My intention for the future is expressed through the Māori proverb: Ka mua, ka muri (the future will come out of the past, but it is not identical to it).
My past is evident in this portfolio. I have made a contribution to students (and clients), through my work as an educator and researcher. I have a particular strength in research, which is given meaning by my focus on educating students and making an impact through practice and advocacy/enterprise. Back in 2015, I articulated this vision for myself in the form of a ‘nexus‘. After this point, every decision I have made about teaching and researching has been guided by this vision – and my capacity to write and teach began to take off in a new way.
My portfolio demonstrates my values. For example, in my work with Vision Rehabilitation, I chose to focus on an area where there is a major gap in service delivery. I have cared enough to take responsibility to translate my research findings into a dynamic collaboration between my workplace and independent consumer groups. For example, I attended a funeral recently where my students were remembered with fondness by the family of a woman, who got strength and comfort from being part of their education.
I have needed courage and confidence to continue to advocate for services with the government (including select committee and national reference group), with my discipline (to push occupational therapy to the forefront of delivery of vision rehabilitation services, in spite of lack of funding) and with my school (to insert vision rehab into a busy curriculum). I have demonstrated integrity in the many ways that I been accountable to the community of people with visual impairment and my colleagues, by inserting evidence based practice and developing educational opportunities based on my research, both at postgraduate and undergraduate levels, and across the disciplines. And finally, I have been creative in the ways that I have empowered my students (to find their own voice, to consult, to advocate, and to achieve funding opportunities.
My work has created a foundation for an approach to the common good that is specific to occupational therapy. I completed my PhD on ‘care ethics’ and this work has been expressed in papers, conference presentations, guest invitations to lecture at the University and Polytechnic, and a book. This empirical research informed the Human Rights case about payment of family carers in 2008 and 2018, and it was the basis for a commissioned report by the Ministry of Health. I get real satisfaction from the fact that this work is now being integrated systematically in the occupational therapy curriculum.
I focus on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning as a pragmatic and sustainable way to bring together the threads of research with education. I enjoy guiding students through the research process, from ethics through to publication. My particular strength is in helping them to join the dots between these points, so they feel that what they do has meaning and relevance. One way I do this is by leading weekly online research seminars, challenging students to collaborate in data analysis, and to present using Three Minute Theses formats. I hope that I can continue to identify and guide experienced clinicians who are capable of demonstrating leadership through the research process.
By leading the integration of Ethics B into the department during 2018, I have opened the door to a dialogue about how clinical work can also be conceptualized as research. This is an exciting and challenging development for both students and staff. Increasingly, I work with longitudinal projects where new graduates are facilitated through a rapid learning about the research process, including Māori consultation. I am constantly refining my teaching and learning about research methods in order to reflect the capacity and interests of the next generation of OT researchers. I seek avenues for publication for student work, and being an editor on Scope Journals (and the NZ Journal of OT) is helpful in this endeavour I aim to break teaching siloes wherever I can and I model this in my practice. By building networks, it has already been possible to develop interdisciplinary projects. The Save Sight Symposium in September is a recent example of how this can be achieved, and I have brought together students from the polytechnic (OT, information technology, design, social service, film and event management) and from the university (debating society) to create the symposium. The intergenerational volunteer program that I developed is being developed as a micro-credential and adopted by all third-year IT students. These collaborations can only be built by carefully listening to what is happening on the ground for teachers in different disciplines. The movement to extend experiential learning through intelligent use of technology and simulation is one I can make a contribution to. I have enjoyed developing simulation experiences for my students in vision rehabilitation. I am particularly excited by the potential of a virtual reality simulation that I have been developing in collaboration with a third year IT student.
In summary, I hope that this portfolio will demonstrate the many initiatives that I have developed in the areas of both research and teaching and learning. The portfolio is organised into two sections: Research and Learning and Teaching. In the research section I give samples of my projects, alongside the stories of how they developed.In the Learning and Teaching section I try to demonstrate my approach to teaching overall.