Rachel Spronken-Smith is a Professor in Higher Education and Geography and Dean of the Graduate Research School at the University of Otago, New Zealand. She is a past Head of the Higher Education Development Centre (HEDC), where she worked as an academic staff developer. She initially trained as a geographer and first worked as a research meteorologist with the NZ Meteorological Service. She did her PhD in Geography at the University of British Columbia, specialising in urban climatology, and then lectured in Geography at the University of Canterbury for nine years. In 2002 Rachel completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Tertiary Teaching through HEDC at Otago and consequently moved to a position there in 2004. Her research interests in higher education include inquiry-based learning and undergraduate research, the teaching-research nexus, graduate attributes, curriculum change and doctoral education. Her research interests in Geography include micro-meteorology and air quality. In her current position she provides leadership for graduate research education, is continuing her research, and teaching in higher education, with occasional teaching in geography. She runs professional development sessions for both supervisors and postgraduate students, as well as supervising several PhD candidates.
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