FREEDOM Postgraduate Faculty

Professor Nelleke Bak

BA (Ed), BA (Hons), MA, PhD (University of the Western Cape)

 Facilitation Foci: Research Methods and Research Supervision

About Nelleke

Before moving to New Zealand in May 2015, Professor Nelleke Bak was the Director of Postgraduate Studies at the University of Cape Town, where she was responsible for overseeing postgraduate policy, streamlining systems, encouraging appropriate innovation, developing educational resources and providing academic and professional development opportunities for 8,500 postgraduate students and 320 postdoctoral fellows. Prior to this role Nelleke was Professor of Education Policy Studies at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, Associate Professor-Director of National and International Scholarships at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, USA, Director and Chief Curriculum Developer of the South African Nation Responsible Gambling Schools Programme, Associate Professor, Director of Postgraduate Enrolment and Throughput at the University of Western Cape South Africa and, and at the start of her career a teacher and School Head of Department. Through her positions, Nelleke has developed significant skills in the areas of postgraduate teaching, supervision (both Masters and PhD students), resource development and academic management and leadership. Nelleke speaks three languages fluently, has gained an outstanding Teacher Award, is an experienced facilitator and has developed curricula – class-based and web-based resources for diverse audiences.

Research interests/expertise

Nelleke’s research interests include philosophy of education, critical and scientific reasoning, curriculum design, teaching-facilitation quality, ethics and postgraduate education. In addition, she has written a series of guides for postgraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, administrators and supervisors including: Research Proposal Guide, Thesis Guide, Supervision Guide, Guidelines for the Administration of Master’s and Doctoral Students, Guide to Academic Writing, Guide on Avoiding Plagiarism, Guide on Managing Postdocs, Publishing from your Thesis, a Supervision Starter Pack and has co-written  a Student Survival Guide. Nelleke has published in numerous journals, written a book entitled Completing your Thesis: A Practical Guide (van Schaik, 2004) and has contributed to a range of publications. Nelleke’s main research interests include ethics of the Built Environment, Scientific Reasoning and Critical Thinking, Supervision Relationships and Practices, Youth Gambling and High-Risk Behaviour.

Recent publications/research in progress

1.    Bak, N. (2015). Complementary models of supervision. Acknowledged contribution in In Holness, L. Growing the Next Generation of Researchers. Cape Town: UCT Press.

2.    Bak, N. (2011). Professionalising the supervision relationship: A reply to Waghid, Fataar and Hugo. South African Journal of Higher Education 25(6): 1047-1061.

3.    Bak, N. (2007). Taking Risks Wisely, Grades 7-9. The South African Responsible Gambling Trust: Johannesburg (Piloted version: 2007; final version: 2010)

4.    Bak, N. (2004). How to Complete Your Thesis: A Practical Guide. Pretoria: Van Schaik’s.

Dr. Donald Joyce

CertAd&Tert.Ed, BSc (Hons), and PhD, (University of Cambridge)

 Facilitation Foci: Research, Information Technology and Research Supervision

Donald has a vast and successful background as a Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Professor, Academic Quality Adviser, Group Facilitator and Mentor in both university and polytechnic settings in New Zealand and overseas. Donald has held positions at Unitec, Massey University and the Universities of Auckland, Cambridge, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Otago, Oxford, Papua New Guinea, and the South Pacific. He has also served as chair of the National Advisory Committee on Computing Qualifications (NACCQ). Academic quality system work has included contributions and leadership roles related to academic issues, academic integrity, academic standards, academic statutes, appointments and promotions, postgraduate studies, preliminary studies, undergraduate studies, and university status. Donald has directed qualifications from certificate to doctoral level, served on two NZQA panels, acted as a subject expert for a PTE’s application for approval and accreditation of a degree and as a degree monitor at three institutes of technology.

Research interests/expertise

Donald’s research interests have in the main focussed on academic integrity, assessment and learner success, programme development, delivery and review. Recent publications include a textbook used in 13 countries, 66 papers in conference proceedings (17 international and 49 national), 35 other conference presentations (11 international and 24 national) and 20 journal papers (9 international and 11 national). Successful supervision of Master’s and doctoral learners is also a key skill and area of experience. Donald is a highly competent, innovative and methodical consultant who can provide clients with quality solutions, systems and materials. 

