Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


UCOL’s Sister Act Become Doctors

Monday 18 February 2013
UCOL’s Sister Act Become Doctors

Sibling rivalry has given way to healthy competition for sisters Catherine Snell-Siddle and Sarah Snell who have both gained their Doctorates in Science Education within weeks of each other.

Although 13 years separate them, the two UCOL academics have forged a long term career in education, which has spanned two decades with a passion and commitment to research and attainment of higher qualifications. Their common interests in research have been mutually inspiring and have resulted in several collaborative research projects. Their main research focus has developed around learning environments, which they have presented at both national and international conferences.

“It even amazes us that we can work so closely together in the same institution and in related fields,” says Catherine. “We have complementary skills built from different disciplines within ICT and Business.”

Catherine is the Head of the School of Business and Computing and has been at UCOL since 1993. Her thesis examines tertiary students’ perceptions of mobile technology enhanced learning environments and associations with outcomes in New Zealand with a specific focus on online, blended and face-to-face learning.

Sarah is the Associate Head of the School of Business and Computing and joined UCOL a year after her sister in 1994 after returning from living in the UK. Her thesis looks at variations in gender and age perceptions of the use of mobile technologies to support learning in a New Zealand Tertiary Institution.

The eldest and youngest of six girls, the pair are not the first in their family to gain their doctorates. Their sister Helen also has a PhD. “When the three of us had gained our Masters qualifications, we would joke to our mother that after so many years of just females, there were now three ‘masters’ in the family, and now there are three Doctors!” says Catherine. “It’s a shame our late father is not around to share in our family success.”

Both Catherine and Sarah’s new qualifications will be conferred by Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia. The pair obtained scholarships through Curtin University to research their theses through an Australian initiative to increase New Zealand and Australia’s research capabilities. Curtin University is one of several institutions that offer a selection of fee exempt studies for New Zealand and Australian citizens.

Their scholarships allowed for study visits to the Perth-based University, visits to UCOL by their supervising Professor, attendance at block courses in New Zealand, and the chance for them to present papers at an international conference in Oman in 2012.

“We are very impressed by the quality of academic support of Curtin University and, also by the fantastic encouragement shown to us by UCOL and our previous Faculty Dean Clive Jones,” says Sarah.

UCOL’s Acting Executive Dean of Humanities and Business Steve Sorsby says, “This very relevant area of research further extends our understanding of the use of technology in learning within the Faculty as well as elsewhere within UCOL and the wider community of tertiary educators.”

Although the demanding roles of the daily management of the School of Business and Computing, curriculum input and the Faculty Management Team takes up most of their time, the pair is keenly involved in continuing to develop and enhance the teaching and learning experience for tertiary students, drawing on their research in learning environments and different delivery methods. “With so many areas of learning that interest us, we are keen to continue researching to contribute to this exciting and ever changing environment,” says Sarah.

Catherine (left) and Sarah – mutually inspiring sisters.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Scoop Review Of Books: Before The Quakes

Remembering Christchurch: Voices from decades past: The Christchurch I lived in for my first 23 years was where four-year-olds walked alone to kindergarten, crossing roads empty of all but a couple of cars per hour. My primary school, Ilam, was newly built on a grassy paddock surrounded by rural land... More>>

6-11 October: New Zealand Improvisation Festival Hits Wellington

Wellingtonians will have a wide selection of improv to feast on with a jam packed programme containing 22 shows, three companies from Australia, two companies from Auckland, one from Nelson, one from Christchurch and seven from Wellington. More>>


Bird Of The Year: New Zealanders Asked To Vote For Their Favourite Native Bird

Te Radar, David Farrier, Heather du-Plessis Allan and Duncan Garner are just some of the New Zealanders championing their favourite native bird in Forest & Bird’s annual Bird of the Year competition, which kicks off today.. More>>


Werewolf Film: It Follows - Panic In Detroit

Philip Matthews: When you heard last month that Wes Craven had died and you wanted to pay homage, you could have sat down with any one of five of his films that helped reinvent American horror at least three times over three decades... Or you could just have watched one of the greatest recent horror films that would probably not exist without Craven. More>>


Werewolf Music: Searching For The White Wail - On Art Pepper, etc

If the word ‘hipster’ means anything – which it arguably doesn’t – it seems to be more of an impulse than a condition. One always headed for the margins, and away from the white-bred, white-bread mainstream... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Leonardo da Vinci - The Graphic Work

The breadth of da Vinci’s work is incredible: from animals to weaponry, architecture to fabric, maps to botany. The works have been divided into themes such as Proportion Drawings, Anatomical Drawings and Drawings of Maps and Plans. Each section begins with a short essay. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: James Hector: Explorer, Scientist, Leader

Publication of this comprehensive 274-page account of the life and work of James Hector by the Geoscience Society of New Zealand marks the 150th anniversary of James Hector’s appointment as New Zealand’s first government scientist. More>>

Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news