Category Archives: Uncategorized

Covid-19 update

Earlier this afternoon, the Prime Minister confirmed that Aotearoa New Zealand, except Auckland, will continue at Alert Level 2. Auckland will move to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm, Tuesday 21 September. Alert levels will be reviewed again on Monday 4 October.

Also confirmed this afternoon is a change in the number of people allowed to gather for events. At Alert Level 2 gatherings of up to 100 can take place.

Teaching and Learning
Teaching and learning will continue to operate as it has been. See the UC website for information on teaching and learning at Alert Level 2.

End of year exams
We intend to provide further information about end of year exams later this week.

Vaccination clinic on campus
A vaccination clinic will be set up in Haere-ora in early October for students and staff to get vaccinated. More information will be provided when the clinic is confirmed.

Information for students in Auckland

  • Travel – We are aware that some students who have been in Auckland for Alert Level 4 are looking at returning to Ōtautahi Christchurch. Cabinet has yet to decide the rules for cross-boundary travel once Auckland moves to Alert Level 3. Students and staff should remain in Auckland until the Health Order is finalised. Further information is available here and we will keep you updated.
  • UCSA Facebook group – The UCSA invites you to 09 Lockdown Lowdown – a private Facebook group where UC students still in Auckland can chat and stay connected over Levels 3 and 4. The Student Exec are online too if you’ve got feedback for them. The vibe is relaxed, and the group’s a space where you can share anything from a study tip or challenge to a mighty fine recipe. Join 09 Lockdown Lowdown: https://www.facebook.com/groups/154613880194186

Support for students
If Covid-19 has affected your studies, you can apply for Special Consideration here.

Remember, there are a number of support services available to all students if you’re not feeling at your best right now:

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

Equity Review Findings and Next Steps

Tēnā koe,

In October and November 2020 SLT endorsed Te Waka Pākākano | the Office of the AVC Māori, Pasifika and Equity to conduct research to inform a complete Equity Review. The aim of the review was to examine equity, diversity and inclusiveness in the University of Canterbury (UC) context, with a Tiriti o Waitangi-centred and intersectional approach.

We wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank all who participated in the review, particularly those who shared their lived experiences.

The report has now been presented to Council and shared with participants. The results (summarised below) identify the importance of breadth of focus across the University.

Findings

The Equity Review draws attention to the challenges the university faces in defining equity, diversity and inclusiveness and in delivering commitments into meaningful outcomes for underserved[1] communities. These communities include, but are not limited to Māori, Pacific, Rainbow, people with long-term disabilities (physical and mental health-related), people of faith, migrants, people of refugee background and women.

Qualitative research data was collected to inform the review through semi-structured interviews with targeted groups of students and staff. This was supplemented with an anonymous online questionnaire, which was distributed to gather broader UC student and staff input. Approximately 700 responses were received online and in excess of 80 in-person interviews as part of this process.

Findings highlight confusion about the meaning of equity in the UC context and it is clear that the implementation of the Equity and Diversity Plan, policy and aspirations were not met in full, as a result of this lack of clarity. Many research participants reported experiencing various forms of discrimination in the University. Others talked about the ongoing reproduction of structures of privilege. Many participants from non-marginalised groups denied or were unaware of the reality of marginalisation for others, and voiced concerns that acknowledging diversity could cause a reduction of teaching and learning standards or even threaten the value of the dominant culture.

It is encouraging that despite the significant challenges identified in the feedback, students and staff recognised the valuable equity work already under way across the University. This included the development and implementation of UC Values, Takere Māori and Pacific Academy and the Kia Angitu Student Success Framework. These developments demonstrate UC’s commitment to providing equitable access for Māori, Pacific, first in family, those from low-decile schools, and students with disabilities as they enter tertiary education.

In particular, focus on a strengths-based approach and research-based evidence drive action to meet UC’s aspirations for equity. It was also clear in participants’ feedback that research without committed leadership and an improved organisational culture would not lead to meaningful change.

[1] The term ‘underserved’ is used in the review report to refer to individuals, groups and communities that experience discrimination and exclusion (social, political and economic) because of unequal power relationships across economic, political, social and cultural dimensions.

What’s our response?

In response to the Equity Review findings, an Equity Response Plan is being developed to determine how UC will achieve positive change. The approach will be phased, prioritising short, medium, and long-term strategies and tactics. The Equity Response Plan will be finalised and circulated later in 2021.

This is a step in our journey to creating an equitable community, and we are committed to continuing to engage in conversations that facilitate this. We welcome your feedback and ideas on the response to the review via email to equity@canterbury.ac.nz.

There are actions we can take even as we establish a meaningful implementation response. The first step is to define a shared understanding of equity, which is pivotal in achieving meaningful outcomes to this work. While the workshops and response planning phase take place, we will also refine and confirm a definition that is concise and specific to UC’s aspirations for equity, diversity, and inclusiveness.

As a student at UC, what can I do now?

At UC there are lots of opportunities to get involved and connect with people from diverse backgrounds and who have different experiences. Whether you want to play sport, attend social events, join a student club or explore our vibrant city, you’ll find heaps of opportunities to support your personal journey in building awareness and understanding of equity. A good place to start is to check out the Tūhura |Explore Student Handbook, which shows you heaps of ways that you can make the most of uni-life and experience something other than your status-quo.

Make the most of the amazing support services around campus that can help you on your journey:

You can also find additional resources and support services in the community:

  • Need To Talk: 1737 (free text or phone)
  •  Lifeline: 0800 543 354

Nāhaku noa, nā
Dr Darryn Russell and the Equity Reference Group

 

TE PŪRONGO Ā-TAU | UC ANNUAL REPORT 2020

2020 was a year of extraordinary challenges for UC, as it was for many, yet we found new opportunities and fast-forwarded plans to provide a more accessible, flexible education for our students, while contributing innovative research to the fight against Covid-19.

The UC community showed commitment and innovation as we navigated the unpredictability of the year, all while affirming our commitment to high-quality teaching and research.

When more than 18,000 students and over 3,000 staff stayed home for the health and safety of our community, UC academics stepped up to found new ways to teach online, and support our students.

UC also boosted accessibility education by launching a number of free Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and other distance learning courses.

We were also able to launch new programmes to boost student wellbeing and success, such as the Takere scholarship programme for first-year Māori and Pacific/Pasifika students and the ACE (Analytics for Course Engagement) system to identify and assist first-year students needing extra help.

Despite disruption during the year, students gave the University a higher rating – 89% – for teaching quality in 2020, up from 87% in 2019.

Domestic student numbers were almost exactly on budget, and last year was UC’s most successful for securing external research income, with over $112 million awarded.

The pandemic led to a fall in enrolments of full-fee international students however, which triggered $1.9m in unplanned expenditure. This was balanced by UC’s efforts to make savings across the board and as a result, the University reported a deficit of just $575,000 for its 2020 core activities.