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New Associate Dean (Pacific) in the Division of Sciences

Tuesday 8 November 2016 8:29pm

Dr Mele Taumoepeau.

Dr Mele Taumoepeau has been appointed as inaugural Associate Dean (Pacific) in the Division of Sciences.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Sciences) Professor Keith Hunter says the new role will provide strategic leadership and advice to both the PVC and Division of Sciences for all matters relating to Pacific development.

Dr Taumoepeau will fulfil this role in addition to her position of Senior Lecturer within the Department of Psychology, where she has been working since in 2011. She is currently Chair of the Pacific Health Research Council of New Zealand committee.

Professor Hunter says the Division is fortunate to continue receiving Dr Taumoepeau’s service at this level.

Dr Taumoepeau acknowledges the University, and in particular Professor Hunter for instigating this position, and says she is deeply honoured to take it up.

She is looking forward to leading the implementation of a Divisional-level Pacific strategy, which will align with the University’s Pacific Strategic Framework.

“At the Division we are very proud that a third of Pacific students at the University are studying Science. This position will focus on ensuring that Pacific students flourish in the sciences.

"At a personal level, this position is my opportunity to continue to service the Pacific community, and I look forward to the successes that await."

“Pacific peoples experience higher levels of educational inequity compared to non-Pacific students, and the University is committed to meeting the needs of our Pacific students who come from the various Pacific communities around New Zealand. The framework supports a set of activities that is designed to do just that; to encourage Pacific students to come to Otago to study science, and to ensure that they are supported to do well once they are here.

“A key to the success of Pacific students is building a strong, vibrant and empowered Pacific staff and I wish to highlight and acknowledge the work that has already been achieved by the Director of Pacific development Dr Tasileta Teevale, Associate Dean, Pacific of the Health Sciences Division, Associate Professor Faumuina Faafetai Sopoaga and Manager of the Pacific Islands Centre Tofilau Nina Kirifi-Alai. This role goes some way towards recognising the importance of Pacific leadership within the University.

“At a personal level, this position is my opportunity to continue to service the Pacific community, and I look forward to the successes that await.”

Dr Taumoepeau’s research interests include pre-school children’s socio-emotional development, the role of parent-child conversations about mental states in pre-school children’s social understanding, cross-cultural differences in parent-child conversations about the mind and child language development.