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Helping each other PASS

Friday 29 October 2021

PASS Image

Students are passing along their knowledge to support others' academic success.

Peer Learning Programmes such as Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) and Peer Assisted Numeracy (PAN) are weekly interactive study sessions aimed at supporting student success, facilitated by second or third-year students.

Read the full article in Te Aka Tauria

PASS Awards night 2020

Written by Tracy Rogers

On Thursday, 24th September, just in time for Level 1 resuming, we had our annual PASS awards evening. The event was hosted by the University's Executive Residence where Rodney and his staff put on a beautiful spread of food and drinks, with gorgeous cherry blossoms as the backdrop.

Every year, the PASS awards night provides an opportunity to recognise the amazing support PASS facilitators provide to first-year students. The PASS mentors handle the difficult task of selecting the award winners. They draw on their observations of sessions, peer observation notes, and student feedback to inform their choice of junior and senior facilitators who have excelled in creating effective learning support. This year, we added two additional awards, Online PASS Junior Facilitator and Online PASS Senior Facilitator, to acknowledge the work of exceptional facilitators when PASS shifted online during COVID-19 lockdown in semester one.

Photo of PASS Awards 2020
PASS mentors Tyler, Pip, Olivia and Aprille with PASS academic co-leaders
Tracy and Rob, and PASS administrator Curtis.

The evening was particularly special because semester one PASS facilitators and mentors were formally recognised for winning the HERDSA Higher Education Heroes national award. Ben Daniel, HEDC's Head of Department presented these awards.

Photo of PASS Awards 2020 2
PASS facilitator Daniel Leaper receives his HE Heroes award from Ben Daniel.

Huge congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to a team of exceptional young people who are valued by their peers for their enthusiasm, approachability, and ability to unpack difficult concepts.
The 2020 PASS award winners are as follows:
Junior PASS Facilitator of the Year – Duncan Campbell
Senior PASS Facilitator of the Year – Mitch Smith and Philip Trebilco
Online PASS Junior Facilitator – Hannah Burlinson
Online PASS Senior Facilitator – Daniel Leaper
Outstanding Commerce Facilitator – Lydia Farrell
Outstanding Humanities Facilitator – Caitlin Thompson
Outstanding Sciences Facilitator – Aimee Murrell
Outstanding HSFY Facilitator – Macy Cattell
Facilitators' Choice Award – Natasha Tan
Students' Choice Award – Hayden Nelson
Mentors' Choice Award – Shreya Bir
Above and Beyond Award – Adithi Alexander
Divisional PASS team of the Year – Commerce (Amanda Sim, Claire Allan, Giullia Gasparotto da Silva, Kymberlee Choie, Lachie McLean, Lexi Yee, Lydia Farrell, Nikita Raman)

Photo of PASS Awards 2020 3
Divisional Team winners - from left, Giullia, Lexi, Olivia (mentor), Amanda,
Lachie, and Lydia. Absent: Kymberlee, Nikita, Claire

The evening ended with a fun 'pub' quiz devised by the mentor team. And, the best part is that the whole team gets to celebrate their success again on Saturday, 10th October when they go on a sunset cruise with Monarch Wildlife Cruise. The team decided to spend their $1000 HE Heroes award money on a local tourism business that has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 travel restrictions. A fitting end to a rather bumpy year for PASS, staff, and students.

Photo of PASS Awards 2020 4
Some friendly competition during the quiz

National award for Otago's PASS team

HEDC PASS team 2020 image 1x
Members of Otago's PASS team celebrate the award recognising their work during the COVID-19 lockdown. Photo credit: Sharron Bennett.

Otago's Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) has been awarded the national Higher Education Heroes Award for its “exceptional quality of learning support care” during the country-wide COVID-19 lockdown.

In announcing the award, the Higher Education Research and Development Society Australasia (HERDSA) New Zealand branch said the committee was unanimous and enthusiastic in its decision to offer the award to PASS.

“In times of such uncertainty, the PASS team provided continuity and community and did so with a high level of commitment and creativity.”

PASS is an international peer-led supplementary instruction programme and has been offering free support to all students in first year papers for the past 12 years. It draws on the expertise of successful second or third-year students to coordinate interactive study sessions for selected papers. There are currently 44 members of the PASS team - 7 mentors and 37 facilitators – supporting about 2,000 students. The programme is overseen by Dr Tracy Rogers and Dr Rob Wass, from the Higher Education Development Centre.

Dr Rogers says she is thrilled the team members have been formally recognised for their “dedication and generosity”.

“Aside from providing critical academic skills development, the PASS facilitators provided valuable pastoral care and well-being support to their students during the COVID-19 lockdown. They accomplished this while also coping with their adjustment to online learning and the stresses of lockdown restrictions.

