Promotions lift research profile

Friday, August 2, 2019
Appointment of new professors shows academics’ impact

The professorial promotion of three academics demonstrates Avondale’s commitment to research in fields of study on which it based its application for university college status.

Professors Robert McIver and Daniel Reynaud (society and culture) and Maria Northcote (education) are not only researchers with national and international profile and authors of books and publications in journals but also innovative academic leaders. The former were two of the first three at Avondale promoted to Associate Professor; Northcote came to Avondale with the title. They are all examples of how Avondale is contributing to knowledge and practice in education and in society and culture.

Professor Robert McIver
McIver is director of the Scripture, Spirituality and Society Research Centre at Avondale and editor of its academic press, which he initiated. As president for a second term, he leads in the organisation of an annual conference for the Australia and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools. He is also lead on two projects for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists—one is studying employee’s perceptions of their relationship to the mission of the church and the other tithing behaviour of church members. McIver’s research demonstrates methodological innovation. For example, he developed a memory experiment to distinguish between orally transmitted and copied material in a study of the relationships between the Synoptic Gospels. And he developed a protocol by which tithe receipts could be analysed to provide estimates of age, frequency of giving and total amount given while preserving the giver’s anonymity.

Professor Daniel Reynaud
Reynaud has pioneered research into the representation of the Great War in Australian cinema and television and the spirituality of the Anzacs, his primary area of interest and the inspiration for three books. The National Film and Sound Archive commissioned a monograph by Reynaud to accompany a compilation of silent Australian war films created under his direction at the archive’s request. It also released his reconstruction of The Hero of the Dardanelles (1915), making Australia’s first Gallipoli movie publicly available for the first time in a century. Reynaud wrote an Adventist Media-commissioned series of top-rating documentaries about Anzac spirituality, which the Seven Network broadcast in Australia. The series won two awards. And in a never-been-done-before double, Reynaud helped produce Romanian publisher Editura Minerva’s first substantial anthology of modern poetry and the first poetry anthology in English.

Professor Maria Northcote
Northcote has demonstrated leadership through: design and delivery of professional development for online educators and of researcher education, and; curriculum and assessment design. The former Director of the Centre for Advancement of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning has initiated 170 professional development activities at Avondale and other institutions over the past five years. The awarding of a fellowship by the Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia recognised the national impact of this commitment. Northcote also tapped her national and international network of collaborators to develop a Visiting Scholars’ Program. Her ability to build and sustain these relationships helped as she co-edited a handbook on humanising the distance learning experience—it included 19 chapters from 32 authors. Generating income for research is perhaps more notable: Northcote has led three of the four learning and teaching grants awarded to Avondale by the Australian Government.

McIver, Northcote and Reynaud are the second homegrown professors after the appointment in 2017 of Professor Brett Mitchell, whose prolific publications and competitive grants have given his infection control research national profile. He demonstrated commitment to research in Avondale’s third field of study, heath.

Like Mitchell, McIver sees the promotion as “strong affirmation of my long time work at Avondale.” Reynaud, though, did not consider applying for promotion until encouraged to do so by a colleague. “I never set out to become a professor. I just did the things I loved to do—teach, write, lead.” While Northcote sees her promotion as recognition that Avondale “appreciates what I do and how I do it. I get a kick out of helping others—students, colleagues, people I mentor or people who mentor me—achieve their potential.”

Vice-President (Academic) Professor Stephen Currow notes that academics from other higher education providers are part of the promotion process. “The question is asked, ‘Would these applicants be considered as professors at your institution?’” he says, “and in these cases, the answer is yes.” The three promotions demonstrate “Avondale is delivering quality tertiary education within the framework of Seventh-day Adventist values.”

The appointment of Malcolm Anderson, Peter Kilgour and Darren Morton as associate professors recognises their research and publication records in traumatic brain injury, Christian education and lifestyle medicine.

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Brenton Stacey

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Brenton is Avondale College of Higher Education’s Public Relations Officer. He brings to the role a decade’s experience as a communicator in publishing, media relations, public relations, radio and television, mostly within the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the South Pacific and its entities. He is also co-convenor of Manifest, a movement exploring, encouraging and celebrating #faithfulcreativity in the Adventist Church.

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