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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

Support available – financial hardship & special consideration

How to apply for Financial Hardship support
We understand that the COVID-19 situation is an unusually difficult time for everyone. If you are experiencing financial hardship that will have an impact on your studies, you may be eligible for financial support.

Students requesting financial support can contact the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team in the first instance to discuss their situation. The UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team will review your situation and provide advice on the application process. As a general guide, students are eligible to apply for financial support if they can demonstrate that their capacity for continued study may be in jeopardy due to financial hardship. However, as financial support is limited, being eligible does not mean you will be approved for support. Financial support is also not intended as a form of income support and will not be provided to pay for ongoing expenses. Please note that each application is assessed on a case by case basis and has criteria attached to them. 

Finally, we understand this is a time of uncertainty and we are here for you to talk to. We are offering consultations online, so please do make an appointment with the UCSA Advocacy & Welfare team if you are facing financial hardship.

Wage Subsidy (domestic and international students)

Students (including international students) who are legally entitled to work and are employed by a New Zealand employer can be covered by the wage subsidy. The subsidy covers employees who are working part-time, or on a causal or contract basis. Please note that as the subsidy is paid to employers, the subsidy does not cover international or domestic students who were not in employment prior to COVID-19. A useful link to the details of the policy is available here 

Special Consideration Process
Students who are experiencing particular challenges as a result of COVID-19 may apply for Special Consideration here

More information 
More COVID-19 information is available on the UC website here

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia manawanui | Be strong, be brave, be steadfast.