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Rob Wass Photo 2MSc (Zoology), PGDipArts (Education), PhD (Otago)

Senior Lecturer

Phone: +64 3 479 7091

About Rob

I currently research questions related to the first year experience in higher education. Specifically, I am interested in; supporting the academic development of tutors using video stimulated recall, effective assessment, and peer learning. From a student focus, I am also interested in student conceptions of good teaching, and effective learning. Previously published research is in the areas of scaffolding for critical thinking, assessment, and academic writing.

I am attracted to research questions that require different methodologies and approaches. However, my research is primarily qualitative and situated within sociocultural and interpretive paradigms.


I am particularly keen to supervise students interested in projects with a focus on the 'first-year experience' or 'peer learning'. Prospective candidates should be comfortable utilising qualitative methodologies. I am happy to co-supervise students with staff from other departments.

Potential research projects

  • Positive emotions that lead to good learning outcomes
  • Experiences of tutors who are also international students
  • Development of metacognition in a peer-learning environment
  • Development of time-management strategies and note-taking strategies in a peer learning environment

Current students

  • Natheeporn Keawkhong (PhD) - Critical Thinking in Foreign Language Classroom
  • Kexin Feng (PhD) - The transitional experiences and perceptions of first-year international students from non-English speaking backgrounds in regard to academic motivation
  • Abby Spronken (MHEd)

Past students

  • Charmaine Kwan (PhD 2021) - What transpired in Fiji's Higher Education sector? A strategic development outlook from 2007 - 2017
  • Krishneel Krishna Reddy (PhD 2020) - Using student peer review to enhance a student's learning experience in higher education


Workshops for the tutor and demonstrating programme
Introduction to tutoring, Introduction to demonstrating, Tutor training for residential colleges, Enhancing your teaching practice, Support for tutor co-ordinators

Workshops for Student Learning Development
Preparing and revising for exams, critical reflection and writing an argument, oral presentation skills

Staff workshops and consultations
Large class teaching, Assessment, Peer review of teaching


Ako Aotearoa National funded project:  Embedding employability in the curriculum

About the project
The need for universities to equip their students for successful lives and careers in an uncertain and rapidly changing world is unarguable. In a collaborative effort between the University of Auckland, University of Otago and the New Zealand Association of Graduate Employers (NZAGE), this project aims to discover and disseminate pedagogies for embedding employability capabilities in advanced and research informed curricula.


Wass, R. (2023). Pedagogical strategies to foster the development of metacognition in university students [Roundtable]. Proceedings of the Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Annual Conference. 352. Retrieved from Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Wass, R., Rogers, T., Brown, K., Smith-Han, K., Tagg, J., Berg, D., & Gallagher, S. (2023). Pedagogical training for developing students’ metacognition: Implications for educators. International Journal for Academic Development, 2246442. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/1360144X.2023.2246442 Journal - Research Article

Spronken, A., & Wass, R. (2022). The implementation of pastoral care in residential colleges: First-year student and sub-warden perspectives and experiences of pastoral care. In E. Heinrich, A. Jolley & L. Rowan (Eds.), Proceedings of the Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand (TERNZ) Conference. (pp. 71-72). HERDSA Aotearoa/New Zealand. [Abstract] Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Geertshuis, S., Wass, R., & Liu, Q. (2022). Equipping graduates with future-ready capabilities: An application of learning theories to higher education. Teaching in Higher Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/13562517.2022.2137399 Journal - Research Article

Wass, R. (2022, June). Metacognitive awareness training: Personal and academic development outcomes for educators. Verbal presentation at the Higher Education Research & Development Society of Australasia (HERDSA) Annual Conference, [Hybrid]. Conference Contribution - Verbal presentation and other Conference outputs

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