Two leading New Zealand educational researchers have had their work recognised at the Royal Society of New Zealand's 2016 Research Honours Dinner last night.
Distinguished Professor Viviane Robinson ONZM, of the University of Auckland, received the Mason Durie Medal for her internationally-recognised research into the impact of leadership in schools. Professor Stuart McNaughton ONZM, also from the University of Auckland, was awarded the Dame Joan Metge Medal for his contributions to educational science research, for advancing literacy and language development and for his impact on education policy, nationally and internationally.
The Mason Durie Medal is awarded for research that has had an impact internationally. Robinson's work has changed educational policy and practice in New Zealand and overseas and resources she has developed are used in schools here and in Australia and Scandinavia.
Her research is around improving education through student-centred leadership that focuses on learning and well-being. It has shown the considerable effect leadership capabilities and practices have on student performance and has identified the interpersonal leadership skills that make the biggest difference and help learners to their best results.
“I am delighted that the critical importance of educational leadership, and leadership more generally, has been recognised through this award. Although the public and politicians are convinced of its importance, leadership is a tough phenomenon to study in a way that shows its impact,” says Professor Robinson.
Professor McNaughton also expressed his pleasure in receiving his award.
“I am humbled, but also appreciative to receive this award. Appreciative because it is a recognition of how educational science can help solve complex problems to ensure excellent, equitable education for all our children.”
Key to his research has been the testing and development of models to help schools monitor results and identify where different approaches are needed to ensure all children, of diverse backgrounds, have the opportunity to raise their skills and knowledge, academically and socially, to reach their potential and contribute fully to society.