TERNZ Conference & HERDSA Aotearoa New Zealand

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Kia Ora Koutou from the HERDSA-NZ Branch

I am delighted to report on a very successful Tertiary Education Research New Zealand (TERNZ) conference in Dunedin, hosted by the Higher Education Development Centre. The conference is our Branch’s annual event, which had been put on hold due to the pandemic. However, with the easing of restrictions, the other conference organisers and I were delighted to welcome over 60 delegates to the conference. In addition to thoughtful presentations, conversations and the conference meal, we held our AGM and welcomed five new committee members – Qian Liu, Sheena Townsend, Farah Shawkat, Rachel Spronken-Smith, and Susan Geertshius.

Another important event at the conference was the presentation of the HERDSA/TERNZ Research Medal. The Medal recognises a team or individual who has contributed outstandingly to tertiary education research in New Zealand. This includes tertiary education research itself and/or service to tertiary education research. Because of the pandemic and the nature of the TERNZ conference, we have not publicly awarded the medals for 2021 and 2022 so I invited the other two recipients to write about what being awarded the medal meant to them personally.

Nak. noa, n. – Rob

Photo: Delegates and presenters at the HERDSA/TERNZ Conference, Dunedin, November 2022.


  • Erik Brogt – 2020
  • Kathryn Sutherland – 2021
  • Rob Wass – 2022

Erik Brogt – HERDSA/TERNZ award recipient 2020
I’ve been warmly embraced by the HERDSA community since I arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 2009. I’m grateful that I’m currently in a position to practice utu, to give back to the community I received so much from. I’m passionate about creating and sustaining a supportive community of developers. My work in organising academic development symposia in Aotearoa / New Zealand and establishing the HERDSA Academic Development Special Interest Group are part of that. Receiving the HERDSA-TERNZ Research Medal in 2020 for my efforts was an amazing and unexpected honour, made more salient knowing that it came from my peers, friends and colleagues who know what it means to be an academic developer in the trenches.

Kathryn Sutherland – HERDSA/TERNZ award recipient 2021
From my first HERDSA conference as a PhD student in the late 1990s, I have learned so much from the research and work of my HERDSA and TERNZ colleagues, so to receive this medal was a huge honour. It was also a thrill to be presented with it in Dunedin, where I helped to initiate, with Stanley Frielick and Tony Harland, the first TERNZ Conference way back in the early 2000s. TERNZ generates inspiring and important conversations about higher education teaching, learning, and research, and I am proud of the scholarship that our Aotearoa, New Zealand, community produces. Long may the conversational, reciprocal and generous spirit of TERNZ continue in New Zealand education.

Rob Wass – HERDSA/TERNZ award recipient 2022
Like my colleagues, Erik and Kathryn, being awarded the HERDSA/TERNZ medal for 2022 was a great honour I will take with me for the rest of my life. It is fair to say that I was overwhelmed by the occasion. Although space doesn’t let me say much more, I want to thank my colleagues, students, and mentors for their support and encouragement. My PhD supervisor, Tony Harland, once told me of the HERDSA community, “these are your people”. Those are such true words; I think about them often.


The HERDSA Connect Blog offers comment and discussion on higher education issues; provides information about relevant publications, programs and research and celebrates the achievements of our HERDSA members.


HERDSA Connect links members of the HERDSA community in Australasia and beyond by sharing branch activities, member perspectives and achievements, book reviews, comments on contemporary issues in higher education, and conference reflections.


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