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Noted Educator Seeks New Focus

Noted Educator Seeks New Focus

A noted educator who forged the links between The University of Waikato and Hamilton College of Education after they merged in 1992 retired this week after 14 years as Dean of The School of Education to focus on research.

Paying tribute to Professor Noeline Alcorn, the University’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Roy Crawford said she had made a significant contribution to the School of Education and the University, as well as the broader education community.

“Noeline knows what true leadership in an institution like this entails. Having established her own professional reputation as a leading educator in New Zealand, she has built - from the ground up - a research culture in an area not previously known for active research.

“During her tenure, we have seen the University’s School of Education become a hub for research critical to the country’s future, to the point where it is recognised as a leader in the field.”

Professor Alcorn was appointed Dean in 1992, giving effect in her role to the aspirations and intentions that motivated the merger of the two tertiary institutions to form the School of Education that year.

The formation of the School, which was negotiated and implemented by her predecessor Charmaine Pountney, was a first in New Zealand, which was considered a historic achievement for teacher education.

Speaking at a School of Education farewell, the former Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Wilf Malcolm, said Professor Alcorn’s strong collegial values of shared professional and academic responsibilities had enabled her to bring together a very strong team of staff that had taken the School forward to a leading position, nationally and internationally, in teacher education.

“The quality of Professor Alcorn's leadership both ensured that the original hopes for the amalgamation were actually achieved and taken forward with renewed and extended vision,” he said.

A former Associate Dean of the School of Education, Alan Hall, who was present at the time of the merger and for a number of years afterwards, said Professor Alcorn approached the challenge with recognised credentials, experience and a shared vision.

“She constantly reminded staff of what it meant to be part of a university, by encouraging and celebrating achievements. This cultivation and maintenance of the culture of the School of Education has never stopped.”

Professor Alcorn had helped to raise the academic profile of the School of Education which now employed the highest number of doctoral qualified education staff in New Zealand, he said.

”Under her guidance, a strong graduate culture has been developed, and ongoing innovation in teacher education, including successful implementation of online learning, and three-year and one-year programmes.”

Despite retiring as Dean, Professor Alcorn plans to continue to contribute to educational research through the University’s Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research.

Professor Alister Jones, who currently heads the Wilf Malcolm Institute, will take up the role of Dean of the School of Education in February.


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