20 November 1996 Achievements by Lincoln staff rewarded
Four Lincoln academics have been honoured in the University's annual round of Special Achievement Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Research, and a fifth has received a one-off Special Award for Excellence in Educational Extension.
For Excellence in Teaching the recipients are Dr Tracy Berno, Lecturer in Tourism, Department of Human and Leisure Studies, and Dr Graham Hickling, Senior Lecturer in Animal Ecology, Department of Entomology and Animal Ecology.
For Excellence in Research and Creative Activity the awardees are Dr Tim Davies, Reader in Natural Resources Engineering, Department of Natural Resources Engineering and Dr Simon Swaffield, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Architecture, Department of Landscape Architecture.
The Special Award for Excellence in Educational Extension has been presented to Dr Graeme Buchan, Reader in Environmental Physics and Environmental Education, Department of Soil Science.
Highlighted in the citation for Dr Tracy Berno is her skill in teaching quantitative social science research methods. Described as one of the most demanding areas of social science teaching and "pedagogically difficult", it is approached by Dr Berno through the use of contemporary examples from the students' own range of experience, and she is acknowledged as making the learning process both enjoyable and fun.
Dr Berno is consistently rated among the University's top lecturers by students in her undergraduate research methods class.
Exceptional teaching evaluations also set Dr Graham Hickling apart as an educator and his citation notes the increasing enrolments in subjects for which he is the examiner, the way he is highly sought after by postgraduate students as a supervisor and the excellent supporting statements he receives from former postgraduate students.
Peers at other universities regularly comment on his stimulating contribution to their teaching programmes when he accepts invitations to speak to their classes.
In his teaching Dr Hickling places much emphasis on preparing his students for the "real world" and they have a high success rate in obtaining employment in the animal ecology field in New Zealand.
To enrich his teaching he draws on a highly productive and well-funded research programme and an ongoing contribution to wildlife management in New Zealand. His "cutting edge" investigations on possums, Tb and other wildlife issues provide an excellent platform from which he engenders excitement in his teaching.
Described in his citation as an "incisive critic of accepted wisdom in fluvial geomorphology, rock and soil erosion behaviour", Dr Tim Davies has carried out research which has challenged pervious ideas about braided gravel bed river behaviour, sediment transport, alluvial fan processes, debris flows and rock falls.
Much of Dr Davies' original research is based on field observation coupled with physical scale modelling in the laboratory and he has an ability to link together phenomena reported from diverse sources – even considering the similarity of processes on Mars to some of his favourite terrestrial interests.
His work has attracted international attention and he is a regular speaker at overseas specialist workshops. He is also regularly involved in consultancy work with regional councils and other agencies.
Lincoln University's presence as a recognised member of the influential international network of academic landscape architectural institutions is largely the result of the research activities of Dr Simon Swaffield coupled with departmental initiatives under his leadership such as the organisation of an international conference "Languages of Landscape Architecture" held at Lincoln in 1995 and the subsequent creation of the refereed journal "Landscape Review".
Relinquishing the headship of Lincoln's Department of Landscape Architecture earlier this year to become the University's Academic Programme Director for Resource Studies, Dr Swaffield has, since 1991, worked with others on a detailed and ambitious programme assessing the effects of land use changes in the Mackenzie/Waitaki basin. His involvement has been notable for influencing the overall direction and social science credibility of the programme.
The international conference he organised in 1995 helped consolidate a previously fragmented group of researchers and provide a focus for landscape research around the Pacific rim and the refereed landscape journal has been received internationally as a major addition to landscape literature filling a widely felt need.
Dr Swaffield's work has helped foster a culture of landscape research and he is continuously prompting the research domain to expand, whilst critically examining the relevance of its views and the application of its understanding to professional practice.
He delights in exploring ways in which culture, landscape, ecology and place shift and react with one another.
As the founder of Lincoln University's now renowned EnviroSchool, Dr Graeme Buchan is recognised nationally and internationally for his initiatives, expertise and dedication to the promotion of environmental education. In this field he has made an outstanding contribution to the educational extension activity of Lincoln University.
Along with other staff involved, Dr Buchan received a "Green Ribbon" award from the Minister for the Environment earlier this year for the work of EnviroSchool among the country's 6th and 7th formers.
Dr Buchan has also been Chief Judge of the Canterbury-Westland Science Fair and the Lincoln University representative on the New Zealand Science Teachers' Association. He is currently a member of the Royal Society Committee on the Science of the New Zealand Environment.
He has published leading articles on environmental education in international journals and is frequently invited to present papers on environmental education at international conferences.
Lincoln's Special Achievement Awards were established in 1990, the year the institution became an autonomous university. They are a way for the University to acknowledge outstanding achievements by staff members outside the traditional and longer-term promotional process.
The presentations were made by the University's Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Roger Field, at a Staff Forum.
Ian Collins, Journalist, Lincoln University, Canterbury, New Zealand.