Susan F. Stevenson (nee Graham)

DipTchg, HDipTchg, AdDipTchg, CTT, BritScrtDip, DipRec&Sp,   
AISTD (Ball. London), AISTD (Lat. London), MNZFATD (Lat.NZ)
BEd, PGDip Arts (Education), GradDipCD&AL(Hons) and M.Ed (University of Otago)

Higher Education, Health and Business

Educational Facilitator and Consultant

 About Susan

Susan has held a range of senior management and leadership roles including University Staff Developer, Research Manager, Senior Lecturer, Department Head and Research Fellow, specialist Degree Programme Curriculum Advisor/Designer/Developer, NZQA Approvals and Accreditations Advisor, National Academic Manager, and multiple charitable trust and company directorships. She is currently the President of the International Higher Education Curriculum Designer & Academic Leadership Society. Susan was a USA, UNESCO Scholarship Recipient and has chaired an NZQA Subject Advisory Group as well as research and ethics committees. In 2006, Susan founded House of Montrose Limited, and is now a ‘hands on’ Chief Executive Director of this leading business and education consulting company who trades as ‘NZCDI Business and Education Consultants’ and the highly successful ‘New Zealand Curriculum Design Institute’, a NZQA Registered and Approved Course Owner organisation. Susan has lead or contributed to numerous level 1 to 9 qualification designs or re-development projects and was appointed as an NZQA degree approval and accreditations panellist/chair in 2010. 

Research interests/expertise

Susan has been successfully engaged in advanced educational, academic and business leadership, facilitation and research activities for over 30 years in New Zealand. She has experience in managerial and leadership roles in various context including schools, museums, polytechnics, wananga, businesses and universities. Areas of specialist expertise include institutional and staff capacity building, curriculum design and advanced transformational learning by individuals and organisations. Susan’s consultancy work focuses on organisational quality development, quality facilitation and learning, curriculum design, effective and continuously improving quality management systems and applied leadership. 

Recent publications/research in progress

1. Susan Stevenson. (2015). Work-integrated Learning (WIL) experience approach in New Zealand. In (Eds) Sally Brown Learning, Teaching and Assessment in Higher Education: Global Perspectives. London: Palgrave Teaching & Learning.

2. Susan Stevenson. (2015). ‘Professional educational facilitation – a brave new capacity building approach for higher education’. Conference paper presented at Higher Education Group Conference, September 2015

3. Susan Stevenson. (2014). ‘Pushing the refresh button on higher and tertiary education in New Zealand’, Conference paper presented at Tertiary Education Research in New Zealand Conference, November 2014

4. Susan Stevenson. (2012). The Organisation. In (Ed.) Mary Panko Developing A Research Culture, Auckland: Dunmore Press.

Susan is involved in numerous projects with FREEDOM faculty including:

S. Stevenson, Academic Leadership: Uncensored Wisdom(forthcoming)

S. Stevenson, A. Mukherjee and D. Pjongluck, Lifting Leadership Expectations: The Positive Business Model. (forthcoming)

S. Stevenson. A. Shukla, N. Going, E. Henderson, A. Singh.  Expectations, Realities and Challenges faced by learners in PTEs (forthcoming)

Susan F. Stevenson. Addressing Inequalities through Innovative Curricula and Professional Higher Education Learner Leadership Education in New Zealand In Intercultural Studies in Higher Education: Policy & Practice. (forthcoming), Palgrave MacMillan


Dr. Kay Fielden

BSc, MSc (ComSc), PhD (SocEc) University of Western Sydney

Facilitation Foci: Research Methods, Research Projects,

Business, Information Technology, Computing

About Dr. Kay

Kay Fielden has been an academic for 39 years across a number of discipline areas including Computing, Information Technology, Business, Social Ecology and Mathematics in both New Zealand and Australia. Her last full-time position was as Professor of Computing at Unitec. Since leaving Unitec in 2012, Kay has worked in a number of different tertiary institutions across the sector including Universities, Polytechnics and Private Training Establishments and she has taught more than 25 different papers in Business, Computing, Applied Research and Business Ethics. Kay was a member of the 2012 PBRF panel for Mathematics and Information Sciences. She has also served on NZQA accreditation panels for postgraduate qualifications and acted as a trained mediator in the tertiary sector in both Australia and New Zealand, and was part of the peer mentoring programme at Unitec. Kay has published many peer-reviewed papers both nationally and internationally, in both journals and conferences and also delivered keynote addresses and facilitated conference workshops.

