Teresa Heinz Housel – guest writer intro!

This week Little Hutt introduces Dr Teresa Heinz Housel as a guest writer, and of course, shares her story. Having lived all over the world studying and working, her experience and knowledge add a deep, rich layer of empathy and understanding to the stories she narrates for other people. Please welcome Teresa!


The Hutt has some of the most amazing people that I’ve ever met. That’s why I started this blog and regular e-newsletter, not to mention that our Little ‘Hutt’ often gets swallowed into the abyss that is Big Welly (I still love you Wellington).

Yes, we have people from all sorts of interesting backgrounds and cultures. Our residents make up this unique and rich tapestry, and every person’s story is a string that’s tightly woven into this tapestry, adding to its richness. Each story is unique, diverse and personal to the person who holds the memory of the story having lived out the experience.

And Little Hutt exists to help share these stories. 

Writing these stories is no easy feat, and since Little Hutt is about building a sense of community I am happy to share the privilege of writing, telling, narrating, putting words to paper, capturing Hutt peoples’ legacies. I’m am honoured to share this opportunity.

And I’ve found a volunteer guest writer who would like to help write for Little Hutt.

Before this person helps write for Little Hutt though, I’d like to introduce her to you as a Hutt resident, a person with a few giant chapter-books filled with a range of interesting stories. So, for this week’s post please welcome Dr Teresa Heinz Housel as a Little Hutt guest writer.

She has an incredible background. Having lived all over the world studying and working, her experience and knowledge add a deep, rich layer of empathy and understanding to the stories she narrates for other people. An expat who has fallen head-over-heels for our beautiful New Zealand, which she and her hubby both now call ‘home’. And a resident of our very own Hutt City. Please welcome Teresa! (Stay tuned for her website – live soon).

Meet: Dr Teresa Heinz Housel


Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I migrated to New Zealand with my husband, Timothy, a little more than four years from the US. In the US, I was a professor of communication studies at an undergraduate university in Michigan. I had long hoped to live overseas; even as a small child in rural Ohio, I would look at maps and dream of the places that I one day wanted to see. Before moving to Wellington, I had lived in Fremantle, Western Australia for a few years in the late 1990s. I also did an OE in London in 1996, and earlier studied there as an international student in 1993.

In the ensuing years, life took over and I found myself in a very demanding job. While preparing for my research sabbatical in 2011, I decided to spend part of the coming year in Wellington, where a former professor friend had taught (at Victoria University) many years before. We decided to migrate in early 2012 and arrived with our two cats in late 2013. After a few years working for the NZ government and a Plain English consultancy, I joined the department where I did my sabbatical in 2012 as a lecturer.

I am fascinated by local history. If I did not enter the field of communication and media studies/journalism, I would have been a historian. I have loved learning about the Hutt Valley’s history. I have a keen interest in housing issues and history, and I love talking with local older residents about Lower Hutt’s market gardens along the river, the old Food Town store, and many other topics.

I’m especially interested in the government’s role in building the garden suburbs with State housing after World War II. I’m really hopeful that the new government will again assist with building affordable and social housing, which is badly needed in the Hutt Valley and elsewhere in the country.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a rural town very similar to Fielding in northeastern Ohio. My older sister and I were raised by a single father, which was very unusual in the US in the 1970s.

What’s your background?

I initially began my career as a journalist, working for newspapers and magazines in the US and London. After a brief stint as a researcher for a media activist organisation in Washington, D.C., I realised that I really liked analysing the media. This conclusion led to my post-graduate studies and later academic career. I still try to do freelance writing and design work. I am fascinated by people, places, and I am always looking for a good story!

What do you do now?

I am a lecturer in the School of Communication, Marketing, and Journalism at Massey University in Wellington. I teach and tutor a wide range of courses, but my specialty includes journalism studies, media theory, international communication, and writing skills.

What inspires you?

I am passionate about helping other people. I also find great joy in connecting people across the world. I believe that international relations start at the person-to-person level, as we make friendships and get to know others from other cultures. I love asking people from completely different backgrounds from my own about their beliefs, where they grew up, about their views of the world.

As I look back on my life so far, I’ve observed how lack of exposure can lead people to be fearful of what or who they don’t understand. I believe that education and exposure, especially when carried out through kindness and relationships, can help bridge those fears.

Contact Teresa

www.teresaheinzhousel.com (Website live soon!)

