College of Education welcomes new Pro-Vice-Chancellor

Published by Communications and Development

5 September 2007

Professor Gail Gillon’s first day as Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) was officially marked on Wednesday (5 September) with a powhiri welcoming her to the College of Education.

Professor Gillon (Ngāi Tahu) succeeds Dr Graham Stoop who left the University earlier this year after being appointed Chief Executive of the Education Review Office. She is the first woman to hold the post of pro-vice-chancellor at the University. 

More than 130 staff from throughout the University gathered in the Henry Field Library to welcome Professor Gillon who was supported by more than 40 family, friends and colleagues from the College of Science. For the past decade Professor Gillon has been a leading researcher in UC's Department of Communication Disorders and more recently has held the post of Kaiarahi Maori for the College of Science.

Speeches were given on behalf of the tangata whenua by Bryan Te Hurinui Clarke (Māori, Social and Cultural Studies), Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Town and Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Maori) Sir Tipene O’Regan, with responses given on behalf of the manuhiri by Rev. Turi Hollis (Maori and Indigenous Studies), Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Science) Professor Ian Shaw and Monte Ohia, Kaiārahi, Executive Director CPIT.

Speaking at the luncheon that followed the powhiri, Professor Gillon said she was excited and privileged to be joining the College of Education. 

“I am looking forward to working with the College of Education community as we move forward in our pursuit of research and teaching excellence at both national and international levels. We will work together to embrace the challenges that we will undoubtedly face as a new College. We will also celebrate together the many successes that I know staff and students within this College of Education will have in the future.”

Professor Gillon thanked the Maori community for their support. 

“Raising Maori achievement across the education sector is a critical issue for all of us as New Zealanders. I look forward to enhancing robust and meaningful relationships with our Maori community. It is through our combined strengths that we will make a positive and significant difference towards meeting Maori aspirations within an educational context.”

Professor Gillon also paid tribute to her colleagues in the Department of Communication Disorders and the wider College of Science. 

“I’ve had the great privilege of working closely with outstanding leaders and researchers in science, many of whom have helped shape and mentor me in my academic career.”

Professor Town took the opportunity to formally welcome Professor Gillon to the Senior Management Team. 

“You bring a raft of new skills, views and style to the SMT. I know you will lead with confidence, wisdom and maturity.”

Professor Gillon’s appointment sees her returning to her academic roots. It was at the former Christchurch College of Education (now the UC College of Education) where she completed her professional qualifications in education, teaching, and speech-language therapy.

After graduating in 1983 she spent several years working in New Zealand and Australia in the special education sector, before completing her Doctorate in Speech and Hearing at the University of Queensland in 1995.

Professor Gillon is well-known internationally for her research on the prevention of reading disorders for children at risk. Her research has been widely published in leading speech-language pathology, reading, and education journals and she recently became the first New Zealander to be made a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

For further information please contact:
Jeanette Colman
Communications Manager
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 2260