“We are really pleased that the HERDSA New Zealand Committee provided this wonderful opportunity to officially acknowledge the unique role PASS facilitators performed in helping students cope during a difficult and stressful time.”

The team reacted swiftly to the Alert Level 4 announcement, she says.

“Undoubtedly, teaching online, via Zoom, was a new challenge or experience for many at the University of Otago, and elsewhere. However, unlike most teaching staff, the PASS facilitators and mentors were also juggling full-time study.

“The PASS team ran 60 online sessions per week for the remainder of the semester with not a single mishap nor cancelled session. Fortnightly training and debrief sessions were held with the team to ensure everyone was well supported.”

While the $1,000 prize money is appreciated, the recognition is especially important, Dr Rogers says.

“The remarkable support, talent, and care demonstrated by student-staff such as PASS facilitators is often overlooked outside student support and academic development units.

“The COVID-19 lockdown provided a unique opportunity for Rob and I to observe and truly appreciate the gift of kindness and generosity these young people provide to their peers.”

The team is still deciding how it will spend the $1,000 prize money, which HERDSA NZ asked to be spent locally to acknowledge the hardship local businesses have endured due to COVID-19.

NZ Scholars 2020

Photo of 2020 NZ ScholarsEach year, the HEDC provides an academic orientation for incoming postgraduate NZ Scholars. These students are NZ Government scholarship recipients, and they come from countries across the Asia and Pacific region, as well as from the African continent. NZ Scholars return to their countries following their studies – many, to high level leadership positions.

Who are these dudes?

Photo of PostgradExpo teamMove over Snoop Dog!

Some of our lovely PhD students and staff manned (and womanned) our Student Learning Development booth at the Postgraduate Support and Success Expo in the Main Common Room on 3 October, 2019.  The expo was organised by the Otago Postgraduate Association and offered new postgraduate students information on what to expect on their thesis journey and where to go to get help and support.

PASS Awards Night 2019

Photo of 2019 PASS AwardsOn Thursday, 19 September, we celebrated the amazing work our PASS facilitators and mentors do for undergraduate students. The event was hosted at Lone Star, and included a rather entertaining team quiz hosted by Robbie Bradshaw, one of our mentors.

Rob Wass, leader of the PASS team, opened the event with a speech highlighting the accomplishments of the revised 2019 PASS programme. These included the re-branding of PASS with the assistance of Marketing and Communications; inclusion of three new papers (including a level 2 paper); comprehensive professional development for PASS facilitators; and the streamlining of the recruitment process for new facilitators, to name but a few.

Following dinner, the mentors announced the award winners for 2019. The award recipients were:
Photo of Viktor Lik De ChunPremier award for senior facilitator – Clare Sullivan
Premier award for junior facilitator – Claire Allan
Premier team award – Law (Annie Grimes, Mitch Smith, & Philip Trebilco)
Divisional award for Humanities/Law – Annie Grimes
Divisional award for Sciences – Brandon Nunns
Divisional award for Commerce – Nina Foley
Divisional award for HSFY – Joshua Chin & Shreya Bir
Student choice award – Pani Papaioannou
Facilitator choice award – Viktor Lik De Chun
Mentor choice award – Hayden Nelson
Staff choice award – Viktor Lik De Chun

Every year, there are also some 'joke awards' to acknowledge unusual contributions to PASS. Annie Grimes was awarded the 'Bambi Award' for being the most accident-prone facilitator. The 'Rebounder Award' went to Shreya Bir who is returning as a facilitator for the fourth year (she just loves facilitating PASS). Tim McDonnell received the “Ultimate Multitasker” award for juggling six papers and facilitating PASS. And lastly, Tyler Broome won the “Creativity Award” for his 'Tinder' profile activity for a Classics paper on slaves, gladiators, and prostitutes.

The evening ended with a farewell to four mentors who will be leaving PASS at the end of this year. Jesse Lewis, Ben Smith, Robbie Bradshaw, and Max Lynch have been with PASS for a number of years as facilitators and mentors. As mentors, they have contributed hugely to the ongoing training of facilitators, helped with professional development opportunities (e.g., observations of facilitators), assisted in the recruitment of new facilitators, and hosted social events. The PASS team will miss them greatly. Stepping into their shoes will be Clare Sullivan, Tyler Atkinson, Olivia Samson, Annie Grimes (semester 1) and Pip Dwyer (semester 2). They will be guided by returning PASS mentors, Aprille Mincher and Andrea van Turnhout.

Rob and Tracy would like to acknowledge the amazing support offered by Curtis Day, Jacqueline Fraser, Kerry Scarf, and Julie Timmermans. It is due to strong team cohesion that PASS 2019 has been a huge success!

