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Source: University of Waikato

It is with sadness the University announced the passing of Dr Sue Dymock last week a Senior Lecturer in Te Kura Toi Tangata School of Education.

Sue’s colleagues describe her as a principled and focused scholar, serving the community with integrity and say she will be remembered most for her generosity and knowledge.

Sue was farewelled at a service at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Hamilton today, 9 November.

A passionate teacher and educator until the end, donations of children’s books, brought to her service, will be distributed to schools within the Waikato to honour Sue’s Hamilton Children’s Reading Centre for children who can’t read good.

Givealittle has also been set up to honour Sue and continue to support financially disadvantaged children with reading difficulties.

“Sue will be greatly missed by her colleagues and the students for whom her work and research had such an impact,” says Dr Cheng.

Sue joined the University in February 1999 as a Lecturer in the then Department of Arts and Language Education, becoming a Senior Lecturer in 2003.

Her research and practice focused on understanding and supporting students with literacy difficulties, in particular, dyslexia. She had published ten books on supporting teachers to teach reading and to work with dyslexic students, with most of these books published by the New Zealand Council for Educational Research.

Sue saw that her strengths included being able to translate research to practice and making research accessible for students and educators, says colleague, Deputy Head of Education in Te Kura Toi Tangata, Dr Maurice Cheng.

Sue’s latest book, The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook (2nd edition) is due to be published soon. She also produced a set of 24 video clips to accompany this publication, which she hoped would make the latest knowledge more accessible to researchers, teachers, literacy education practitioners and students.

Many of her research publications were with collaborator Emeritus Professor of Massey University, Tom Nicholson, who she saw as both a great mentor and a great friend, says Dr Cheng.

In the past 12 months Sue’s work included publication in the top peer-reviewed journal Reading Research Quarterly (USA).  Dyslexia Seen Through the Eyes of Teachers: An Exploratory Survey. Susan Dymock, Tom Nicholson. Sue was also invited to contribute a column in the International Literacy Association (USA) publication on dyslexia.

Sue was also the Director of the Hamilton Reading Centre (formerly Hamilton Children’s Reading Centre), established in 2003 and was behind raising more than $750,000 for the centre from a series of generous funders. The Centre offers specialist diagnosis and tuition for primary and secondary students with literacy difficulties, including dyslexia, at no cost. Over the years, the Centre has served several hundred children in Hamilton and the surrounding area.

In 2016, Sue was selected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Research in Learning Disabilities. Her book The New Zealand Dyslexia Handbook (1st edition) was the runner-up for Best Resource in Higher Education in the 2015 Copyright Licencing New Zealand Education Awards. Within the University, she received the Community Impact Research Excellence Award for her leadership and service associated with the Reading Centre.

Besides her teaching and research, Sue took great joy and satisfaction in serving as the Academic Co-ordinator for International Students. Many international students will remember Sue, who offered not only academic induction and guidance, but also pastoral care.

Coming from Portland, Oregon USA, Sue was very empathetic to the hurdles international students had to pass through and was very proud to have the plate – Academic Co-ordinator – International, on her door, says Dr Cheng.