Academic Team

Professor Michael Albert

Shift, Programme Director (Dunedin)

Prof Michael Albert heads up the Department of Computer Science at the University of Otago. He’s part of the SIGNAL eco system too, having been involved from the get go and is excited to have the first cohort of Shift underway. He graduated from the University of Waterloo in 1981 with a double degree in Pure and Applied Mathematics, and from Oxford in 1984 with a D.Phil, as a Rhodes Scholar from Ontario. His research is largely in the area of discrete mathematics, with a particular emphasis on computer-assisted projects (sometimes called "experimental mathematics").

Dr Claudia Ott

Shift Coordinator (Dunedin)

Claudia has driven the academic direction and quality of the first two Dunedin SHIFT cohorts, allowing talented groups of post-grad students to make the transition to a tech career. Claudia worked as a freelance software developer for a range of companies in Germany before she doing a PhD on Computer Science Education in 2011.  Claudia comes to Signal  after two years working as a vision systems engineer for Scott Technology Ltd. in Dunedin. She also lectures at the University of Otago Computer Science department.

Dr Patricia Anthony

Shift Coordinator (Christchurch)

Patricia is part of the Christchurch SHIFT team, and has worked closely with the three cohorts to design, coordinate and deliver relevant content during the programme. Knowing just how hard tech companies find it to find and onboard talented people into the tech sector, she is looking forward being part of the solution, assisting capable people to SHIFT to tech, and quickly. Patricia is a senior lecturer in Software and Information Technology at Lincoln University. Prior to that, she was attached to University Malaysia Sabah. Patricia teaches subjects related to software development and she particularly enjoys coding in C# and Java.

Professor Sam Mann

Xtend/Accelerate Programme Director

Sam is a man with a mission, as the leading force behind Otago Polytechnic’s Capable NZ – a school specialising in professional practice and work-based learning. So Sam is ideally placed to lead SIGNAL’s in-work, at-work, for-work offerings – Accelerate and Xtend. Sam has a background in both IT and Land Management. He has taught computing since 1994 and began at Otago Polytechnic in 1997. Sam was Head of Department for five years and has published over 150 conference and journal papers in the fields of augmented experiences, sustainability and computer education.

Professor Tim Bell

Educate Programme Director

Tim is the man behind SIGNAL’s super popular Educate offering. Our first Educate cohort kicks off with a workshop in Christchurch in April, with 25 teachers signed up already. Tim is a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Canterbury. His main research interest is computer science education, and he has been actively involved in curriculum design. His "Computer Science Unplugged'' project for students of all ages is widely used internationally, and its books and videos have been translated into about 20 languages. Legendary!

Distinguished Professor Niki Davis

Educate Programme Director

SIGNAL is extremely fortunate to have Niki on our Educate team. Niki is the University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor of e-Learning and Director of the College of Education, Health and Human Development e-Learning Lab. She is recognised internationally as a leading expert in information and communication technologies in teacher education. Sought by UNESCO, national agencies, companies, scholarly societies and institutions for her expertise; she has over 200 publications including books and scholarly papers. Niki’s area of research includes e-Learning, Innovation and change with digital technologies, Initial Teacher Education and Computer Science Education.

Dr Steven Mills

Shift (Dunedin)

Steven is part of SIGNAL’s core team in Dunedin. As a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Otago, and with previous experience working in commercial research and development roles at the Geospatial Research Centre in Christchurch and Dunedin-based software company Areograph Ltd, Steven is well placed to help ease our Shift Students into the IT world. Dr Mills' research interests are in image processing and computer vision, and in particular making 3D models of the world from images. Steven is currently exploring applications such as the survey of pā sites with archaeologists and modeling power lines with Line Smarts, a Dunedin-based start-up.

Dr Stefanie Zollman

Shift (Dunedin)

Stefanie has plenty of real world experience under her belt after two and a half years as senior developer at Animation Research Limited and postdoctoral research roles in the emerging field of Augmented Reality at Graz University of Technology in Austria, collaborating with various industrial partners such as Siemens, Qualcomm, and Hilti. And before this she worked as a researcher at Daimler AG! All of which has contributed to her interest in the potential of introducing emerging technologies to professional end-users. She contributed to the development of Augmented Reality, Mobile Interface and Projector-based Interfaces and is an active member of the research community in these fields.

Amitrajit Sarkar

Shift (Christchurch)

Amitrajit Sarkar is a faculty member of Department of Computing at Ara Institute of Canterbury and an affiliated research associate at University of Canterbury. Amitrajit is a full member (MIITP) and Certified Technologist (CTech) of Institute of Information Technology Professionals New Zealand. He has published widely in Software engineering and Management Information Systems. 
When not at work, Amitrajit enjoy reading, watching sports, travelling and being a dad. 

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