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Further Professor of Education appointed

13 May 2005

Further Professor of Education appointed

An exceptionally strong field of candidates for the position of Chair of Education has encouraged the University of Otago to appoint an additional professor in the Faculty.

This position has been accepted by Professor Jeffrey Smith, who comes to Otago from Rutgers University in the United States. His appointment follows that of Professor Helen May as new Head of the Faculty of Education.

University Vice-Chancellor David Skegg says the Chair of Education was advertised following the retirement of Professor Keith Ballard.

“We had an exceptionally strong field of applicants, and so decided to make two appointments. Professor May joins the University next month and is already assisting on the working group established between the University and College of Education to consider the relationship between the Faculty of Education and the College.

“Professor Smith arrives in Dunedin in August and will contribute substantially to the work of the Educational Assessment Research Unit,” Professor Skegg says.

Professor Terry Crooks, Acting Head of the Faculty of Education, says Professor Smith earned his doctorate in education from the University of Chicago in 1977. Since then he has worked in the Department of Educational Psychology at Rutgers University in New Jersey and has been Professor and Chair since 1998.

“He is an expert in educational assessment and quantitative research methods, and has had significant leadership roles in United States organisations relating to those areas,” Professor Crooks says.

His research focuses on psychological factors affecting test performance, grading issues, learning in cultural settings, and the psychology of aesthetics. He is the author or editor of five books and over 50 articles and reviews.

In addition to his work at Rutgers University, for the past 16 years he has served as Head of the Office of Research and Evaluation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

In this capacity, he has conducted research on how individuals interact with great works of art, how people learn in cultural settings, and the psychology of aesthetics. He has also served as a consultant to the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian Institutions.

Professor Smith will be accompanied by his wife, Dr Lisa Smith, who has similar interests and expertise. She will be a senior research fellow in the Educational Assessment Research Unit.


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