholson was appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic.
As head of the Academic Division, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s role is diverse. It includes strategic oversight of teaching and learning policy and practice and academic programmes, oversight of academic staff confirmation and promotion activities and the various teams which provide support to our students. The Division Comprises of: Academic Committees and Services; Higher Education Development Centre; Distance Learning; Quality Advancement Unit; University Library; English Language Centre – Te Puna o te Kī; Otago Pathway – Te Huarahi; and Student Services which includes Te Huka Mātauraka – the Māori Centre, Pacific Island Centre, Career Development Centre, Disability Information & Support, Office of Student Success, Proctor’s Office, Social Impact Studio (Volunteer Centre), Te Whare Tāwharau and University Chaplains. From the end of April 2022, it will also include Student Health and Unipol - Recreation Services.
From March 2021 – January 2022, Professor Nicholson was the Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University.
Helen’s current external appointments include membership of the Executive of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists and the Council of the National University of Samoa, she is also a member of the Governance groups for the Ageing Well and Healthier Lives National Science Challenges.
As Executive Assistant, Karla provides high-level confidential executive support and advice, and is the first point of contact for the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic.
Karla manages the Deputy Vice-Chancellor's appointments, meetings, and email correspondence, including all the administrative processes regarding the DVCs/PVCs Advisory Group and other Committees and Working Groups supported by the DVC Academic.
Karla joined the DVC Academic Office in mid 2019, having worked in various locations throughout the University since 2012.
Senior 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.
Manager 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.
Dr Sarah Stein
Director 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.
Associate Professor Ben Daniel
Head Higher Education Development Centre
Ben Daniel is Associate 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.
Dr Paul Baker
Director 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.
Director 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.
Director 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.
Director Student and Academic Services
Karyn Thomson is Director of Student and Academic Services with responsibility for: Career Development Centre, including the Social Impact Studio, Disability Information and Support Centre, Māori Centre, Pacific Islands Centre, Te Whare Tāwharau, The Proctor’s Office and Campus Watch, and the Office of Student Success. Her role also includes responsibility for consultation, oversight, and recommendations with regard to the Compulsory Student Services Fee, managing the relationship with OUSA as a third-party provider of services to students and working with the Chaplaincy Trust Board for provision of Chaplaincy Services.
Karyn started her role in the tertiary education sector as a librarian before moving to broader roles that included the full range of support services for students. She commenced in the role of Director of Student Services at the University of Otago in 2014. Karyn has a Masters of Management from Charles Sturt University, Australia.
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.
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.
For further information
Tel +64 3 479 8883