Student-centric staff shine in annual staff awards presentations for 2022

15 December 2022 | News

Staff with unwavering dedication to delivering a world-class student experience have been recognised in the Staff Excellence Awards for 2022.

In awarding its most prestigious peer-judged honours to team members who work tirelessly to attend to the needs and wellbeing of students, Lincoln University has further underscored its deep commitment to delivering its renowned end-to-end student experience.

At an end-of-year event on Wednesday 14 December, Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards presented two Staff Excellence Awards and one Critic and Conscience of Society Award, all judged by a panel of peers, as well as two Excellence in Education Awards judged by a committee comprising current and former Lincoln University Council members and senior staff, a Lincoln University Students’ Association representative, a former winner of the award, plus one external appointee.

The annual Staff Excellence Awards recognise outstanding performance by individuals or teams who are nominated by their peers, managers, students or alumni as having demonstrated Lincoln University’s values, contributing to the University’s success and making it a great place to learn, discover and share. The winners receive a prize of $2500 plus a personalised trophy to keep.

The Staff Excellence Awards for 2022 were presented to Student Experience Manager Janelle Blythe and to the entire Accommodation Services Team, led by Belinda Hawley.

The Critic and Conscience of Society Award recognises the activities of a member of the academic staff who has most notably contributed to Lincoln University’s role as a critic and conscience of society. Nominated by staff and students, the award is only presented when a nominee is considered by the judging panel to have provided the public or government with an exceptional level of independent, expert commentary on national or global issues that affect societies and future generations. The winner receives a prize of $2500 and a trophy to keep.

In 2022, the Critic and Conscience Award has been presented to Dr Hafsa Ahmed, Lecturer in Global Value Chains Trade for the Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce.

The annual Excellence in Education Awards, nominated by Lincoln University teaching staff, recognise the ingenuity, innovation and commitment of the staff who make the most significant impact in a teaching capacity. The award points to their achievements in motivating and engaging with students in ways that make a sustained, substantial and positive influence on how students think, act and feel about themselves and their place in the world. Award recipients receive $1000 in prize money.

The Excellence in Education Awards were presented to Dr Samantha White and Dr Tim Baird, both of whom are lecturers from the Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce.

The University received record nominations in all award categories in 2022, which Professor Grant Edwards said signalled the enthusiasm of the Lincoln University staff to call out and reward their colleagues for outstanding performance.

“It was pleasing to see so many of our staff whānau dedicating so much effort into submitting thoughtful and compelling nominations for the judging panels to consider. This mobilisation on behalf of their fellow team mates epitomises the Lincoln University culture of manaakitaka and whanaukataka, where we look after each other, and where our people are supported and inspired to thrive.

“The judging panels undertook an exhaustive and rigorous process to identify the award winners in each category, and they relished the opportunity to acknowledge and reward the deserving recipients.”


Janelle Blythe

In their role of Student Experience Manager, Janelle Blythe is the personification of Lincoln University’s value of students at our core, and this commitment was never more evident than during the COVID-19 outbreak of early Semester 1 2022, when many infected accommodation students were isolated, unwell and a long way from home. Janelle organised and personally delivered groceries, vital equipment and meals up to three times a day, seven days a week, and on one occasion even rushed to campus at 3am to deliver blankets and food to a group of students in need.

Janelle’s humble, selfless championing of the needs of Lincoln’s student whānau complements their focused and clear-headed leadership qualities, as well as their compassion, inclusiveness and cultural intelligence.

Accommodation Services

The Accommodation Services team are totally dedicated to delivering the highest quality service to Lincoln’s accommodation students, and ensuring they experience a campus life that is truly a home away from home.

In the early part of 2022, when many accommodation students were isolating due to COVID, the team worked tirelessly to ensure all the students’ physical needs were met, while also providing the wellbeing support and pastoral care that signifies the renowned Lincoln University student experience.

The extraordinary care shown by the team to their student whānau after the tragic loss of a student while in residence in July 2022 exemplifies the unwavering dedication of the team members to their student whānau, even while managing their own grief and shock.

Dr Hafsa Ahmed

Dr Hafsa Ahmed has referred to her own life through this statement by Simon Sinek (author and inspirational speaker): “The value of our lives is not determined by what we do for ourselves. The value of our lives is determined by what we do for others.”

Hafsa’s portfolio of applied research projects is driven by futures foresight to make positive social change through addressing social issues in management. Applying her expertise in change management and stakeholder engagement, she aims to enhance management education to support social and environmentally responsible business leaders who are equipped with the skills to solve the wicked problems facing humanity.

Acclaimed by her colleagues and students as an inspirational teacher and insightful researcher, Hafsa is also committed to her role as an academic to contribute constructively to public debate.

Her canon includes a podcast series with Plains FM, a You Tube co-production with ANZAM called Spill the Beans and Unquiet Women – a series of 10 stories on female Asian migrants that she hopes will start a movement that empowers others.

Dr Samantha White

A passionate and enthusiastic educator dedicated to providing a supportive and inclusive learning environment, Dr Samantha White seeks creative and innovative ways of achieving best learning outcomes for her students, as illustratively demonstrated by her promotion of student-centred learning during the challenging period of the pandemic.

In particular, Samantha’s critical exploration and uptake of a ‘flipped classroom’ approach has enabled students to set the pace for their own learning. While low student attendance remains a global problem faced by academics, Samantha has successfully overcome this problem with her approach, achieving increased stability and engagement even in these challenging times.


Dr Tim Baird

A champion of online courses and hybrid teaching, Dr Tim Baird has been heavily involved with the creation and teaching of online courses at postgraduate and undergraduate level, using a hybrid teaching model in one such course. His teaching philosophy is one of inclusion, equity and encouragement of creative thinking, and student feedback is highly appreciative of his approach.

An ardent advocate of tertiary education, Tim strongly believes that ‘one never stops learning’ – whether as a teacher or a student. Through his own passionate pursuit of knowledge, experience and professional development, he inspires his students to achieve their own goals and aspirations.

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