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Dr. Hayley Sparks

Dr. Hayley is a brilliant, driven member at the very heart of The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab.

She originally had visions of following a traditional academic career, but disrupted that by joining us to fulfill her passion for teaching, learning and research in our future-focused learning environment. Hayley was previously our National Academic Manager, but in her new role as Academic Director, she is accountable for academic leadership, relationship management, delivery of new programme development, auditing and reporting, and contributes to teaching and facilitation, research, and recruitment and team management at The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab. 

Graduating from the University of Auckland with a doctorate in geography meant a honing of Hayley’s skills in critical thinking, qualitative and quantitative research analysis and writing – all of which can be applied in a broad range of contexts. She is also well-versed in the art of teaching large and small groups, facilitating workshops, developing course content and creating e-learning projects – perfect for all that we do here at The Mind Lab and Tech Futures Lab.

Hayley’s extensive research projects primarily sit at the intersection of geography and education and understanding relationships between people and place; the role of digital technology in education, and the value of practice based research.

While studying, Hayley gained experience working in tertiary learning institutes through her role as a Tutor at the University of Auckland. The combination of her passion, her experience and her research positions her as the perfect person for The Mind Lab & Tech Futures Lab. Her thoughtfulness and deep thinking can be reflected in the historic figures she’d love to meet; Nelson Mandela or William Shakespeare, both of whom would no doubt enjoy a long, in depth conversation with Hayley.

Although her superpowers are countless, including an excellent baking ability which we all get to sample frequently, Hayley is incredible at turning crazy ideas into reality in a very short amount of time. This skill is highly useful at a face-paced organisation like ours, and Hayley is often at the helm of new ideas, new programmes, and new initiatives that all aim to make education in Aotearoa more leading edge, more powerful, and more focused on our learners.

Academic achievements
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Geography), The University of Auckland, 2018.

  • Master of Science (Geography, First Class Honours), The University of Auckland, 2012.

  • Bachelor of Science (Major in Geography, First Class Honours), The University of Auckland, 2011.


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