Category Archives: Updates from UC staff

Important information for students from UC staff.

CHAT ROOM – You talk. We listen.

A good friend of mine has spent the last few months on campus at UC doing observational research about how students behave as they walk to class.

His method was deceptively simple; he enlisted a small gang of “research assistants”, which he compensated with $2 rice. He placed them at various outdoor observation points and asked them to observe anything and everything about the way most students behaved as they came and went from campus.

I shouted him a coffee last week, as I was eager to find out his results.

“Well, I guess the big thing we noticed was that most students walk everywhere by themselves. Usually with headphones on or ear plugs in, eyes half on their phones and half avoiding people coming the other way on skateboards. It’s kinda weird to see – all these people in one place, totally oblivious to each other.”

I suspect that if lots of UC students were honest, they would say they felt lonely. It’s often harder than they thought to meet people and make friends on campus. And sometimes the thing we need the most is a real life human being to talk too, and to be heard by.

That’s why this term we’ve started CHAT ROOM. A confidential drop-in space based in the Puaka-James Hight Library – where students can come and have a conversation about anything they choose, with one of our real life expert conversationalists. Our motto is “You talk. We (mostly) Listen.” CHAT ROOM will run over Term 2 from 11am-1pm, Monday – Friday, based in room 300B on level 3 (just up the stairs, to your right, next to the Academic Skills Centre). Our fantastic team will be on hand to talk about almost anything; the weather, relationship problems, Donald Trump, study stresses, kittens, anxiety issues, gardening, spiritual conundrums, how to make friends, thumb-wrestling… it’s really up to you! Our people also offer great advice, and can connect you with other UC services that might help you get “un-stuck” – if you’re feeling a bit lost.

If you want to know more – either drop in one weekday and say hi – or drop me (the Chaplain) an email on

CHAT ROOM is powered by UC Chaplaincy.

Learn New Zealand Sign Language at UC

Learn one of New Zealand’s official languages – New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). This introductory course covers finger-spelling alphabet and basic phrases, numbers, some university specific vocabulary and basic grammar. No previous NZSL experience is required and the course is open to students and staff.

Term 2 classes will be held each Thursday from 12.00pm – 12.50pm in the Puaka-James Hight building. 

The dates are 26 April, 3 May, 10 May, 17 May, 24 May and 31 May.  Handouts are provided, there is no structured homework, though practicing signs between classes is encouraged to enhance your learning. 

Register now by emailing me, Nicola McDonald ( Following this I will send you a payment form (the cost is $60).

Read what previous attendees have to say;

My speech and hearing is something I take for granted every day and learning sign language gave me a greater appreciation for the abilities that I have, as well as allowing me to communicate with the deaf community. I definitely intend on continuing to learn sign language, to extend my conversational skills and to continue learning about deaf culture.

Sign language is a transferable skill across study, work and our day to day lives. I encourage you all to consider taking this course next time it is offered, you will learn how to sign common phrases, ask questions and master basic conversations.

During term three, I was fortunate enough to learn sign language through a course offered by the University. I signed up to this course because I think as an official New Zealand language it is something we should all know the basics in. 

Nicola McDonald
Disability Resource Advisor 


Working towards sustainable practices

UC’s Senior Management Team recently developed and adopted a Sustainability Framework.

This document establishes the approach that the University will take to meet its environmental commitments and to incorporate sustainability concepts into decision making at all levels, while staying within the University’s resources.

The Framework covers approaches to teaching, learning and research, operations, and partnerships for sustainability.

AVC Māori and Acting Learning Resources Director Darryn Russell headed the Framework, and believes that “universities are uniquely poised to offer sustainable solutions to the problems of our day – notably climate change – something that is recognised throughout the higher education sector world-wide.” He added that “having this Framework in place will focus attention on this fact and makes a firm statement that these issues are viewed as important within the UC community.”

Key elements of the Framework include fostering research that will lead to a more sustainable world and offering opportunities for students to learn about and contribute to ways their disciplines can contribute to sustainability outcomes. It states a goal of being a “role model in our community for environmental leadership and sustainable practises”, and that UC will draw on the special significance of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and commit to being good stewards of our environment.

There are lots of ways to get involved now that this Framework is in place, acknowledging that we have been on a sustainability journey as a university community for nearly twenty years.

For an idea of how the University is performing in the areas covered by the Framework, have a look at the 2017 Sustainability Report.

Get in touch with the Sustainability Office if you have any questions about how you can incorporate more sustainability practices and principles into what you do here at UC and in your everyday lives!