NUS announces Professorial Appointments.

Apia, Samoa – 10th August, 2023.

The National University of Samoa (NUS) Pro-Chancellor – Professor Letuimanu’asina Emma Kruse Va’ai is pleased to announce the appointment through academic merit of four of its senior staff. These promotions highlight their exceptional academic achievements and dedication towards the development of the National University of Samoa.

The newly appointed NUS professors are:

1.Tuifuisa’a Patila Amosa NUS Vice-Chancellor & President – Professor of Environmental Science

2.Funemalafai Taema Imo-Seuoti, Dean Faculty of Science – Professor of Environmental Science

3.Tuiloma Susana Tauaa – Professor of Geography

4.Dr Anita Latai-Niusulu Associate Professor of Geography

The appointment of professors is the norm for the development of academic leadership in any respectable university and NUS is no different as it draws near to its fortieth (40th) year since establishment. Eligibility for professorial roles require academic staff to demonstrate excellence in research scholarship, in teaching and education and in leadership and service to the community. Evidence in these areas is compiled by the applicants and assessed by a panel comprised of local academics and representatives of the community as well as overseas professors from reputable universities.

Including the new appointees, there are now three (3) Associate Professors and eight (8) Professors at NUS. The appointment of Tuifuisa’a Dr Patila Amosa, Tuiloma Dr Susana Tauaa, Funemalafai Dr Taema Imo-Seuoti, Dr. Anita Latai-Niusulu not only recognizes their professional and academic achievements but also verifies the continuing development of the NUS in its service to Samoa through providing an educated and qualified workforce. Their continued research also highlights current situations and problems whether they be local, regional or global as they collaborate with other academics and universities worldwide. Such combine efforts in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding to provide solutions to challenges and problems shared on a global scale is very much part of the professorial role and responsibility. Climate change for example features as a shared regional and global concern not only in the field of environmental science but also in the Arts and other disciplines. The serious social impacts are acknowledged and studied in search of solutions which are relevant, safe and sustainable in the context of different societies, especially our own here in the Pacific Region.

-Kindly refer to the details below for further information on the merits of the selected applicants

Professor Tuifuisa’a Patila Malua Amosa

Professor Tuifuisa’a is the current Vice-Chancellor and President of the National University of Samoa (NUS). She is a trailblazer, being the first female Vice-Chancellor at NUS and previously the first to hold both Associate Professor and Deanship positions. Professor Patila holds a BSc from Flinders University and a Master’s and Ph.D. from the University of Otago. She is a respected administrator at NUS, having served as Head of Department, Dean, and Senate representative to the NUS Council.

Professor Patila is an internationally recognized expert in ocean acidification, with expertise in Environmental Science, Climate Change, and Chemistry. She has played a key role in developing national plans and strategies, including monitoring in these areas. As an academic of international standing, she has taught, supervised, examined, and developed programs across the NUS curriculum from Foundation to Masters level in the Sciences, as well as TVET. She has also served as a curriculum developer and examiner for National secondary school Sciences and Biology.

Under Professor Patila’s leadership as Dean from 2016 to 2023, the Faculty of Science successfully developed in key areas such as research, teaching programs, climate change, the environment, and ICT – all priority areas in the NUS strategic and corporate plans. Professor

Patila has built a strong network of partners across the Pacific region and internationally through collaborative projects with organizations such as MNRE, SPREP, USP, The Ocean Foundation, Massey University, the Australian National University, and New York University. She is also a member of various international bodies such as the International Science Council and the Commonwealth of Learning.

With extensive publications in international journals and presentations at major international conferences, Professor Patila has played a pivotal role in scientific studies of national and international significance at NUS. These include national microbiological and chemical assessments of water quality across all water sources (ridge to reef), analyses of chemical properties of soil in Samoa, evaluation of the phytochemical composition of ethanolic extracts from Samoan medicinal plants, distribution of heavy metals in sediments at commercial and fishing ports in Samoa, water quality assessments using various methods, with a particular focus on exploring the impacts of ocean acidification on the dissolution of biogenic skeletons.

Professor Funemalafai Taema Imo Seuoti.

Professor Funemalafai Taema Imo Seuoti is an accomplished academic with many milestones and years of experience as an educator. She was the first NUS graduate in the Bachelor of Science program and then progressed to earn a Master’s and Ph.D. in Marine and Environmental Science from the University of Ryukyus Japan. Professor Taema is also the first academic to currently hold both full professorship and deanship under the revised NUS regulations.

As a seasoned academic, Professor Taema has taught, supervised, examined, and developed programs across the NUS curriculum from Foundation to Masters level in the Sciences, as well as TVET. She has also served as a curriculum developer, advisor, and examiner for National secondary school Sciences and Chemistry. In the area of research, Professor Taema serves as Chair of the Faculty of Science Research Committee, providing mentoring to faculty staff and students in research methods. She has presented at national and international conferences and has extensive publications in international journals.

Professor Taema has played a pivotal role in scientific studies of national and international significance at NUS. These include national microbiological and chemical assessments of water quality across all water sources (ridge to reef), analyses of chemical properties of soil in Samoa, evaluation of the phytochemical composition of ethanolic extracts from Samoan medicinal plants, study on the distribution of heavy metals in sediments at commercial and fishing ports in Samoa, assessment of the impact of sand dredging along the coastal waters of Fuailolo’o village.

