Alliance provides research and teaching opportunities

An expanded academic partnership between Auckland University of Technology (AUT) in New Zealand and UVM faculty in physical therapy, exercise science and athletic training will provide opportunities for joint research and publications, information sharing and visits by faculty, students and staff at each other’s institution.

The agreement builds upon and fosters an ongoing relationship between the two institutions. For more than 20 years, UVM physical therapy and AUT have participated in collaborative research projects, faculty exchanges and student exchanges.

UVM Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences clinical assistant professor Karen Westervelt and associate faculty member, Sonya Worth, both graduates of AUT, collaborate with AUT faculty on a program for final year doctor of physical therapy students to visit New Zealand and practice advanced manual therapy skills with post-graduate students at AUT.

In addition, College of Nursing and Health Sciences Associate Dean Jeremy Sibold and Westervelt partner with AUT physiotherapy professors Nigel Harris and Duncan Reid on a collaborative research project. Last month the research team received a seed grant from the New Zealand National Sport Federation to begin work in New Zealand that mirrors and advances previous research by Dr. Sibold exploring the relationship between exercise and mental health in children and adolescents.

Scott Thomas, Interim Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Interim Dean and Dean of CESS, was instrumental in blending the partnerships of both colleges with AUT. Thomas met with professor Reid at UVM on June 28 to promote relations between the Universities and formalize the agreement.

During the June visit, Reid dedicated several days to teaching master classes to Doctor of Physical Therapy students and area clinicians and meeting with program faculty to explore ideas for collaboration. He also traveled with Westervelt and Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences Chair Ted Angelopous to Lake Placid, New York, to tour the Olympic Training Center and explore possibilities for research collaborations between AUT, UVM and high-performance athletes.

“We made use of every minute of his time while he was in Vermont to further partnerships in teaching, research, and high performance sport,” said Westervelt. “This international collaboration between UVM and AUT provides for amazing opportunities for our students, faculty and even our area clinicians. We are very grateful for Professor Reid’s visit to UVM and Dean Thomas for helping expand the collaboration.” 


Janet Lynn Essman Franz
CNHS Interim Dean Scott Thomas (left) and Dr. Duncan Reid formalized an academic partnership between UVM and AUT in June.