Category Archives: Staff Success

UC Staff of The Year Awards 2020

The UCSA is excited to announce the nominees for the 2020 UC Staff of The Year Awards! A total of 510 students participated, shining a light on the staff who inspired them.

The top nominees of each category are (in randomised order):

Lecturer of The Year – Arts:

A/P Donald Matheson

Nancy Chu

Dr Lindsey MacDonald

Sergio Redondo


Lecturer of The Year – Business & Law:

A/P Laura Meriluoto

A/P Herb DeVries

Dr Steve Agnew

Ruth Ballantyne


Lecturer of The Year – Education:

Tracy Clelland

Nicki Dabner

Dr Valerie Sotardi


Lecturer of The Year – Engineering:

Dr Tom Logan

Prof Alessandro Palermo

A/P Sid Becker


Lecturer of The Year – Science:

A/P Pieter Pelser

Prof Ian Shaw

A/P Ashley Garrill

Prof Adrian McDonald


Best Online

Nancy Chu

A/P Herb De Vries

Dr Craig McConnochie


Supervisor of The Year:

Prof Annie Potts

A/P Michael Grimshaw

Dr Craig McConnochie


Administrator of The Year:

Edmund Smith

Heather Couch

Phillipa Gourdie


Technical Staff of The Year:

Patrick Branje

Edsel Villa

Garry Cotton

Randall Grenfell


Superstar of The Year:

Gary Gin

Desmond Breeze

Storm Geldenhuis

Garry Cotton


Great Character of The Year Award:

Dr Steve Agnew

A/P Sid Becker

Prof Ian Shaw


Make Your Own Award (Titles of awards will be revealed on the night):

Hamish Oliver

Jan Jakob Bornheim

Rachael Tappenden

Richard Bullen

Tham Piumsomboon


UCSA Exec Awards

Jonie Chang

Nicole Anfang

Anne Scott

Riki Welsh


Now that students have nominated (and voted), please join us at the Staff of the Year Awards ceremony to celebrate.

Friday 28th September at 6:30pm

Location: Haere-roa

Dress code: Smart Casual.

There are limited tickets available for UC staff members not on the nomination list, offered on a first come first serve basis.

Ticket includes a glass of sparkling wine on arrival, nibbles and cash bar.

We have  released 30 General Admission tickets – these are on a first come first serve basis.  Please reserve these online here.

Nominees, please reserve your free tickets for yourself and one guest by Friday 20th September, via email at

Alfred Noble Prize awarded for research paper on ‘Ferrari’ overpass

Congratulations to UC Civil and Natural Resources Engineer Professor Alessandro Palermo, who has been awarded the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Alfred Noble Prize for a 2019 paper he co-authored with UC PhD graduate Dr Mustafa Mashal (now Associate Professor at Idaho State University in the US).  

The paper ‘Low-Damage Seismic Design for Accelerated Bridge Construction’ discusses the experimental testing undertaken as part of Dr Mashal’s PhD. The project was part of a broader government funded programme (NZ Natural Hazard Programme) and led to the development of an innovative, seismically resilient connection at bridge piers (or columns) designed to sustain different levels of earthquakes without damaging the column. In a world-first the low-damage technology was used in the Christchurch Wigram-Magdala Link overbridge project, which opened in 2016. At the time Professor Palermo described the overpass as the “Ferrari” of bridges.

“The novelty of the paper is not just limited to the testing process. The paper also shows how that testing translated into a design solution that was used in a real-life bridge,” Professor Palermo explains.

When notified of the Alfred Noble Prize Professor Palermo says it was a nice surprise, especially coming from the ASCE – one of the most prestigious international associations in civil and structural engineering.

“I’m happy our paper was well-received by the ASCE. Since its publication, it was one of the most downloaded papers in 2019. This award shows the research we’re doing here in New Zealand is at the forefront of earthquake bridge engineering innovation.”

The award will be formally presented to Professor Palermo and Dr Mashal in October this year.

Professor Alessandro Palermo has been awarded the ASCE Alfred Noble Prize for a 2019 paper he co-authored with UC PhD graduate Dr Mustafa Mashal.  

Engagement Australia Excellence Awards 2020: apply here

The Engagement Australia Excellence Awards identify and celebrate the most exciting and impactful engagement activities undertaken by Australian and New Zealand universities. 

