Senior lecturer - Sina Greenwood

Sina noticed that Pacific students were under-performing in Mathematics, so she decided to do something about it.

Key facts

Career: Senior lecturer
Programme: Master of Science specialising in Mathematics, PhD in Mathematics

“I taught secondary school maths for four years, before returning to the University to complete an MSc and then a PhD, which I received in 1999.

“Around that time, I became aware that Pacific students were under-represented and not passing at the same rate as other students in Mathematics, and so became determined to do something about it.

"I began by trying to bring students together over morning tea, and also became involved in a committee that set up the first room dedicated to Māori and Pacific Mathematics students.

“In 2000, I developed a mentoring programme that was launched in 2001 with SSG funding, and also set up the ALDIS scholarship programme which ran for the first time in the summer of 2001.

“I have continued to be involved in the development and trialling of many initiatives over this time, and have kept up with research and with other programmes as they were introduced.

“All the while, I (and others involved in the programme) have monitored student participation and feedback, and analysed results. In this way the programme has grown and evolved into the Maths Tuākana programme we see today.

"To be successful in maths, students should start work at the beginning of the semester and keep practicing examples and working on understanding - talking to others and taking advantage of any assistance available. If the understanding is developed over the semester then study for an exam can take less time that for other subjects.

“Mathematical understanding takes time to develop. It is almost impossible to acquire the mathematical understanding needed to pass an exam by leaving it to the last minute, no matter how many hours are spent cramming."