Eight new Professor Emeriti titles granted

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University is proud to announce eight new Professor Emeriti, conferred by the Honorary Awards Committee.

Top row, L-R: Professors Serge Demidenko, Richard Haverkamp, Alastair Nielson and Qiao Wang. Bottom row, L-R: Professors Pamela von Hurst, Carol Wham, Michael Belgrave and Roberta Hunter.

Professors Serge Demidenko, Richard Haverkamp, Alastair Nielson, Qiao Wang, Pamela von Hurst, Carol Wham, Michael Belgrave and Roberta Hunter have been granted emeriti titles in recognition of their service to the university.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas commends the newly appointed academics for their commitment to advancing knowledge and strengthening the teaching and research capacity of the university.

“I’m delighted to honour this new cohort of awardees, whose remarkable contributions extend beyond the university to shape international fields of research and education. In receiving these titles, they have exemplified the values of Massey through their dedication to academic excellence and the sharing of knowledge. I offer my congratulations to each of them for this well-deserved recognition – thank you for your lasting impact on Massey University.”

The title of Professor Emeritus/Emerita is bestowed on members of the professoriate upon retirement, who have attained national recognition for their contributions to their field of expertise and have significantly enriched their university through their work. Many choose to continue their connection with the university through activities such as short-term contracts, researcher endeavours, supervision of PhD students, mentorships and advisory roles.

College of Sciences

Professor Emeritus Serge Demidenko – School of Food Technology and Natural Sciences

Professor Serge Demidenko has made valuable and impactful contributions throughout his Massey career, spanning over two decades of academic and leadership positions across all three campuses.

As a Professor in electronics, information and communication systems, he has been recognised nationally and internationally as a reputable expert in electronic design and testing, signal processing and generation and instrumentation and measurement. His high qualifications and valuable results have been acknowledged by top fellowships from the world’s most reputable professional institutions in the field of electrical engineering, including The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Institution of Engineering and Technology, as well as from several highly regarded international bodies.

In addition to Professor Demidenko’s leadership capabilities and scholarly achievements in Aotearoa New Zealand, he has acquired extensive and diverse academic and research experience internationally. This has been combined with close collaboration with the world’s leading hi-tech industrial companies.

His illustrious career has been underscored by numerous accolades in education, research and services to the profession.

Professor Emeritus Richard Haverkamp – School of Food Technology and Natural Sciences

Professor Richard Haverkamp has a prominent international profile in synchrotron science, particularly in its application to collagen materials and inorganic nanomaterials. His cross-disciplinary expertise enables him to navigate a wide range of techniques and disciplines and apply principles of nanotechnology to diverse problems.

Over his 28-year tenure with Massey, Professor Haverkamp has cultivated a world-leading reputation in nanomaterials. This has led to frequent invitations from international institutions and high demand from industrial enterprises seeking research contracts and consultancies. He is the senior author on the majority of his 127 journal publications.

Esteemed by colleagues both nationally and internationally, Professor Haverkamp is known for his generosity with his time and his genuine dedication to scientific inquiry. Along with receiving awards for his teaching, he is highly sought after by students for his passion for research and serves as a mentor to staff.

Professor Haverkamp intends to continue his collaborations with Massey through supervising student research, training staff in the use of the atomic force microscopy, assisting Massey Ventures in commercialising a medical device he has invented and further project collaborations within his network.

Professor Emeritus Alastair (Al) Nielson – School of Food Technology and Natural Sciences

Professor Al Nielson began his journey with Massey 26 years ago, dedicating himself to his lab work to produce significant publications in the field of chemistry and to the mentorship of his students. He is known for running additional tutorial sessions for chemistry students outside his regular hours to help progress knowledge.

Professor Nielson has an international profile that has seen him invited to numerous conferences in New Zealand and overseas to speak and present his research. He has undertaken two sabbatical periods at the Chemistry Department of Oxford University. His dedication to teaching has been recognised through multiple teaching awards and he was made a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry in 1987. In 2005, he was invited by the Royal Society of Chemistry in the United Kingdom (UK) to become a Fellow, a considerably rare honour for a non-UK chemistry researcher. Throughout his career, he has produced 106 research papers.

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Professor Nielson has been active in Massey University administration, serving on many committees and chairing the Auckland campus Health and Safety Committee for over two decades, where he introduced many innovative health and safety systems. He intends to continue his association with Massey through further research endeavours and running tutorials for chemistry students at the Auckland campus.

Professor Emeritus Qiao Wang – School of Agriculture and Environment

Professor Qiao Wang is an internationally renowned entomologist who has been a part of Massey for 28 years. With an exemplary research record, he is recognised on an international level for his expertise and scholarship. His research and work on biological control and behavioural ecology of plant pests, particularly longicorn pests, has advanced the detection and management of invasive pests in many countries. His work has enhanced trade policymaking, quarantine pest identification and control measures, which have averted potential losses amounting to billions of dollars from invasive pests.

