Is your lecturer the best? Nominate them now!

It’s that time of the year again – voting for your best lecturer and letting them know that they are appreciated.

From 1995, the University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) has instituted lecturer of the year awards as a platform for students to voice their opinion and channel their appreciation to the most deserving lecturers from all across the University. Don’t let the title fool you; you can also nominate your favourite administrator, supervisor or simply someone of great character for the year. If this wasn’t fun enough, you can also make up your own lecturer award criteria and the form clearly instructs you to “get sassy” with the criteria. What more can you ask for? You get to be cheeky and get away with it? I’d take that!

By nominating, you are actually voting by filling this online nomination form (yes, of course it’s Survey Monkey!) so you don’t have to fill out another form to vote. The survey link also includes the specific criteria for each award and a few requirements to support your nomination.

If this isn’t enticing enough and you need a little more incentive, then you should know that by simply nominating someone worthy, you are entering yourself into a draw where four $50 vouchers are awarded to be used on campus cafés and bars. Don’t tell me that free food and drinks are not a good incentive! So go on-line and get nominating.

NZ SIGN LANGUAGE COURSE – embracing the official language

Most of us know that the New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) is one of the official languages; the third one to be precise and yet is hardly ever used by a hearing person. This could simply be due to the lack of knowledge or understanding of the culture and norms of the deaf community.

Fortunately, the University’s Disability Resource Services offers a short course in sign language in Term 4 which has returned on popular demand. Open to all students and staff, the course covers basic phrases in NZSL, finger-spelling alphabets, some University specific vocabulary, basic grammar and information about deaf culture and norms.

The course is taught by Josje Lelijveld, who is deaf herself. Don’t be startled by that, she has over 20 years of experience in teaching deaf awareness and sign language classes. So, you’re getting the real deal, legit and straightforward. For a humble fee of NZ$60, the course runs every Tuesday from  9 September to 14 October from 1-1.50 pm in Seminar Room 210 of Puaka-James Hight.

Here’s the link to the course that contains more information, the course registration form and fee payment instructions:

A few things you should know and consider before registering:

  1. The course will only run IF there are sufficient enrolments
  2. Once the course is confirmed, the course fee is non-refundable.
  3. There is only one session very week in the same time frame. So make sure you will be available to commit to the time, as the classes are interlinked. However, you won’t be at a total loss if you miss one.

If you’re keen but still need more information then please contact the Disability Resource Services team at

Volunteer, make a difference, feel the difference

Yes, volunteering is a selfless deed that is meant to make someone else better off; but it definitely has something in return for you. The returns are intangible but definitely lasting. That sense of direction, realisation or even inspiration gained is priceless and may steer your life down an entirely different path. This is exactly what happened to Anna Cusack, a Law student at UC who worked with families in Malawi earlier this year.

UC law student Anna Cusack in Malawi.

UC law student Anna Cusack in Malawi.

As one of five youth ambassadors for World Vision, Anna visited Malawi to attend the 40 hour famine annual fundraiser. This opportunity has left her with a sense of professional direction as she is seeking to carry out international aid and diplomacy work when she finishes her degree.

In her interview, she makes a thought provoking statement that “an awesome aspect to studying law at Canterbury is a real focus on giving back to the community. The law department is to make it compulsory to do a certain number of service hours helping in the community before completing a degree.”  Personally, I think this should be adopted by every department. In today’s world, where only the best survive, we often forget to help the ones lagging behind and in need and often forget to appreciate the simple things in life.

A university degree is meant to be holistic and making volunteering a requirement only enhances the intangible quality of the degree. The experiences, stories and reflections learnt and experienced only leave us as a better person. From personal experience, I can say that volunteering, especially for the things you care about, really does give you a sense of who you are and makes you realise what you stand for and where you come from. There’s just something about going out there and trying that gives you this sense of satisfaction and sudden can-do attitude and strength.

Start small, explore your options and find what you love. Trust me, it’s out there, you just need to be patient and open minded to find it .If you don’t know where to start or lack motivation and focus or are just looking for some support to get started, join one of the many volunteering clubs on campus. Some of the biggest and most well-known are of course the Student Volunteer Army, UC Red and 180 Degrees consulting for example. Here’s the link of the clubs on campus, if you’re keen to explore your options:

Volunteering not only enhances your personality and enriches your life, but also looks great on your C.V. So, get out of your shell, try new things, advocate what you stand for and get on with making a difference.

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