Tuesday 11 December 2018 10:39pm
The 2018 winners of Division of Sciences Award, each holding their prize - a glass blown sculpture in the shape of a neuron created by Anne Ryan from the Glassblowing Unit. Photo: Sharron Bennett.
The Division of Sciences recently celebrated its annual awards recognising the breadth of work undertaken across many areas of University life including research, teaching, community engagement, technical and administrative support.
Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Richard Barker presented the awards and made tribute to Emeritus Professor Keith Hunter, who recently passed away, for initiating them in 2015. Professor Barker says the awards continue to be a great way to celebrate the success of the Division.
The awards mark the end of a successful year including two of the four University Teaching Excellence Awards being awarded to Divisional staff, and the recent round of 14 Marsden funded research projects being the largest to date.
"I enjoy teaching because it is challenging, exciting, stimulating, fun and immensely rewarding."
It has also been a challenging year, and acknowledging this Dr Elaine Hargreaves received the Senior Teacher Award for her work in overseeing the curriculum overhaul of the School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science, the scale of which has not been undertaken in over 20 years.
Dr Hargreaves says she was humbled for this recognition in facilitating the development of the new curriculum including the vast amounts of paperwork involved, and acknowledged the professionalism of staff in the process that made her job much easier.
Mr Nigel Barrett from the School also received the Outstanding Administrative Support Award for his work and support during this critical period of change.
Marine Science's Dr Robert Smith, a lecturer in the Oceanography programme since February 2017, was awarded The Early Career Teacher Award. Dr Smith consistently receives outstanding teaching assessments from students and says the chance to share his passion for a subject with so many curious minds is a huge privilege.
“I enjoy teaching because it is challenging, exciting, stimulating, fun and immensely rewarding,” he says.
"I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to bridge that gap, and it turns out that you simply can’t do that from your office."
Associate Professor Rachel Zajac is the inaugural recipient of the Professional Engagement Award for her efforts to improve criminal justice outcomes by training police investigators, forensic scientists, lawyers, and judges on how memory and decision-making processes can both help and hinder criminal investigations.
It was perhaps unsurprising that Associate Professor Zajac was not available to receive the award in person, as she was in Wellington where many of the groups she works with are based.
“I’m really proud of this award. I realised very early on in my career that there was a chasm between science and practice in this area. I’ve spent the past 15 years trying to bridge that gap, and it turns out that you simply can’t do that from your office.”
Each recipient was presented with a glass blown sculpture in the shape of a neuron created by Anne Ryan from the Glassblowing Unit.
Congratulations to all the following Division of Science’s Award recipients for their mahi and contribution through the year:
Researcher of the Year: Professor Cliff Abraham (Psychology)
Early career Researcher of the Year: Dr Danny Baillie (Physics)
Research Group of the Year: Light and Matter Group (Physics)
Best Research Paper – Academic Staff: Dr Matthew Larcombe (Botany)
Best Research Paper – Postgraduate Student: Mr Timothy Bilton (Maths and Statistics)
Professional Engagement Award: Associate Professor Rachel Zajac (Psychology)
Community Award: Dr Miranda Mirosa (Food Science)
Senior Teacher of the Year: Dr Elaine Hargreaves (Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science)
Early Career Teacher of the Year: Dr Robert Smith (Marine Science)
Innovation in Māori or Pacific Islands Course Content: Associate Professor Chris Hepburn (Marine Science)
Technical Support Award: Mr Hamish Bowman (Geology)
Outstanding Administrative Support Award: Mr Nigel Barrett (Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science)
Outstanding Student Support Award: Professor Alison Cree (Zoology)