AUT staff came together for the Inaugural Vice-Chancellor Diversity Awards to acknowledge the diversity initiatives of eight awardees at the Auckland Art Gallery last week.
The awards celebrated AUT’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, embedding everyday diversity and saluting work by Faculties and Divisions in the diversity space.
“The benefits in promoting diversity at AUT are to make the university more accessible, more welcoming and more engaging for our various communities. We want AUT to be a great place to work and study,” said Dr Andrea Vujnovich, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Corporate, General Counsel & Governance.
During her audience address, University Director of Diversity and event organiser, Professor Edwina Pio, said “many here will resonate with the echo of myriad memories, of inconvenient doubt, of stumbling, of passing the baton, of broken dreams, of fulfilling dreams and of grit and endurance. We do diversity every day and I privilege hope and compassion as the heart of diversity.”
Lexie Matheson, ONZM - Senior Lecturer
Lexie has been a key driving force behind the Faculty of Culture and Society’s Diversity Seminar Series and is supportive of students from every minority. She is AUT’S Academic Equity Leader, Rainbow Representative for the TEU and gives a huge amount of her time speaking to break down barriers.
Her work in the LGBTQI community is extensive and has a positive impact for students and staff across the university and beyond into the community.
Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh – Lecturer
Mahsa was nominated for the Diversity Awards for her pursuits in promoting a career in STEM subjects for women, debunking stereotypes that hold women back, and helping young women choose careers they are passionate about regardless of societal expectations.
Mahsa founded She# in 2014, a non-profit networking and learning group for women interested in technology. In recognition of her efforts, she was one of ten semi-finalists in the 2018 New Zealander of the Year Awards.
Professor Candice Harris – Head of Department – Management
Candice been a valued member of the Universities New Zealand Women in Leadership Steering Group since March 2009 and instrumental in the development of academic and professional programmes, delivering sessions since 2011.
Candice co-initiated and organised the inaugural NZWIL symposia and played a lead role in the development and delivery of the NZWIL Discipline Pod idea, hosting the first one in 2017 at AUT for women Maths, Stats, Accounting and Finance colleagues across NZ.
Candice also researched the comprehensive Business Case for Change, for Champions for Change.
Candice also co-led the Council for Australasian Tourism and Hospitality Education Critical Approaches Special Interest Group and sponsored debates on issues including gender and diversity in tourism education and research.
Robert Hogg - Senior Lecturer
Robert Hogg was nominated for the Diversity Awards for his outstanding and extraordinary contributions to enhancing Mātauranga Māori within the School of Sport and Recreation.
Robb is the lead facilitator of the School’s mission to build staff and student cultural capability. Robb has helped the school on a journey to be cognisant of Māori knowledge - Mōhio I te Mātauranga Māori. Robb has led the integration of Mātauranga Māori into the undergraduate curriculum - srange of core papers now have relevant content.
Robb has also led staff professional development in this area through ongoing sharing of Tikanga Māori and his Te Ao Māori (Māori world view). He facilitated the composition of the School waiata, Mai Anō, by Valance Smith. This waiata is now regularly performed by School staff at appropriate student and public engagements.
Jo-Anne Lewis - Community Relations Manager
Jo-Anne is an active supporter of many diversity groups at AUT both through her role and in a voluntary capacity.
She is an ally of the LGBTQI community at AUT, working with Out@AUT and helping deliver events such as AUT at Big Gay Out, the Pride Parade and Pink Shirt Day - In 2016, Jo-Anne was awarded an Out@AUT ally award.
In her role, she has continued to build AUT’s partnership with Rainbow Auckland/ GAB via the Auckland Rainbow Auckland Business Series.
Jo builds AUT’s external relationships with not for profits, community groups, and professional associations strategically, shaping project so they advance AUT’s goals for diversity, inclusion and sustainability.
Shahla Damoory - Centre Leader
Shahla was nominated for the Diversity Awards for her continued commitment to the development of tikanga in the centre.
Shahla has championed the professional development for all members of staff in the team to participate in Te Reo classes, has committed to seeing all children in the centre attend a powhiri, and took a leadership role of the renaming of the centre to a Maori name to reflect our commitment to the culture.
Shahla continually seeks to honour the diversity of both the children and the families who attend the centre by co-ordinating a calendar of events marking all significant celebrations that build the sense of community and inclusion.
Brett McCready - ICT Core Platforms Manager
Brett was nominated for his Fit Camps initiative, an inclusive and outstanding contribution to diversity.
Brett began running 30-minute fitness sessions for ICT Services staff in 2016. They proved so popular that staff from other areas of the university began participating too.
Brett has a Fitness Instructor and Personal Training qualification from AUT and applies his knowledge and experience as a desk bound office worker to the sort of fitness routines most suitable to the participants.
More recently Brett has added a competitive aspect called the Lighten Up Fit Camp which runs over 8 weeks.
Isabella Rasch - Pacific Student Support Advisor
Isabella’s commitment to students has seen positive impacts for many years. Isabella has the wisdom of experience and is informed and engaged in what is important and topical.
Her support for Pasifika students is especially outstanding. She is a person of action and relationships and has stepped onto the breach on behalf of the university on many occasions.