Graduation 17 August 2019

Photo of Belinda and Raewyn pre graduationIt's always good to celebrate with our lovely postgraduate students when they reach the end of their PhD journey. This time it was the turn of Belinda Dawson and Raewyn Lesa to don the PhD garb and cross the stage - but first they, their supervisors and other HEDC staff joined them at the University pre-graduation brunch.

Photo of Belinda Dawson with her supervisorsPhoto of Raewyn Lesa with her supervisors

Changing the Guard at HEDC

Photo of HoD handover - Tony and BenNeither Christopher Robin nor Alice were there but, nevertheless, on 18 July, we held a little celebratory event to mark the handover of the role of Head of Department.  Tony Harland, who took over as HoD in July 2012, shakes hands with new HoD Ben Daniel.

Graduation 18 May 2019

Grad-process-May2019The weather played nice on May 18, so our two distance MHEd students, Anna Wheeler and Jennifer Weavers, were able to enjoy our attractive Dunedin campus and the procession.  They were joined by one of our academic staff members, Russell Butson, who graduated with his PhD.  Another of our postgrads, Naoko Inoue, also graduated with her PhD, but in absentia.

Dr Vivienne Anderson, Dr Julie Timmermans and Professor Kerry Shephard, along with other members of HEDC staff, joined the graduating group at the Graduation Brunch in the Link.


A PhD first

Rachel Tan first to ring bellOn Monday 25 March, Rachel Tan, became the first postgraduate student to ring the bell in the quadrant to announce her PhD submission.  Rachel admitted that she had to give the bell a hefty thwack with the mallet, but it was an unexpected honour to be the first to do so.  And, of course, she received her chocolate fish to complete the occasion. One might say the day was "sweet as"!  (Photographer: Charmaine Kwan, HEDC)

Photo of Rachel Tan at thesis submission

Graduation December 2018

Two HEDC PhD postgraduate students graduated on December 15th - Farhana Abu Bakar and Kim Brown

.Graduation Dec 18

'Celebrating Higher Education Symposium' Photo Highlights

Conf 14Conf 13Conf 12Conf 11Conf 10Conf 9Conf 8Conf 7Conf 6Conf 5Conf 4Conf 3Conf 2Conf 1

Christmas comes early at HEDC

Christmas came early for HEDC's postgraduate students recently when they met for a pre-Christmas celebration lunch at Nandos.  Great fun was had by all by the look of the photos!

Postgrad lunch 1Postgrad lunch 2aPostgrad lunch 3

Spring has sprung

HEDC postgraduate students enjoyed an afternoon in the sun on Friday 14 September.  They met outside the Clocktower to watch fellow student, Naoko Inoue, perform in the drumming group O-Taiko.  The group's performance was to celebrate the arrival of cherry blossom at the University.  Thanks to Nick Baker, PhD Student from HEDC, for these stunning photos:

August Graduation

Congratulations to our following five students who graduated on 18th August.  We wish you all the very best:

HEDC Students:
Hamid Mahroeian - PhD
Wee Chun Tan - PhD (graduated in absentia)
Verena Tilson-Scoble – MA (Higher Education)

HEDC Co-supervised students:
Lakshmi Chellapan - PhD
Rafaela Rabello - PhD

August 2018 Graduation 1

From left to right: Professor Tony Harland, Associate Professor Ben Daniel, Hamid Mahroeian, Dr Viv Anderson

August 2018 Graduation 3

From left to right: Rachel Tan, Raewyn Lesa, Naoko Inoue, Hamid Mahroeian, Dr Tracy Rogers, Dr Viv Anderson

August 2018 Graduation 2

From Left to right: Raewyn Lesa, Lakshmi Chellapan, Hamid Mahroeian

Winter Pot-luck Dinner

Staff and postgraduate students came together on Friday night to share food from their home countries and to socialise.  HEDC's Seminar Room was transformed into a winter wonderland with fairy lights, bare tree branches and even snow (albeit paper!).

Winter Dinner 2Winter Dinner 4

Supervisor of the Year AwardSarah Stein

The overall winner of the OUSA Supervisor of the Year award is one of our affiliated staff members, Dr Sarah Stein.  Congratulations, Sarah!

Read the Bulletin report about the ceremony here.

Postgrads' Birthday CelebrationPostgrad Birthday Celebration

HEDC's postgraduate students recently met in the Staff Club for a communal birthday celebration for those students who have had a birthday so far this year.  Coffee and chocolate cake was the order of the day and much fun was had by all.  This is to be a regular event in the Postgraduates' event calendar.

Thank you afternoon teaThank you afternoon tea 2

HEDC staff gathered recently for an afternoon tea to thank two academic staff members for looking after HEDC while the Head of Department, Professor Tony Harland was on RSL.  Associate Professor Clinton Golding was thanked for being the Acting Head of Department and Dr Vivienne Anderson was thanked for being Deputy Head of Department.

