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Staffing update: Head of School

Steven Dakin stepped down this month as Head of School. Steven presided over the school for eight years, leading the extremely important change from a department to a school and steering the school through significant change since then. Amongst Steven’s many achievements and successes have been:

  • Creating stability within the staff by converting fixed-term roles to permanent appointments
  • Appointing two Associate Professors and seeing two Professional Teaching Fellows receive promotions to level 4 (the highest academic level available to PTFs)
  • Steven’s detailed data analysis and vision for the future convinced the University to allocate free parking for Eye Clinic patients, which has assisted in keeping the clinic booked largely to capacity after the closure of the Tamaki site
  • Under Steven’s direction and leadership, philanthropic donations to the school have increased markedly, allowing the establishment of the Aotearoa Vision Bus and the provision of free glasses to children who were previously not accessing essential care
  • Cultural safety is being embedded in the school offerings, and the BOptom programme has a very strong reputation within Australasia

The reins are taken up by the very capable Andrew Collins, who has functioned as Academic Director (including BOptom Programme Director) and Head of School delegate for the last six years.


Staffing updates: other

  • Staff changes
    • Jay South has stepped up to take on part-time lecturing duties in 2022
    • Sila Vea returned to support the community outreach work taking place on the Aotearoa Vision Bus
  • In other staff news
    • Kristine Hammond has been appointed the new Chair of the Optometrists & Dispensing Opticians Board (ODOB) – congratulations!
    • Sam Schwarzkopf, Ehsan Vaghefi, and Monica Acosta were approved for research & study leave in 2022
  • We welcomed a number of postgraduate students this quarter:
    • Maggie Xu entered the PhD programme in February; Maggie completed the BOptom with us in 2019 and will be working with John Phillips on her PhD
    • PhD candidate Ecem Altan is returning to work with Sam Schwarzkopf in late April
    • Renee Edgar began her Master of Health Science part-time, working with Jo Black
    • Richard Johnson began the Master of Science part-time, working with Phil Turnbull
  • In other postgraduate student news
    • Sadly we farewell PhD candidate Aryaman Taore, who is moving to Germany to finish his PhD while learning German and working full-time; Ari is never one to shrink from a challenge!
    • Rebecca Findlay successfully defended her PhD thesis in March, and will graduate later in the year