Women are dominating research and educational roles within the National University of Samoa (NUS) with the announcement of a new Professor and three Associate Professors recently. The appointments included a new Professor of Computing and Computing Education, Professor Muagututi’a Ioana Tu’ugalei Vaai-Chan Mow.

Professor Muagututi’a was an Associate Professor at NUS for five years prior to her new professorial appointment at the Faculty of Science (FOS). She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Otago and a Masters of Education and PhD from South Australia University.

In addition to Prof. Muagutut’ia, three more women were appointed as Associate Professors by the University. Dr Taema Imo-Seuoti has been re-appointed for another 5 years as an Associate Professor for Environmental Science. She holds a Bachelor of Science from NUS and a Master of Science and PhD from Ryukyus University in Japan.

Tuiloma Dr Susana Taua’a is the second Associate Professor appointee. She holds a Bachelors and Masters degree from Flinders University in Australia, and is one of the first locally graduated PhD holders from NUS. She has been appointed as Associate Professor of Geography.

The third Associate Professor is Dr Safua Akeli Amaama of the Centre for Samoan Studies, who is now appointed as Associate Professor in History. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Otago University, and Honours in History from Victoria University of Wellington, with a Masters in History from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

The Vice Chancellor and President, Prof. Fui Asofou So’o said “the appointment of new professors speaks volumes to the development of NUS”.
“When we first started, we weren’t able to appoint any professors because we did not have any  PhD holders and so we lacked the level of wisdom and qualifications to have any professorial posts,” he said. “Today, reminds us of how far NUS has come. We are now able to appoint people to become professors locally and it’s something I am very proud of,” he said.

Caption: NUS Vice-Chancellor with the newly appointed professor and associate professors

At the moment, NUS has a total of 23 PhD holders currently employed by the university. “The level of researchers we have now is a sign that we are growing as a university. Globally, NUS gets to sit at the round table of universities known in the world because we are able to provide the qualified people to sit in there,” he said.

The selection of professorial appointments is based on three categories;
1. Their ability to teach.
2. Their community engagement.
3. Their research and publications.

Despite the big steps NUS is taking, Professor So’o says the university still has a long way to go. He says the goal is to have a professor for each faculty. “For Professors are particular for their own discipline. However this is the start and a small step to have a professor per faculty,” he said. “However, we can’t have a professor if they haven’t finished their PhD and needed qualifications,” he added.

The VC also applauded the rising success of women at NUS. “The women are leading the research work in the university. If they have done the publication and the research, they are more than capable of being professors,” he said


*Joshua Lafoai is a Multimedia Lecturer at NUS.



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