17th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies (ECRM), Rome 2018

Associate Professor Ben Daniel recently attended the above Conference in Rome and received double recognition for teaching and research within the ARM programme.  Well done Ben!

Ben's Awards from Rome Conference

Ben's Awards from Rome Conference 2

40th Anniversary Celebration

Staff Photo 2

HEDC Staff and students came together last week for morning tea to celebrate HEDC's 40th Anniversary.  This photo was taken in between showers and wind gusts!

Photo from left to right - back row: Kim Brown, Russell Butson, Nave Wald, Kerry Shephard, Hamid Mahroeian, Nick Baker, Pauline Brook, Rob Wass, Stew Hibbert.
Middle row: Farhana Abu Bakar, Joanne Smith, Naoko Inoue, Joyce Koh, Glory Ndukwe, Carole Scott, Tracy Rogers, Marcia Botafogo, Julie Timmermans, Salmah Kassim, Farah Shawkat,
Carole Acheson, Richard Zeng.  Front row: Vijay Mallan, Ben Daniel, Tony Harland, Clinton Golding, Viv Anderson
(Missing: Candi Young, Charmaine Kwan, Emma Osborne, Krishneel Reddy, Pam Melgren, Rachel Tan, Raewyn Lesa, Senorita John)
Photo by Sharron Bennett Photography.

May GraduationGraduation May 2018

Congratulations to our following five students who graduated on 19th May.  We wish you all the very best:

Rebecca Bird - MHEd
Mary Furnari - PhD
Nadine Hoskins - MHEd
Swee Kin Loke – PhD
Jasbir Singh – MHEd

(Photo from left to right: Associate Professor Clinton Golding, Dr Mary Furnari, Dr Vivienne Anderson)

Celebrating Higher Education Symposium

HEDC will host a 'Celebrating Higher Education Symposium' on 14th and 15th November this year in the St. David's Lecture Theatre Complex.  Themes include: reflection on higher education in the past, interrogation of current higher education policy and practice and imagining higher education futures.  Registration opens soon - check our home page.

Associate Professor joins HEDC

Joyce Koh's Arrival in Dunedin

HEDC warmly welcomes Associate Professor Joyce Koh from Singapore, who has just arrived in Dunedin to join the department as a specialist researcher in educational technology.

(Photo from left to right: Sarah Harland, Associate Professor Joyce Koh, Professor Tony Harland)

HEDC 40th Anniversary

Higher Education Development Centre Celebrates 40 Years

A brief history of the Higher Education Development Centre

From a growing interest in learning about university teaching, the suggestion to set up a research centre to study higher education was made in 1971 by the University's Lecturers' Association. In 1973 an Audio Visual Learning Centre (AVLC) was formed and Terry Crooks, a lecturer in the Education Department carried out research and provided advice for academics on teaching and learning. In 1976 Senate established a Higher Education Research and Advisory Centre (HERAC) that merged with the AVLC in 1978 to create a new academic department, the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC).

Throughout the 80s and early 90s there was a strong emphasis on teaching aids and the use of educational technology, alongside research-led academic development to help teachers. However, from the mid-90s, HEDC began a period of transformation. The first change was the introduction in 1996 of a formal course in tertiary teaching which has since grown into a suite of postgraduate qualifications and a strong Masters and PhD programme. The second change came in 1998 with the inclusion of undergraduate support and a new emphasis on student learning development. A few years later, with the expansion of the University's postgraduate students, the department introduced dedicated programmes for this group. HEDC now has three main constituencies: academic staff and both postgraduate and undergraduate students. As might be expected, the educational technology side of HEDC has gone through some major revolutions, starting with visual aids and video production, then designing and building web applications, and latterly to data analytics and big data. Until 2017, HEDC also assisted the University and staff with teacher and course evaluations but this function now resides with the Quality Advancement Unit.

In 2000, Chris Heath began a process of re-focusing staff on producing high quality research as the foundation for academic development. HEDC is now one of the leading higher education research departments with a worldwide reputation. A more holistic vision for academic development also came into being in the early 2000s. Instead of focusing solely on teaching, the department developed a new model to support academics in their research, teaching and service. In other words, it recognised that all academic tasks are closely linked and that often advice is needed across the complex spectrum of academic work. HEDC staff also have close collaborations with various professional staff groups across the institution and work with senior management to help the University achieve its goals.

Tony Harland
Professor of Higher Education
Head of Department
Higher Education Development Centre

New NZ Scholars with their Senior Mentors

NZ Scholars and mentors 2018In February, the HEDC provided an academic orientation programme for 15 postgraduate NZ Scholars (NZ Aid and ASEAN scholarship recipients) commencing their studies at the University of Otago. The students come from Oceania and South-East Asia, and will be based in departments across the university. We wish them all the very best for their studies!

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