Tag Archives: Obituary

Emeritus Professor Jane Soons 1931 – 2020

Emeritus Professor Jane Soons shortly after receiving an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Glasgow.

Described as “[achieving] in a male dominated world, without modelling herself on men,” UC’s first female Professor, Emeritus Professor Jane Soons was a trailblazer, and role model, for female academics and students.

One of the first PhD graduates in geography at the University of Glasgow, British universities overlooked her skills and expertise in preference of her male colleagues so in 1960, she immigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand to lecture at UC’s Department of Geography.

At UC, Jane found she had a more equal footing, and the opportunity to do everything her male peers could and would be expected to do.

A 2001 editorial from New Zealand Geographer highlighted Jane’s ability to bring people together.

“Jane’s students and colleagues readily recall her encouragement, support, kindness, hospitality and genuine interest in their work. In 1987, when the Department of Geography at the University of Canterbury celebrated its 50th Jubilee, she compiled a booklet of recipes contributed by visitors to the Department over the years… In its own particular way it encapsulates what colleagues, research associates and students feel about Jane: admiration for the breadth of her interests and the quality of all she does, recognition of the respect and affection in which she is held by geographers and earth scientists across the world, and appreciation of the humanity that underpins her life and work.”

Head of UC’s School of Earth and Environment, Professor Jamie Shulmeister was a close friend. He shared the following shortly after her passing.

“Emeritus Professor Jane Soons was the University of Canterbury’s first female Professor, appointed in 1971, and for a very long time was the only female professor at UC.

Jane taught and researched in geomorphology, and became known internationally for her study of the glacier-sculpted landscapes of the Rakaia Valley. She also made major contributions to our understanding of the glacial landforms of the West Coast and the movement of the Franz Josef Glacier.  She was a past President of the International Quaternary Association (INQUA) and convened the National Committee for Quaternary Research for the Royal Society Te Apārangi.

Jane was a foundational figure in modern geomorphology in New Zealand, a mentor for many young geomorphologists, an enthusiastic lecturer and an amazing role model for generations of female scientists. She will be hugely missed by colleagues and ex-students.”

Over her career Jane received the David Livingstone Centenary Medal for Southern Hemisphere research in 1988, a Royal Society Silver Medal in 1994, a Distinguished New Zealand Geographer Medal in 2001 and more. UC appointed her an Emeritus Professor in 1992.

For more on the exceptional career of Emeritus Professor Jane Soons, follow the links below.

Remembering Professor Kathleen Quinlivan

Kia hora te marino
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana
Kia tere te kārohirohi I mua I tōu huarahi

May the calm be widespread
May the ocean glisten as greenstone
May the shimmer of lights ever dance across your pathway

Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora | College of Education, Health and Human Development staff and students are deeply saddened by the loss of Professor Kathleen Quinlivan.

Kathleen was an alumna of the Christchurch Teachers College, and Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | University of Canterbury (UC), where she completed both her Masters and PhD.

She was an engaged and engaging English teacher for many years, who sought to instill in her students a critical mind and self-assurance of their capability to make a difference in the world.

She joined UC after completing her doctorate and had a distinguished twenty-year career as an internationally-recognised researcher in sexuality education, and an enthusiastic member of the School of Educational Studies and Leadership.

The culmination of her career was her 2018 sole-authored book, Exploring Contemporary Issues in Sexuality Education with Young People: Theories in Practice, published by Palgrave McMillan. This built on the foundation of her previous two coedited collections in the field, as well multiple book chapters and journal articles.

Moreover, she was a highly respected and sought after post-graduate supervisor, and a dynamic and inspiring lecture across multiple programmes. Throughout her career at UC, Kathleen made substantive contributions to programme quality enhancement and university committees through her varied academic leadership roles.

We feel very proud to have hosted a Festschrift celebration for Kathleen earlier in January, celebrating her academic contributions to the international community of sexuality scholars.
To read about this event, click here.

Professor Quinlivan was a taonga, a gift to us as scholar, teacher, friend and colleague. We will miss her deeply.

Professor Letitia Hochstrasser Fickel, Ed.D
Acting Pro-Vice Chancellor||Amorangi Taupua
College of Education, Health & Human Development||Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora

Remembering Emeritus Professor Kenneth Strongman

Many staff and alumni of the University of Canterbury will be saddened to hear of the death of Emeritus Professor Kenneth Strongman on 29 December 2019. After completing his PhD at University College London in 1964, and taking up positions as a Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the University of Exeter, he was appointed as Professor of Psychology at the University of Canterbury in 1979, where he remained for 41 years. He was Head of the Department of Psychology from 1982 to 1997, and subsequently Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Arts and Assistant Vice Chancellor (Government & Community Relations). He became Professor Emeritus on his retirement in 2010 but continued to contribute actively to academic life, including seeing the humanities included within the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Ken achieved wide recognition for his extensive academic research, teaching and service. His research was principally in the field of emotions. His text “The Psychology of Emotion” ran through five editions and was widely cited. Ken also edited the first international collection of essays (1991) in a field that was only just emerging. His undergraduate students remember him for his clear and easy lecturing style. The many PhD students he successfully supervised remember him for his insight, his endless encouragement and patience, and the genuine pleasure he took in their achievements. As a psychologist he always insisted on the discipline’s historic dual place as both a science and an art, and its application to everyday life.

A lifelong believer in the role of academics in society more broadly, Ken took on numerous roles outside the university. He was active in the university teachers’ union. His activities in Christchurch included chairing the Arts Centre management board and extensive writing for The Press, especially as a television and book reviewer. He regularly gave public lectures to audiences on a wide variety of topics. An avid squash player for much of his academic life, he will be missed by colleagues and friends from across the University, New Zealand, and the world.

Emeritus Professor Brian Haig, Professor Simon Kemp, Nathan Consedine