The University of Waikato

2010 Staff Awards Ceremony

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Administrative Excellence Awards


Ian Drever is an Enterprise Architect within the Information Systems Group of ITS. Ian works tirelessly to deliver design solutions that fit with the University IT strategy, integrate with other systems across the organisation and satisfy demanding business requirements. He is invariably juggling several projects simultaneously, but does so without complaint, with selfless dedication and utmost professionalism.

Mary-Jane Waddington, who is known to most of us simply as MJ, is driven by a strong commitment to enhancing the student experience, supporting supervisors and raising awareness of the high quality doctoral research and supervision being undertaken across the University. In addition to her role as acting group manager of Academic Administration within Student and Academic Services she supports the Pro Vice-Chancellor Postgraduate and played a huge part in the enormous success of Postgraduate Studies Month and Th3sis in 3. Her attention to detail and focus on customer service have resulted in helping showcase the University’s postgraduate excellence.


Allison Henry, from theUniversity Library was previously the Team Leader of the Shelving Unit within the Library, but was seconded to the role of Project Co-ordinator to oversee the logistics and liaison associated with the physical changes needed to refurbish the Library building into the new Student Centre. She was nominated for this award by the Head of Facilities Management because her efforts have made the role of Facilities Management in such a complex project considerably easier through her cheerfulness, high degree of organisational skill, honesty and professionalism. Her efforts have resulted in reduced time allowed for the decanting of various services within the Library and greatly aided the construction programme. The nomination states: 'Overall, it is undoubtedly the case, and a view shared by the Library senior staff, Facilities Management senior staff, the head contractor Fletcher Construction, and the head consultants AECOM, that the exceptional level of Allison’s involvement, commitment and communication has greatly aided the relatively smooth running of this complex project.'

Trudy Harris' role is Teaching Developer (Evaluation and Quality) within the Teaching Development Unit. Trudy’s personal and professional initiative and contribution in relation to teaching quality has been extensive. Her work has contributed to the improvement of teaching evaluation and quality for individuals, Faculties, and the University as a whole. She shows great tact and sensitivity and has worked tirelessly to develop a system of paper and teaching appraisals which are both credible for the institution and palatable to staff. Her personal qualities, her professionalism, her institutional vision and her research capability have all contributed to a highly valued and useful system.


Teaching Excellence Awards


Mary Fitzpatrick from Marketing within the Faculty of Management. Mary says that her philosophy of teaching is simple and is based on the three conceptions of ‘teaching as transmission’, ‘teaching as making learning possible’, and ‘deep learning’. One of her students commented: “It was her first year Marketing paper that helped me realise my potential; not only in Mary’s favoured area of expertise, but in academia in general.”

Rob Torrens from Engineering within the Faculty of Science and Engineering says that at the beginning of his teaching career he realised that “students are people too, treat them with honesty and empathy” and is the approach he has continued to use as his teaching has developed to the level of excellence which we are recognising today.

He engages students in very practical ways, including problem based approaches such as designing, building and racing radio controlled boats across the campus lakes. This event has evolved into an annual regatta with team boats competing against one another, including a boat designed by staff. One of the nominating students for his Faculty award stated: “He creates an environment where learning is fun, entertaining, enjoyable and where there is no such thing as a ‘dumb’ question. Above all else, no matter who you are, when you talk to him you recognise that he actually cares about you and your success”.



Robyn Longhurst is Professor of Geography within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Robyn is an excellent professorial role model who demonstrates excellence across all three areas of teaching, research and administration. In 2010 she was honoured by honoured by the New Zealand Geographical Society with the Distinguished Geographer Gold Medal, and is now being honoured, as result of nominations from her students who appreciate her open door policy and availability. One graduate student said: “Robyn is never too busy for an impromptu meeting and her advice and guidance have been invaluable to me over the years.”

Teaching Excellence in a Kaupapa Māori Context

Sandy Morrison is a senior lecturer in the Tikanga Department within the School of Māori and Pacific Development and receives her award for Teaching Excellence within a Kaupapa Māori Context. Sandy draws on tikanga Māori to create a safe learning space for her students and to facilitate their learning, including the use of rituals, creating and sustaining a whanau of learning, encouraging Māori speaking students to use te reo and carefully observing tikanga where appropriate. One student indicated “If I could describe Sandy in one word it would be ‘Rangatira’”.

Whaia te iti kahuranga ki te tuahu koe me he maunga teitei
Aim for the highest cloud so that if you miss it, you will hit a lofty mountain.

[Note: Sandy was overseas on 1 December so the award was accepted on her behalf by her daughter Tali.]


Health and Saftey Award


Jane Goodbehere received the 2010 award and trophy for the huge expansion in her role as Health and Safety Representative for the Library during the refurbishment, which she does in addition to her normal role as a Library Assistant in the New Zealand Collection. She has had to be constantly vigilant of existing hazards and identify new hazards which have emerged on an almost daily basis as a result of Library staff working within a constantly changing building site. Her attention to detail has ensured that there have been no accidents associated with the building project and that potential hazards have been dealt with quickly and effectively.

Vice Chancellor's Medal for Staff Excellence




After much deliberation the Vice-Chancellor decided to make the award to Mary-Jane Waddington for her outstanding achievement and her huge contribution to the life of the University.

MJ was featured in the July edition of Community where she said that she thought her biggest claim to fame so far had come from taking part in a number of Staff Revues including roles like Cinderella, and the rear end of a cow. But I think her more recent contributions have extended her fame far beyond this.


In addition to the certificates presented on the day each individual recipient received $5,000 - Teaching Excellence Award recipients were granted $2000 for a Faculty Award and $3000 for the University Award. Congratulations to all 2010 Staff Award recipients.



If you would like further information about Staff Awards, or would like to initiate a nomination for a 2011 award please click here.