Deans diary header
Issue 415 |25 November 2016 | Previous Issues

A personal message from the Dean

My warmest congratulations to all our nursing, pharmacy and medicine graduates who took part in our two graduating ceremonies last Friday.

This was the first time we combined a formal graduation with our traditional qualifying ceremony where students recite the Oath of Professional Dedication and received class prizes.

The smaller size of the two ceremonies meant that we retained some of the family intimacy and informality that is part of the qualifying ceremony with the pomp of graduation.

The Chancellor Dr Ian Parton (the person who caps the graduands) mentioned to me afterwards, that these were two of the nicest ceremonies he could remember as his time as Chancellor.  

We will begin the new Academic Development and Performance Review (ADPR) in early December and I have asked Heads to encourage all academic staff to make a start on their PBRF Evidence Portfolio over the next few months with completion by the end of February with the intention of a mock internal round in 2017.

Please read the last story in this weeks Diary for more detail.

Best wishes,

John Fraser, PhD, FRSNZ
Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland


New Head of School for Nursing

Image of Professor Alexandra (Sandie) McCarthy
Professor Alexandra (Sandie) McCarthy

Congratulations to Professor Alexandra (Sandie) McCarthy who was recently appointed as the new Head of School of Nursing at the University of Auckland.

Professor McCarthy is an expert in acute cancer nursing care from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and starts as new Head of School early next year.

She will take over from Associate Professor Judy Kilpatrick who will retire in early 2017, after 16 years at the helm of the School of Nursing.

Sandie has held a joint appointment between QUT and Princess Alexandra Hospital since 2008, culminating in her appointment as Chair of Cancer Nursing from 2013 in Australia.

Earlier this year she was appointed as Co-Director for the Women’s Wellness after Cancer Programme at Menzies Health Institute, Queensland.

She was principal or co-investigator in many multidisciplinary cancer research projects and successful in nationally competitive grant awards, including four as co-investigator.

Professor McCarthy’s most recent publications have appeared in high impact multidisciplinary journals such as Circulation, Endocrine-related Cancer, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Nursing and Nutrition Reviews.

I'm sure you will all join me in congratulating and welcoming Sandie on this significant appointment and we look forward to working with her as Head of School.

Read more


Rutherford Fellowship focuses on breast cancer

Image of Dr Francis Hunter
Dr Francis Hunter

Congratulations to Dr Francis Hunter from the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre, who received an award from the Royal Society NZ for a two-year Rutherford Foundation Fellowship.

Drug resistance in breast cancer will be the focus of cutting-edge genetics and the latest DNA sequencing technologies, in research funded by this new fellowship.

In this study, Dr Hunter will aim to identify genes that control and predict the sensitivity and resistance to trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) and other HER2-targeting drugs in breast cancer.

Breast cancer is one of the most common malignancies in New Zealand with 3000 new diagnoses and 600 deaths each year.

Read more about Dr Francis Hunter's study



ASHA Mid-Career Interdisciplinary Achiever Award

Image of Dr Peter Saxton
Dr Peter Saxton

Congratulations to Dr Peter Saxton from the School of Population Health, who received the 2016 Australasian Sexual Health Alliance (ASHA) Mid-Career Interdisciplinary Achiever Award.

The award was presented by ASHA co-chair Dr Deborah Bateson at the closing ceremony of the 2016 Australasian Sexual Health Conference in Adelaide last week.

The ASHA award is in recognition of Dr Saxton's outstanding interdisciplinary achievements in sexual health.

Dr Saxton led two editorials in the New Zealand Medical Journal last year on the virtual elimination of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

He works in close collaboration with community organisations, engages policy makers and has broad research interests. These include sexual behaviour and epidemiology of HIV and STIs, sexual orientation and health equity, and control of human papillomavirus and gonorrhoea by vaccination.

Dr Saxton is the inaugural New Zealand AIDS Foundation Fellow based in the Department of Social and Community Health and collaborates with the Immunisation Advisory Centre and the Centre for Addiction Research.


2016 Professional Staff Award Ceremony

Staff Awards2
Staff Awards7
Staff Awards5
Staff Awards8

The professional staff at our Faculty and across the University, enable and contribute to the University's teaching, research and community service endeavours.

This week, the Faculty came together to present Professional Staff Awards to members of our team.

