The Academic Skills Centre is here to help

The Academic Skills Centre has gone online! If you need help with an assignment or your thesis, managing your schedule, or improving your English, we’re still here for you — just in that “virtual” way we’re all getting used to.

By emailing, both undergrads and postgrads can book a distance appointment with one of our Learning Advisors and get the same kind of advice as always, either by Zoom or a phone call. And if you’re not familiar with our services, check out our website at to find out more about what’s on offer.

Kia kaha everyone! Stay strong — but be sure to reach out for help when you need it, too. We look forward to hearing from you.

UC contributes to fight against COVID-19

From the maths behind the lockdown, to a prototype face shield for health workers – UC staff and students are providing a range of important contributions in the fight against COVID-19.  

Below is a snapshot of just some of the incredible research and work our community is currently involved in. Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora – Engaged, Empowered, Making a Difference.


  • UC Law Professor John Hopkins is an expert in Disaster Law and advised the Select Committee, chaired by Simon Bridges on 2 April on the unique situation the level 4 lockdown in New Zealand has brought about. Read more here


  • Mathematicians Associate Professor Alex James and Professor Michael Plank from the College of Engineering, and UC BSc Hons graduate Nic Steyn are part of a research team that has been working on building SEIR-type models for COVID-19 for several weeks; one of several groups providing statistical modelling of the spread of COVID-19 for the government. Read the Spinoff article here, the Otago Daily Times interview with Professor Plank here, and a detailed summary of the team’s work here




  • College of Science psychology lecturers Associate Professor Gini McIntosh and Professor Julia Rucklidge who specialises in mental health and nutrition, gave a livestreamed talk as part of the Te Hāpai Ō | UC Live Speaker Series 2020, providing advice on how to staying on track during a time of uncertainty and stress. Find out more here


  • In a new article published on The Conversation, College of Business and Law academics Associate Professor Bernard Walker and Adjunct Fellow Tracy Hatton explore five principles leaders should follow if their role is to lead staff through the coronavirus crisis. The principles are based on research into previous disasters and offer guidance to leaders for the weeks ahead. Read the full article here


  • There are two projects relating to ventilators on the go in the College of Engineering:
  1. Shayne Gooch and other staff are collaborating with Professor Alexander Slocum from MIT to evolve a new design for a low-cost ventilator based on a Bag Valve Mask (BVM) type, which is commonly used to provide positive pressure ventilation in emergency care situations.
  2. Distinguished Professor Geoff Chase is working with his          former PhD student Dr Yeong Shiong Chiew (now based at Monash University, Malaysia) and his EU H2020 research consortia partner Dr Thomas Desaive (University of Liege, Belgium) along with their ICU partners at CHU de Liege, to develop a way to safely ventilate two patients on one ventilator. There is strong interest in ventilating multiple patients on a single ventilator due to the overwhelming number of COVID-19 patients – especially in areas like Italy and New York City. They have developed a low-cost, simple design that removes the risks associated with current proposals for ventilating multiple patients, and creates a safe, effective way to put two patients on a single ventilator. Professor Merryn Tawhai (University of Auckland and Director of the MedTech CoRE) has joined the team, which brings together world leaders in lung modelling and intensive care research, and has strong clinical links in Europe and locally with Christchurch Hospital Senior ICU Specialist and University of Otago School of Medicine Professor Geoff Shaw. They are now applying for funding to prototype and prove their ideas, translating them to low-cost, easily used hardware, and intend to share their design worldwide for everyone’s benefit.

We know there is a lot more great work like this happening at UC. If you’d like to share your work, email

Te Hāpai Ō | UC Live Speaker Series

UC aims to support your wellbeing during the COVID-19 lockdown – join the weekly speaker series via Facebook livestream, focusing on a different topic each Friday. The next one starts today at 11am on UC Facebook> 

Te Hāpai Ō | UC Live Speaker Series 2020 – Livestreaming on UC’s Facebook page

  • Prof Julia Rucklidge on Te Taha Hinengaro | Mental Wellbeing, 11am-12pm Friday 3 April
  • Rev Spanky Moore on Te Taha Wairua | Spiritual Wellbeing, 11am-12pm Friday 10 April
  • Tracy Clelland on Te Taha Whānau | Whānau Wellbeing, 11am-12pm Friday 17 April

Over the next few Fridays, starting 3 April, as part of Te Hāpai Ō | UC Live Speaker Series, UC experts will look at different aspects of wellbeing: mental, spiritual, and family wellbeing. These themes are three of the pou (pillars) from Tā (Sir) Mason Durie’s Māori model of health, Te Whare Tapawhā.

Te Hāpai Ō refers to the important role of those behind the scenes who work hard to ensure the journey ahead goes well for everyone. Taken from the Māori whakataukī (proverb): ‘Ko te amorangi ki mua, ko te hāpai ō ki muri’ | ‘When the right support is given from those in the back, then the work from those at the front will be successful’, Te Hāpai Ō recognises the value of providing information and support to our wider community in order for us to successfully plan and prepare over the coming weeks as we navigate this unique and unsettling time together.

Te Taha Hinengaro | Mental wellbeing

University of Canterbury Clinical Psychology Professor Julia Rucklidge will talk about key mental wellbeing principles followed by a Q&A session focusing on your questions about nutrition and nutrients, managing anxiety and stress, exercise, and maintaining good routines in uncertain times.

Join us on UC’s Facebook page for the live talk: Friday 3 April at 11am.

Te Taha Wairua | Spiritual Wellbeing

The University of Canterbury’s Senior Ecumenical Chaplain, Reverend Spanky Moore, will use Good Friday to introduce the tradition of Contemplative Spirituality, and briefly explore the benefits of making space for a ‘Spiritual Practice’ during this season of lockdown or sheltering.

Join us on UC’s Facebook page for the live talk and Q&A: Friday 10 April at 11am.

Te Taha Whānau | Whānau Wellbeing

University of Canterbury Health Sciences lecturer Tracy Clelland will discuss practical ways of using wellbeing models to enhance family/whānau relationships (including tips for combining working at home and parenting). Tracy will share practical tips based on the five ways to wellbeing, and how to build and maintain positive family relationships during lockdown. You can ask questions and share your experience of what works in your family in the following Q&A session.

Join us on UC’s Facebook page for the live talk Te Taha Whānau | Whānau Wellbeing: Friday 17 April at 11am.

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