UC wins multiple NZ Geographical Society awards

30 September 2015

Several University of Canterbury academics and UC's GeoHealth Laboratory have been commended at this year's New Zealand Geographical Society awards.

Several University of Canterbury academics and UC’s GeoHealth Laboratory have been commended at this year’s New Zealand Geographical Society awards.

This year, an outstanding geographer who began his academic career at the University of Canterbury has received the highest NZGS award. Professor William A. V. Clark (University of California, Los Angeles) received the Distinguished New Zealand Geographer and Medal 2015 for his research as a human geographer.

There are few New Zealand geographers who have attained such a prestigious and sustained standing, not only in human geography but in population and migration studies generally. His productivity as a researcher and his leadership, both within UCLA and within the demographic community made him one of the best known geographers in the United States and possibly Europe as well. A University of Canterbury alumni, Clark is both a US and New Zealand citizen who gained a BA in 1960 and an MA (with first class honours) in 1961 from the University of Canterbury, then a PhD from the University of Illinois in 1964. Clark is presently Distinquished Research Professor at UCLA. He has also held positions at the University of Utrecht, the University of Auckland, the University of Wisconsin, University of Canterbury, University of Iowa and University of Illinois.

This year, several other UC geographers have received NZGS President’s Awards.

The President’s Award for Best Master’s Thesis has been awarded to University of Canterbury student Daniel Nutsford.  Nutsford completed his Master’s thesis in 2014 and was awarded a grade A.  His thesis has made a significant contribution to geographic knowledge in the field of Geographic Information Science, developing a new method for calculating the visibility of selected features from the perspective of an individual. His contribution has been recognised through four publications in international journals and at an international conference.

The President’s Award for Emerging Researcher in Geography has been received by UC Senior Lecturer in Human Geography Dr Malcolm Campbell. Dr Campbell started his first academic post after his PhD at the University of Canterbury in late 2011 and he has shown himself to be a top quality researcher and international star of the future. He is also a Director of the GeoHealth Laboratory.

The President’s Award for Collaborative Research involving Geographers (in all educational settings) 2015 has been awarded to The GeoHealth Laboratory, Department of Geography, at the University of Canterbury. The GeoHealth Laboratory at UC undertakes applied research in the areas of health geography, spatial epidemiology and Geographical Information Systems. In particular, work in the GeoHealth Laboratory focuses upon how the local and national contexts shape health outcomes and health inequalities.

The President’s Award for Teaching in Geography (in all educational settings) has been received by UC’s Dr Heather Purdie. A passionate, enthusiastic teacher, Dr Purdie engages in research-inspired teaching and is committed to the scholarship of teaching and learning. She recently completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Tertiary Teaching, and actively takes an experiential approach and believes that learning takes place through engagement. She is a real innovator, but thoughtful in how she innovates, based on good evidence. Highly respected by students, who respond well to her approach, Dr Purdie consistently scores very highly in UC’s teaching surveys. She was nominated for UC Students’ Association Lecturer of the Year in 2013 and 2014, and was voted in the top three for the College of Science in 2014. One student described her as “one of the most respectful and organised lecturers I have had”. Dr Purdie’s primary area of research is in the field of glaciology, in particular, investigating relationships between glacier mass balance and climate in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

This year a very special award was created to acknowledge the outstanding services of a long-standing support person to geography: the President’s Award for Exceptional Services (to the University of Canterbury) was awarded to Anna Petrie (Senior Administrator to the Geography Department). In 2014, UC’s Department of Geography celebrated Petrie's 40 years of service as its senior administrator. In that time, she has worked with seven heads of department (professors Barry Johnston, Jane Soons, Bob Kirk, Eric Pawson, Wendy Lawson, Andy Sturman and Simon Kingham), as well as dozens of academic and general staff and thousands of students.



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