The Academic Division at the University of Otago includes:
- Distance Learning
- Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC)
- University Library
- Pacific Development
- Quality Advancement
- Summer School
- Continuing Education
- Student and Academic Services
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. In this role she was responsible for the strategic development of the University’s international profile; enriching internationalisation of the curriculum; and fostering partnerships with some of the top universities in the world so that the University of Otago sustains its role as a leading teaching and research organisation in the international arena.
Professor Nicholson was appointed 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.
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 head of the Academic Division, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s role is diverse, including strategic oversight of teaching and learning policy and practice - inclusive of academic human resources; academic programmes; Distance Learning; Higher Education Development Centre; Office of Pacific Development; Quality Advancement Unit; Summer School and Continuing Education; University Library; and Student & Academic Services (Academic Committees, Career Development Centre, Disability Information & Support, Maori Centre, Office of Student Success, Pacific Island Centre, Proctor’s Office, Social Impact Studies (Volunteer Centre), Te Whare Tawharau and University Chaplains).
As Executive Assistant, Karla provides executive support 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.
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.
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.
Dr Tasileta Teevale
Director Pacific Development
As Director of Pacific Development Tasileta is responsible for monitoring the progress of the Pacific Strategic Framework, which has been adopted by the University of Otago in December 2012. The Framework is the University’s commitment to ensuring equity in student achievement.
Tasileta has worked as an academic and within the tertiary education public sector. After graduating with a Bachelor of Physical Education degree from Otago University, Tasileta lectured in Exercise Science at UCOL, Palmerston North, completed a Masters in Business Studies from Massey University and then entered the public sector as a National and Regional Advisor for the Tertiary Education Commission. Tasileta has also worked at Manukau City Council’s Strategic Development Unit. Tasileta completed a public health doctoral degree (PhD) at the University of Auckland and is an active public health researcher with focus on Pacific family and adolescent health.
Associate Professor Ben Daniel
Head Higher Education Development Centre
Ben Daniel is Associate Professor in Higher Education, and Head of 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 in Canada. Before joining HEDC, Ben spent over a decade in the Canadian Prairies, working in the health care sector (in then Saskatoon Health Region now Saskatchewan Health Authority) as a Research Methodologist and Innovation Analyst in the office of the Vice-President Health Research and Innovation, and before that 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. He researches the value of Big Data and learning analytics in influencing the quality of learning and teaching. Also, he researches 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, and works with colleagues to provide strategic advice to the University in the areas of teaching and learning.
Acting University Librarian
Cate is currently Acting University Librarian with 25 years’ experience in the tertiary education sector. She is a member of the Library Executive Management Group and is responsible for the Library portfolio of Information Services and convenes the University of Otago Health Sciences Libraries Group.
Cate is responsible for the strategic development of Library policy and planning, and for leading, developing, maintaining and managing the provision of Library services throughout the University. She also ensures that Library services continue to be of a high standard and function effectively and economically.
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. She is the current general staff representative on the University Council.
Dr James Rodgers
Acting Director Summer School
James is currently Acting Director Summer School, with over ten years’ experience in both academic and professional roles within tertiary education. James completed his PhD in Sociology in 2016, investigating the role of prison museums in educating visitors about the history of the institutions and punishment.
As Director of Summer School, James 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.
Director Student and Academic Services
Karyn Thomson is Director of Student and Academic Services with responsibility for: Careeer Development Centre, Disability Information and Support Centre, Maori Centre, Pacific Islands Centre, Te Whare Tāwharau, The Proctors Office and Campus Watch, Academic Committees 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.
For further information
Tel +64 3 479 8883