Professor Wang’s dedication to the university and the wider academic community has been extensive, evidenced by his service on editorial boards, academic panels and committees. He has published more than 300 scientific works, including more than 200 peer-reviewed journal articles, books and book chapters. His research has been supported by numerous national and international grants and he has received multiple awards and distinctions, including the most prestigious Distinguished Scientists Award from the Entomological Society of America in 2012. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2022.

Upon retirement, Professor Wang will continue to advise and support staff and postgraduate students in the School of Agriculture and Environment, as well as jointly publish and collaborate internationally under the Massey umbrella and engage in other activities related to the university.

College of Health

Professor Emerita Pamela von Hurst – School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition

Professor Pamela von Hurst has established herself as a highly respected professor of human nutrition, holding numerous advisory roles with the Ministry of Health and non-government organisations. She is frequently invited to speak and collaborate with international and high-profile researchers. Throughout her career, Professor von Hurst has demonstrated consistent success with research funding, enabling her to supervise over 50 PhD and master’s students, lead 17 major research projects and publish 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals.

In her specialised field of vitamin D research, Professor von Hurst has produced novel studies about the status of the New Zealand population and was the first scientist to demonstrate the effect of vitamin D on insulin sensitivity. During her 14 years with Massey, she has made substantial contributions to her School, College and the university. She has served in various leadership roles within the School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition, held roles on the College of Health Research Committee and the Academic Programme Committee and has actively contributed to nutrition science on national and international levels.

Professor von Hurst has been offered an Honorary Research position by the Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Health Professor Jill McCutcheon, which allows her to continue supervising postgraduate students and mentoring junior staff. She intends to continue her roles in the international nutrition community and remain a positive ambassador for the university.

Professor Emerita Carol Wham – School of Sport, Exercise and Nutrition

Professor Carol Wham was one of the first New Zealand dietitians to achieve a PhD and the first to be appointed professor. She is a recognised authority in nutrition and dietetics and her contributions have elevated the professional standards within the discipline.

Professor Wham was awarded the Dietitians New Zealand Award of Excellence in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the advancement of the profession. Her research has shifted the paradigm related to increasing awareness of nutrition status and the absence of appropriate nutrient reference values for older adults in New Zealand.

Since joining Massey in 2003, Professor Wham has demonstrated innovation and leadership in the development of the undergraduate Bachelor of Science Human Nutrition and postgraduate Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics courses. She has been an investigator in projects securing over $10 million in external research funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Ministry of Health.

Professor Wham has accepted the role of Honorary Research Fellow at Massey for the next three years. She will continue to supervise current PhD and master’s students and serve as co-supervisor for the new postgraduate candidates. She intends to provide mentorship for staff teaching on the Nutrition and Dietetic training programme and collaborate with dietetic students to develop evidence-based nutrition resources and communications for social media use. Professor Wham was recently appointed Scientific Director of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor Emeritus Michael Belgrave – School of Humanities, Media and Creative Communication

Professor Michael Belgrave came to Massey for the opening of the Auckland campus in March 1993. He brought from his role as research manager at the Waitangi Tribunal a passion for public history and applied social science. Initially, he took a historian’s perspective to research and teaching in social policy and social work.

One of his proudest achievements was leading the development of school social work in New Zealand, from small beginnings in a pilot on the North Shore to a nationally valued programme for families across the country. Throughout his time at Massey, he has continued to work with the Waitangi Tribunal, assisting claimants and aiding in negotiating treaty settlements.

As a prolific writer with an outstanding reputation across multiple fields of knowledge, Professor Belgrave’s work in public history, Māori history, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and social policy has been internationally recognised. He has served as a vital link between academia, various government entities involving social and political policy and diverse communities engaging with government.

Professor Belgrave has been an active participant in the governance and management of the university, from chairing Academic Board to convening college forums in Auckland.

Professor Emerita Roberta Hunter – Institute of Education

Through her two-decade tenure at Massey, Professor Roberta Hunter has firmly established her reputation as a one of the top influencers on Pacific peoples’ and Māori children’s mathematics learning and cultural self-realisation in primary school classrooms across New Zealand and several Pacific countries.

Professor Hunter developed the Mathematical Inquiry Communities (DMIC) research, development and dissemination model of mathematics teaching. Within this model, she conceptualised cultural responsiveness, identity formation and the understanding of mathematics for both children and teachers. Securing multi-million-dollar government grants over the past two decades, she successfully disseminated the DMIC approach to hundreds of schools in socio-economically challenged areas. As a result, Professor Hunter’s work has positively influenced thousands of teachers and young people, particularly in the Pacific communities, providing them with opportunities in mathematics they may not have otherwise had.

Her work has received widespread national and international academic acclaim and she has collaborated with colleagues, leaders, principals, teachers, teacher aides, researchers, iwi, Pacific leaders, policy makers, communities and children to effect change.

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