Press Release – AUT University
AUT University held the inaugural Vice Chancellor’s Awards for Academic Excellence in Research and Teaching at the Auckland Art Gallery tonight.
The event was a celebration of academia and was described as the AUT Oscars, with the finalists sitting in nervous anticipation as they waited to find out who were the winners in the five teaching and five research categories.
AUT’s Vice-Chancellor, Derek McCormack, said that the calibre of the AUT nominees and awardees profiled last night was equal to any university in the world. “In essence, a university is all about teaching and research. Our teachers and researchers inspire our students, promote curiosity and new discovery and ultimately deliver knowledge, expertise and creativity to the wider communities we serve in business, industry, society and beyond.”
“Universities are measured on the quality of their teaching and graduates, and the extent and impact of their research on issues of significance.”
AUT is proud to recognise the following inspiring academics for their commitment to the university, our students and the community:
Awards for Academic Excellence in Teaching
Special Awards for Teaching
• Dr Camille Nakhid from Culture and Society for her contribution to equity and diversity. Camille is a senior lecturer in the Department of Social Sciences with over 10 years of service to AUT and a much longer background in education. At AUT she has been active in developing and leading new programmes and papers, spanning from pre-degree to masters on topics including: Aotearoa and Pacific studies, multicultural communities, Maori and Pasifika research methodologies and conflict resolution.
• Helene Wilkinson from Business and Law for her contribution to SIFE – Students in Free Enterprise. Helene leads undergraduate curriculum initiatives in the Department of Marketing, Advertising, Retailing, and Sales in the Business School. She joined the academic staff at AUT in 1999 and has shown a consistent ability to inspire her students.
Academic Excellence in Teaching
• Dr Ineke Crezee from Culture and Society for her contribution to healthcare teaching and raising the standards of interpretation and translation. Ineke has taught at AUT for 20 years since she established the first healthcare interpreting course in New Zealand in 1991 – to reduce the risk of medical misadventure brought about by errors in communication and understanding. Her clinical background in nursing combined with her academic interests and expertise in linguistics, translation and interpretation, has helped her develop a unique approach to the challenges of training diverse ethnic and cultural groups as interpreters in the healthcare system.
• Associate Professor Sergiy Klymchuk from Design and Creative Technologies for his work in the School of Mathematics. Sergiy has taught at AUT since it became a University in 2000. During this period he has planned and designed a wide range of new programmes and papers in mathematics at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including the first Masters paper on Mathematics Education at AUT. His focus is making mathematics accessible and meaningful for his students. Over the years he has developed innovative strategies for capturing student interest. He gets students to discover difficult concepts by tackling real world problems with discovery learning and problem-based techniques.
• Sheree O’Neill from Culture and Society for her work in the Bachelor of Tourism programme. Sheree joined the Department of Tourism as a senior lecturer in 2009, after 15 years in the tertiary sector in a variety of different roles in a number of institutions. Sheree has redeveloped a number of papers in Tourism Studies with a particular focus on improving the success and retention rates in pre-degree and first-year degree papers. As well, she has developed innovative strategies to engage her students as active creators of knowledge and to develop their skills of critical analysis and reflection. Sheree displays an exemplary dedication to lending support to ‘at-risk’ students who require extra time and care.
Awards for Academic Excellence in Research
Emerging Research Team
Business and Law: Auckland Centre for Financial Research
Professor Bart Frijns leads a team of well-established researchers in their respective fields of finance: Alireza Tourani-Rad, Ming-Hua Liu and Dr Aaron Gilbert. The Centre aims to boost academic research in the Faculty of Business and Law at AUT and more widely through fostering research publication, hosting national and international conferences and mentoring emerging researchers in applied financial research.
Established Research Team
Health and Environmental Sciences: Person Centred Research Centre (PCRC)
Professor Kathryn McPherson and her team Paula Kersten (Associate Director) and Nicola Kayes (Senior Lecture in the School of Rehabilitation and Occupation Studies), have well-established national and international reputations for their research on rehabilitation, active ageing, disability, and living well with chronic conditions. The core research team has produced over 80 peer-reviewed publications in international journals, delivered more than 60 presentations at local and international conferences, and their research has directly impacted on policy for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and ACC.
Postgraduate Research Supervision
Professor Ahmed Al-Jumaily from Design and Creative Technologies has supervised more than 60 postgraduate students from 25 countries in AUT’s School of Engineering. He has the largest group of postgraduate students in the School, with most of them receiving financial support from research grants that Professor Al-Jumaily brings into the Institute of Biomedical Technologies, which he has directed since 2004. Many of Professor Al-Jumaily’s research students come from backgrounds where English is a second language and require a lot of assistance with technical writing and negotiating research ethics approval. As part of his mentoring and building students’ research capacity he involves them in preparing research grant applications and supports them to participate in national and international conferences.
Professor Tania Ka’ai from Te Ara Poutama receives a special award in the postgraduate research supervision area in recognition of the leadership she has provided in the development of New Zealand’s largest cohort of postgraduate students writing theses in Te Reo Maori.
Individual Award for Emerging Researcher
Dr Jun Lu is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in the Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences. Dr Lu has wide-ranging interests in the biological sciences, including bio-medicine, and is a specialist in molecular cancer therapeutics. He has over 50 publications, has attracted considerable external funding to support his research, is an editorial board member on one of the most prestigious cancer therapeutics journals and is regularly invited to review papers submitted for a range of pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and food science journals. Dr Lu has built up an impressive network of international collaborators in the United States and in China. In 2012 he was selected to join four other scientists from New Zealand for an MBIE/RSNZ NZ-China Scientist Exchange Award and he is working with colleagues at Shenzhen University and East China Normal University in Shanghai in the fields of gene data mining, bioinformatics and mega-data analysis. Dr Lu is one of AUT’s rising research stars.
Individual Research Excellence
Professor Alvis A. C. M. Fong from Design and Creative Technologies is a specialist in both computer science and engineering. His research on e-systems, multimedia processing and social computing has had a very significant impact on research in business and e-commerce, adaptive e-learning, healthcare, bioinformatics, intelligent transportation systems and automated fuzzy ontology generation. Since his appointment as a Professor in the School of Computing and Mathematical sciences in 2007 his research papers have been cited more than 800 times. He publishes extensively and is editor or associate editor of several journals including: Journal of Computers, Journal of Software, International Journal of Digital Content Technologies and Applications, Journal of Advances in IT and Journal of Convergence IT. Professor Fong has clearly demonstrated sustained research excellence over the past 15 years.