Recent publications

Sontakke, S. Pawar, S. and Fielden, K. (2017) IT factors that impact on improving productivity in Rural India. Asia Pacific Journal of Business and Management. 8 1/ ISSN1179-626X.

Patel, R.  and Fielden, K. (2016). Postgraduate students’ perceptions of success in a warming world. AABSS conference, Auckland.

Xie, T., Chen, C., Lu, X. Q. and Fielden, K. (2015). Network company analysis in Auckland. Asia Pacific Journal of Business and Management. 6 1/2 ISSN1179-626X.

Research Interests/Expertise

Kay’s research and teaching has spanned a number of domains within both Computing, Information Technology and Business.  In these domains, she has a significant international reputation for her scholarship.  The ability to contribute at a high level across a number of domains is unusual, and accordingly, provides her with opportunities to contribute in unique and innovative ways to the disciplines of computing and business.  In the past five years she has supervised both masters and PhD level dissertations and theses.


Dr. Cecilia Zhang

BA, Master of Management and PhD of Education

Assistant Research Manager

Facilitation Foci: Higher Education Facilitator

About Cecilia Zhang

Cecilia Zhang has a Bachelor of Arts, Master of Management and PhD of Education. She has two years part-time working in the Wuhan Engineer University, China, 2010-2012. She was also an editor of the Higher Education Journal office in China. She came to New Zealand for her PhD study in 2013. Dr. Zhang currently leads higher education programmes and her special capabilities in the field of evaluation, her PhD supervisor was the eminent Professor Saville Kushner, a global expert in evaluation methods with an underpinning focus on developing democracy and equity in society. Cecilia continues this tradition and is currently completing a book about evaluation for Springer.

 Research interests/expertise

Education evaluation, Higher education, Educational theory, Case study and Citizenship education

Recent Journal publications/research in progress

1)     Zhang Cecilia, “Chinese international students’ citizenship attitudes in the New Zealand context”, Citizenship Teaching and learning, 13(2), 2018, in progressing.

2)     Zhang Cecilia, “Directors inside of Electronic Fences”, a book chapter of Evaluative Enquiry and Democracy: Theory and Method,2017.

3)     Zhang Cecilia, “Kites Flying: Chinese overseas students’ reflections on National Identity”: The Qualitative Report, 2017.

4)     Zhang Cecilia, “The Third Space: Impact of the Hidden Curriculum on the Understanding of Chinese International students in New Zealand”, book chapter of Educating Chinese-Heritage Students in the Global-local Nexus: Achievement, Challenges, and Opportunities, 2017.

5)     Zhang Cecilia, “As far as the government is a good government, it is democratic”: Citizenship education in China, Journal of Citizenship, Social and Economic Education, 2016.

6)    Zhang Cecilia, “Analysis on the Educational Quality-ensuring Measures of the State-owned University in JiangXi Province”,Journal of Gannan Normal University.2011 (in Chinese)

7)     Zhang Cecilia, “Compare Female Education between China and American”, In Business Culture.2010 (in Chinese)

 Conferences Presentations

1)     The 10th Conference for the International Association for Citizenship, Social and Economic Education (IACEE) in 2013.

2)     The Aotearoa New Zealand Evaluation Association (ANZEA) conference in 2015.

3)     Paper: All at Sea: the struggle of the case study worker with Professor SavilleKushner.

4)     Visiting Scholar at the Education Institution of Hong Kong in October 2015.

5)     Paper: Qualitative Research: How is it done?  Presented at Twelfth International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry in May18-21 2016, Champaign-Urbana, IL, USA.

Professional affiliations

Member of New Zealand Chinese Scientist association (NZCSA)

Recruitment Officer of the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry

Peer Reviewer of Journal Citizenship, Social and Economic Education