Editorials she’s written (2005-Present)

Editorials for The Holland Sentinel (Holland, Michigan, USA)

She was a Community Advisory Board member while living in Holland, Michigan. Part of her position involved writing regular editorials for the local city newspaper. She’s also continued writing editorials for this newspaper after moving to New Zealand.

Invited Editorials for Magazines and Blogs

Books she’s written

Book #1: Health Care Disparities and the LGBT Population

Lexington Books, 2014

Vickie L. Harvey (Editor) – Teresa Heinz Housel

This co-edited volume addresses a population of people whose lack of health care access, mistreatment in healthcare settings, and the refusal of health care services are often omitted from discussions about health care disparities and insurance reform. The perspectives and needs of LGBT people should be routinely considered in public health efforts to improve the overall health of every person and eliminate health disparities.

Previous research suggests that LGBT people experience worse health outcomes than their heterosexual counterparts. Differences in sexual behavior account for some of these disparities, but others are associated with social and structural inequities. Low rates of health insurance coverage, high rates of stress due to systematic harassment, stigma, and discrimination, and a lack of cultural competency in the health care system frequently manifest in negative health-related behaviors.

The lack of data collection on sexual orientation and identity in state and federal health care surveys leads to inadequate information about LGBT populations and impedes the establishment of health programs and public policies that benefit them. This volume’s research will increase people’s understanding of the social and structural inequalities that LGBT populations experience. With its diverse perspectives, this book will not only benefit LGBT people, but will also more broadly improve the lives of entire communities, medical care, and prevention programs and services. Improvements to our country’s health care system should go beyond providing universal insurance and should ensure equitable health care for all.

Book #2: The Invisibility Factor: Administrators and Faculty Reach Out to First-Generation College Students

Brown Walker Press, 2010

Teresa Heinz Housel (Editor) – Vickie L. Harvey (Editor)

This collective volume fills an important gap in first-generation college student research by simultaneously achieving several important goals. Collectively, the essays represent a balance of personal narrative, qualitative, and quantitative approaches that extend our understanding of the first-generation college student (FGS) experience.

The essays review the existing literature on FGS; outline the barriers to college success faced by FGS; update the existing literature by introducing new and cutting-edge first-generation research; and recommend solutions to those in the trenches, who include support staff who design programs to support FGS.

The book’s contributing authors bring important personal and scholarly expertise to the project. The authors include faculty, administrators, support services personnel, and former students at private liberal arts colleges, major research universities, community colleges, and comprehensive universities in urban and rural settings. The diverse perspectives represented in the essays will benefit administrators and staff working at diverse types of institutions with FGS. In addition, many of the authors were first-generation college students. Socio-economic background profoundly shapes a person’s cultural transition into college and heavily determines what barriers to academic success he or she will face. This collection’s authors have a keen understanding of the FGS experience having made the transition into a foreign academic culture themselves.

The book’s essays address the following topics of concern of staff who interact with FGS:

  • Understanding classism in the academy and class segregation on campus
  • Race, ethnicity, class, and immigration as they impact FGS’ campus experiences
  • Insight for developing successful first-generation support service programs
  • FGS’ emotional, academic, and cultural adjustment to campus life
  • The role of support groups in shaping the first-semester FGS college experience
  • The importance of mentoring in aiding FGS’ cultural transition to college
  • The impact of a FGS’ living situation (such as in a campus living-learning center) on academic and cultural transition

Book #3: Faculty and First-Generation College Students: Bridging the Classroom Gap Together: New Directions for Teaching and Learning, Number 127 1st Edition

Jossey-Bass, 2011

Vickie L. Harvey (Editor) Teresa Heinz Housel (Editor)

Gain a greater understanding of the academic, cultural, and social experiences of first-generation college students (FGS). Fascinating, heart-touching, and important, the research and the stories presented here enlighten what FGS often have to overcome to successfully complete their degrees.

With an emphasis on improving FGS’ college success, retention, and graduation rates, this volume first covers common obstacles and the trend of FGS continuing on for graduate degrees. Section Two discusses the complex interplay of social, academic, emotional, and financial influences on academic performance. The chapters collectively affirm that the commitment of university resources is critical to college success.

This is the 127th volume of the Jossey-Bass higher education quarterly report New Directions for Teaching and Learning, which offers a comprehensive range of ideas and techniques for improving college teaching based on the experience of seasoned instructors and the latest findings of educational and psychological researchers.