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Six new professors appointed

21 June 2006

Six new professors appointed

Six academic staff at The University of Auckland have been promoted from associate professor to professor.

Promotion to professor is a mark of distinction, awarded for professional and academic eminence at an international level.

The six new professors:

Professor Russell Gray (Psychology) has made pioneering contributions to animal cognition, historical linguistics, philosophy of biology, behavioural evolutionary development and evolutionary psychology. His development of computational methods to answer questions about the spread of Indo-European languages and the settlement of the Pacific has attracted world-wide media attention, as has his work on the manufacture of complex tools by New Caledonia crows.

Professor Alison Jones (Education) has an international reputation as a scholar in critical studies in education. She has made significant contributions to feminist theory in education and her Marsden-funded work on the effects of anxiety about teachers touching children has brought international acclaim. She is currently co-authoring a book on “impossible educational relationships” focusing on the earliest formal educational interchanges between Maori and Pakeha.

Professor Robin Kearns (Geography and Environmental Science) has published two books and numerous refereed articles on diverse themes addressing the links between culture, place and health as well as the cultural politics of place. His current research interests include cultural transformations of the New Zealand coast and the changing place of the voluntary sector in health.

Professor Eamonn O'Brien (Mathematics) received the 2004 New Zealand Mathematical Society Research Award for "outstanding achievements in using computation, backed up by deep algebraic theory, to solve long-standing and difficult problems in group theory". His primary research interests are algorithmic and computational aspects of group theory.

Professor Andrew Pullan (Bioengineering Institute) leads ground-breaking work on computer modelling. He and an active research group have created computer models of the electrical activity of muscle including the heart, skeletal muscle and muscles of the gastrointestinal system. He currently holds grants from several funding sources including the Marsden Fund, the Foundation for Research Science and Technology, the Health Research Council (NZ) and the US National Institutes of Health.

Professor Yongjin Zhang (Asian Studies) specialises in China (including its politics, foreign policy and emerging global businesses), the Asia-Pacific and international relations theory. He has published widely and has held research and teaching posts at the University of Oxford, the Australian National University and universities in China. Earlier this year he was appointed Director of the New Zealand Asia Institute at the University.


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