She has also been involved in collaborative research projects with local government ministries such as MNRE and MOH, as well as regional partners such as the University of Papua New Guinea, SPREP, and USP, and international institutions including the Australian National University, Swinburne University, the University of Ryukyus, and the University of Zanzibar in Tanzania. Regional collaborations include projects such as Edulink, PACENet, Pacific Attitudes survey, the Ubersee Museum digitization project, and the Regional STEM academy project.

Professor Taema is also an expert in Marine and Environmental Chemistry and has played a key role in developing national plans and strategies, including monitoring in areas such as Marine and Environmental Science and Climate Change. The joint establishment of the School of Maritime Training for seafarers together with the Faculty of Science Marine and Environmental Research Laboratory at Mulinuu has been a key development for NUS inter-disciplinary collaborations.

Professor Tuiloma Susana Tauaa

Professor Tuiloma Dr. Susana Tauaa is a respected academic in her field. She holds a Masters of Arts in Geography from Flinders University, and a PhD in Development studies from the Centre of Samoan Studies at NUS, being one of the first to attain a doctorate from the university. A senior academic and a former Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Professor

Susana commenced teaching at NUS in 1995, serving the university in her various roles as administrator, teacher-educator, researcher, and mentor. Her teaching and curriculum development spans from Foundation to postgraduate and Masters and has also been instrumental in developing the humanities at NUS, to what it is today.

Professor Susana’s research has focused on the social and economic well-being of Pacific people, particularly the gendered aspects of labor markets, transport, natural catastrophes and disasters, land tenure practices, and resource management issues in Samoa. Her other research areas include i) Spatial Extent and Intensity of Socio-Economic Change in Samoa, ii) Gender Stereotypes, Gender Issues in Samoan Culture, iii) Rural Development and Land Use Planning in Samoa, iv) Trade, Tourism, and the Informal Economy, v) Soil and Land Erosion, vi) Climate Change and Health issues, and vii) Water Resources Management. Professor Susana has published and presented extensively in regional and international forums and journals in her many areas of research.

Other highlights of her distinguished career include leading the Social Sciences Department Team research on child Vendors in Samoa. This study was conducted on behalf of MCIL and funded by ILO and UNICEF. In collaboration with academics from the universities of Victoria University of Wellington, Otago University, she conducted impact studies related to wellbeing in parenting and child development. Professor Susana has also implemented and published studies on the impact of Technical and Vocational Education & Training (TVET) on household wellbeing (2020). This was considered a flagship study because it recognizes the important role of parents and family support and commitment to higher education for their children in the trades.

Associate Professor Anita Latai-Niusulu

Dr. Anita is a human geographer and the Head of the Department of Social Sciences at the National University of Samoa. She holds two (2) undergraduate degrees of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education (Secondary) from Central Queensland University. Additionally, she holds a Post- graduate Diploma in Arts Subjects, a Master of Arts in Geography with Distinction, and a Doctor of Philosophy, all from Otago University in New Zealand.

A senior and respected academic, she has served at the National University of Samoa for over 20 years. A leading academic in her field, Anita’s research interests and expertise include geographic-based issues such as perceptions and experiences of environmental changes and human resilience to climate change and other environmental challenges. Anita’s research on climate change and community resilience in

Samoa challenges the use of indicators and methods for resilience that are rooted in Western science and neo-classical economics by presenting a more appropriate paradigm of resilience (i.e., the non-equilibrium cultural ecological lens) for the Samoan context. Anita’s research experience and knowledge related to working with local Samoan communities has enabled her to provide critical insight into ethical and culturally sensitive behaviour and methodologies when working with communities in the Pacific.

She has published her experiences as a Samoan female geographer conducting research with communities in her own country, and she was able to identify some key lessons for other researchers working in Samoa. Her research into how 2 coastal villages affected by the 2009 Tsunami in Samoa responded by making conscious shifts inland was also a reflection of adaptation and resilience towards climate change and its social impacts.

Recently, Anita has been involved in several research projects including one, with colleagues from within the National University of Samoa, Auckland University of Technology and the Victoria University of Wellington, which explores nature-based solution approaches to adapt and mitigate the converging resilience challenges of climate change and urbanisation. Other ongoing research projects include one with colleagues from the University of Otago, which explores the experiences of children living in Pacific urban areas. With colleagues from the University of Auckland she is also researching short-distance, circular migration or micro- mobilities in Samoa and the Pacific. The research looks to finding a local adaptive strategy to avoid and reduce risks posed by environmental challenges such as Climate Change.

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“The National University of Samoa is the main university in Samoa, with a mission to provide high- quality education and research opportunities to its students to support the development of Samoa and the Pacific region. With a focus on excellence in teaching, research and service, the university offers a range of degree programs in various fields, including health sciences, Samoan culture, development studies, arts, maritime, TVET, business, and education.”

For more information please contact:

Leilani Smith, NUS Marketing & Communications Officer on Email: l.smith@nus.edu.ws