At UC we have a commitment to engagement within our community and encourage applications across the seven Award categories:

  • Award for Excellence in Community Engagement
    Recognising outstanding collaborations between communities, higher education and industry for societal benefit. 
  • Award for Excellence in Community Engagement: Closing the Gap
    Recognising outstanding collaborations between communities, higher education and industry that directly reduce disadvantage.
  • Award for Excellence in Industry Engagement
    Recognising outstanding contributions to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching in higher education by members of tertiary education institutions, community and industry partners.
  • Award for Outstanding Engagement for Research Impact
    Recognising excellence in research and development activity, that makes a substantial difference to the community, undertaken jointly by researchers in tertiary education institutes and partners in the community, business and industry.
  • Award for Excellence in Student Engagement
    Recognising outstanding contributions that improve student engagement on campus, with industry and/or in community.
  • Award for Excellence in Alumni Engagement
    Recognising outstanding contributions to enhancing the quality alumni engagement and support in higher education.
  • Award for Outstanding Leadership in Engagement
    Recognising an individual who has made notable contributions to engagement above and beyond that expected for their role, resulting in sustained and impactful partnerships.

Download the Applicant Guidelines>
Visit the Awards Portal to make a submission. Applications close 7pm NZST 31 July 2020.

Award recipients will be announced at the Engagement Australia Awards dinner held in conjunction with the Engagement Australia Annual Symposium in November 2020. More information>

Applications for the Vice-Chancellor General Staff Development Awards, and the Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards 2020

Kia ora koutou,

Applications are now open for the Vice-Chancellor General Staff Development Awards for 2020.

Please visit the Vice-Chancellor General Staff Development Awards webpage for full details and the application form.

These awards recognise and assist exceptional professional development initiatives and are available to continuing general staff members. I encourage both work teams and individuals to apply.

The Health, Safety & Wellbeing Awards for 2020 are also open.

These awards now include a Recognition award for engagement with health and safety at the university, and an Initiative Award that is to reward and encourage staff members to initiate innovative Health and Safety practices within their Department/Unit/College.

These are open to all fixed-term and continuing staff and I encourage both work teams and individuals to apply.

Previous winners include –

Julian Phillips, Technician, Mechanical Engineering, joined a group of students for a humanitarian effort repairing medical equipment in the Solomon Islands.

The UC Grounds team, Facilities Services, developed a highly innovative and workable solution improving hazard awareness and safety of the community whilst mowing.

Te Paea Paringatai, Manager Customer Services, Library, attending and presenting a paper at the IFLA World Library & Information Congress in Athens, Greece.

Applications for both awards close on Wednesday 15 July 2020.

Ngā mihi,

Professor Cheryl de la Rey

Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Whakarae

School of Music – Together Again in Concert

The School of Music is delighted to be back TOGETHER AGAIN in concert on June 22 in The Great Hall at the Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora. This concert is the first in a series of three concerts that form part of the Arts Centre Chamber Series – in association with UC.

To celebrate being back in the same place together, this concert programme will be feature bright lights from the baroque firmament. Led by local Baroque master musician, Tomas Hurnik, and UC Head of Performance, Mark Menzies, this programme will feature a sparkling array of musicians from the School of Music and our wider community.

The concert programme will feature something for everyone. Although perhaps a lesser known composer of this era, Georg Muffat is one of the driving figures in the evolution of the baroque style. His concerto grosso, Propitia Sydera, gives the theme of this dramatic concert – Bright Stars.

Vivaldi is one of the most well-loved and well-known baroque era composers. His La Notte recorder concerto continues the night theme, and in a more unnerving way: one section is titled “Fantasmi” and the work in general seems to ruminate in the dark shadows of night. This work will feature one of the bright stars of the School of Music, Lily Doak.

Certainly there were no brighter stars in the 1960’s than the Beatles and, as is inventively laid out by Peter Breiner’s Beatles go baroque concerto grosso, it is clear that the musical construction of Beatles’ songs are themselves baroque in craft. The humour present matches the gorgeously frothy spirit of Johann Heinichen’s Overture, and Telemann’s Recorder “concerto” styled overture that make up the rest of the performance.

As well as a gorgeous group of strings – made up of most of the string players from the School of Music – this concert will include a harpsichord, played by UC Alumni, Daniel Cooper. If you haven’t seen or heard a harpsichord being played before, you are in for a real treat.

The Great Hall fireplace will be lit, all the appropriate precautions to protect your health and safety will be taken, the entrance price is low, the music virtuosic. Come and join us for what promises to be a wonderful evening back TOGETHER AGAIN!

Concert details:

This concert is presented in cooperation with the Baroque Music Community and Educational Trust of New Zealand. N.B This concert will be a similar programme to a concert presented the previous day at The Piano.