Issue 13: 18 July 2008

The University’s first woman professor, Marie Clay, University of Auckland News, 4, 9, 1974

Retrospective 1883-2008

This column is a reproduction of an article published in The University of Auckland News in October 1974 announcing the appointment of the University’s first woman Professor.

Associate-Professor Marie M. Clay has been appointed a Professor and Head of the Department of Education at Auckland University to succeed Professor Ralph Winterbourn, who retires at the end of the year. Professor Clay will become the first woman to hold a full professorship at the University, although there are several women Associate-Professors.

Born in Wellington, she gained both an MA with Honours and a Diploma in Education of the University of New Zealand in 1949, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, and spent two years studying child psychology at the University of Minnesota in the United States.

She taught special and remedial classes in primary schools for eight years, and was on the staff of the Psychological Service of the Department of Education for three years. She began lecturing at the University in 1962, and completed a PhD on emergent reading behaviour four years later.

Professor Clay’s research and teaching interests have centred on the prevention of mental and learning disorders in children and adolescents, and the acquisition of reading and writing skills, and of language generally. She has written many articles and has lectured widely in these fields.