Highly deserving recipients are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the award judges based on criteria of excellence.

It was so pleasing to see the ceremony drew a large audience in the atrium with family, friends and colleagues gathering with the award winners to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

Please join me in congratulating the following Professional Staff Award winners:

‘Ian Houston Award for Sustained Excellence in Job Performance’:

During her 23 years working at the faculty, Linley has held roles of significant responsibility.

These include research technician in the Research Centre for Developmental Medicine and Biology, charge technician of the Animal Resources Unit and team leader with the Vernon Jansen Unit.

Linley started with the Cardiac Structure and Function Research Group as a senior technician and is now their senior technical officer.

She also runs the Surgical Laboratory which is a valued resource both inside and outside the University.

Lorraine began her journey with the School of Nursing in 2000, as it emerged as a new department and has been pivotal in establishing the school as the leading Nursing School in New Zealand.

Lorraine provides direct support and expertise to multiple staff members as well as countless students at the undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Academics frequently build Lorraine into research projects where she performs a key role in identifying extant literature and related research.

See above some of our highlights from the event.



Celebrating success at graduation

Last week more than 420 students received their qualifications at our November graduation ceremonies for New Zealand's largest medical and health school.

This year the University had 17 graduation ceremonies that recognised the academic achievements of around 10,400 University of Auckland graduates.

The first ceremony on Friday morning at the Auckland Town Hall saw qualifications presented to more than 200 students from the School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy.

The School of Medicine followed in the afternoon with nearly 220 graduands presented with their qualifications.

I'm particularly proud of the far-reaching benefits these 420 graduands will bring to the provision of high-quality health services to citizens and communities throughout New Zealand, including our Māori and Pacific graduands and those who are committed to working in areas of greatest need.

Read more

See below some of our highlights from the event. Click on the images to view our gallery of photos.


Medicine Class Photo1
Medicine Class Photo2
Nursing Class Photo1
Pharmacy Class Photo1

Our new Māori and Pacific doctors this year

MAPAS Class Photos2

A big congratulation to all our Māori and Pacific graduates, who recently graduated from the University of Auckland and joined the workforce this week.

At the Graduation ceremony last week, Māori and Pacific medical graduates made up about a fifth of the 215 doctors to graduate from their six years of training.

The 46 medical graduates included 28 graduates who identified as Maori, 14 as Pacific and four as Maori and Pacific.

This high number is due to the increased intake of Māori and Pacific students into the University's Māori and Pacific Admission Scheme (MAPAS).

Vision 2020 is the goal for a group of initiatives that includes MAPAS and secondary and tertiary level support for Maori and Pacific students, including recruitment programmes such as Whakapiki Ake and Hikitia Te Ora.

Vision 2020 aims to increase the number of Māori and Pacific medical and health graduates to 10 percent of the health workforce by 2020.

The high number of MAPAS graduates this year reflects the increase in intake of Māori and Pacific students to the medical programme, and averaging around 20 to 25 percent of medical students per year, which is closer to the population proportion for this age group.

Read more



Mock Evidence Portfolio Exercise for all eligible staff

Image of University PBRF timetable
University PBRF timetable

The final academic head sign off of PBRF Evidence Portfolios (EPs) for the PBRF Quality Evaluation in 2018, is due on 29 March 2017 and first complete drafts are due in November 2017.

I am recommending that all eligible academic staff complete a mock Evidence Portfolio between December 2016 and February 2017. 

These should be completed as part of PBRF Quality Evaluation planning conversations with HoDs. 

This exercise will give staff a chance to preview the new EP structure, think about and discuss selection of their top four outputs (NROs) and their next best 12 outputs (OROs). 

It will also ensure staff familiarise themselves with the new Research Contributions section which amalgamates the old peer esteem and contribution to the research environment sections from the last Quality Evaluation rounds.  

Finally the mock exercise will give staff a practice run at writing their crucial platform of research/contextual summary in 2,500 characters or less.

For the purposes of this exercise, a shortened version of the TEC Evidence Portfolio template has been sent to all academic heads and is also available on the FMHS PBRF intranet page along with the original TEC version (for your reference).   

The online EP module will be available in Research Outputs from early next year and both training and crafting will be provided. 

TEC guidelines for EP completion can be found here and a number of helpful resources, including comprehensive information about Research Contributions can be found on the faculty PBRF page.