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Professional Practice Fellow Kaye Wilson Retires

Tuesday 27 July 2021 12:00am

Kaye Wilson, who has been Teaching Fellow and Professional Practice Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry for 27 years, retired on Friday the 9th July. The occasion was marked by a morning tea and dinner.

Kaye began in the Department in 1994 with responsibility for secondary schools liaison and outreach. She had previously had a career as a secondary school science teacher, including as HOD Sciences at Otago Girls High School. She promptly set about developing relationships between the Department and science teachers throughout New Zealand, but particularly with those in the Otago area. Kaye arranged for school visits to the Department so students could get an idea of what working in science was all about; she set up and ran the Biochemistry "Hands on Science" events where high school students come to the University on a type of "Summer Camp" and try out activities in various disciplines; and she was Chief Judge of the Otago Science Fair for many years.

At the beginning of Kaye's time with us, teaching was primarily the job of academic research staff. With the advent of the new first year Biochemistry paper and increasing student numbers  teaching responsibilities increased and the move towards employing specialist teachers was made. Kaye became a permanent Teaching Fellow in 1997, running and assessing 200-level laboratory courses, conducting student tutorials, and helping with the development of new laboratory exercises and course books. 

Since then she has been promoted to Senior Teaching Fellow, had that title switched to Professional Practice Fellow, and taken over the lead administrative role for all of the 200-level papers we offer. She has written and rewritten all their laboratory manuals and tested the protocols within, prepared reports by the dozen, helped organise conferences, served as secretary to the Institutional Biological Safety Committee, and generally become part of the backbone of the Department.

But much more than this, Kaye has been THE key person in the department when it comes to the pastoral care of our students. Her warmth and genuine concern for the students under her care are legendary, as well as her teaching skills - student feedback has always been littered with comments such as "Kaye rocks", "I look forward to my tutorials each week, you explain things really well", and even "Kaye Wilson for Prime Minister".

We wish Kaye the very best for her retirement - plenty of gardening and bridge, and maybe a new house to decorate.

Liz gives Kaye wine and flowers
Associate Professor Liz Ledgerwood presents Kaye with wine and flowers after her last laboratory class on the 21st May.

Catherine Kaye and Nurit at Kaye's retirement morning tea
Ex HOD Professor Catherine Day talks to Kaye and Undergraduate Laboratory Manager Nurit Reichman at Kaye's farewell morning tea.

Kaye's retirement cakes
We really wish she hadn't decided to retire! Morning tea cakes.

Sally gives Kaye flowers
HOD Professor Sally McCormick presents Kaye with flowers at the morning tea.