All posts by rro55

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Professor Jacqueline Mohr

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I have come from the University of Montana, located in Missoula, Montana in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains.  My area of specialty is in the marketing of high-technology products and innovations, which focuses on how to adapt and modify traditional marketing strategies for the complicated environment in which high-tech products are developed and commercialized.

For example, high-tech companies tend to be run by technical people who are less well-versed in marketing tools such as branding and customer insights.  High-tech customers tend to experience fear, uncertainty, and doubt about whether they will be able to successfully use all the technical features high-tech products offer, and even whether the products will perform as promised (or have glitches).  Finally, high-tech industries have unique characteristics, such as the need for “plug-and-play” compatibility for related product components, which is a fancy way of saying will the software work with the hardware, will charging stations be available for the electric vehicles, will content be available for my virtual reality headset, etc. Each of these considerations makes marketing strategies more complicated/difficult, and more important, than for traditional products.

While here at UC, I focused on one important high-tech category:  big data/data analytics.  The issues companies face in harnessing the power of data analytics is similar to the barriers in adopting and using any new technology.  Yet, companies that are not ready to embrace big data run the risk of falling behind their peers in this important new technology that is key to competitive advantage across a wide range of industries such as logistics, health care, retail, government, and marketing to name just a few.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
The Erskine Programme offers such a unique opportunity to engage with students and faculty in an environment that is both different, yet familiar, to what I experience in Montana.  My host/sponsor, Pavel Castka, has overlapping interests in sustainability and supply chains, and the opportunity to collaborate on research really interested me as well.

What have you been doing at UC?
I’ve been working with students in the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Summer Start-up program.  During their first week I provided an overview on strategies for commercializing innovation, and will be doing a “speed mentoring” session with them too.

Also, I delivered an evening lecture in the MBA Thought Leadership Series, “Harnessing the Power of Big Data,” to MBA graduates and industry leaders in Central Christchurch.  Roughly 50 people attended the two-hour event, where the topics included challenges organizations face in harnessing the power of big data to add value. I received many follow-up emails from the event that highlighted the myriad ways kiwi companies are using data analytics.

I also gave a six-hour seminar on Big Data & Innovation that covered strategies to leverage data analytics to develop new sources of revenue, how to develop a data analytics strategy, and how to build the capabilities necessary for effectively leveraging data analytics. Roughly 35 people attended this seminar; their feedback included comments such as:

  • One of the best uni presentations I’ve been to; expertly presented and thoughtfully collated.
  • Well done to UC Business School for going the extra mile to leverage the Erskine Programme to link up with local businesses and alumni.
  • Presented clearly and succinctly.
  • Calm, clear, personable.

I will be giving another talk sponsored by the Business School on campus whilst I’m here too on the use of biomimicry, or how product designers can use insights and lessons from nature, to solve technical challenges in product development and to design products with improved functionality and lessen their environmental impacts.  This will be in conjunction with the School of Product Design.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at UC/Christchurch?
I’ve really appreciated getting to know some of the UC Business School alumni who are part of the Christchurch business community.  Learning about how they are using data analytics in their businesses has provided me with useful insights and examples for my work. 

Also, working with the students, with their passion/enthusiasm for their start-up business ideas, is always energizing for me.  Having the opportunity to take the downtown tour of Christchurch and learn about the recovery since the earthquake, and to visit the Botanical Gardens and Museum, has also been delightful.  Taking a few hikes out near Sumner has also been fun.  Finally, we in the United States have quite a bit to learn about how to integrate our Native American Indians’ culture into society in a more meaningful way; observing the use of Maori language in public spaces and the Maori perspective generally has been eye-opening.

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Professor Sungdeok Cha


Sungdeok and his wife Christine in Kaikōura

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I am a professor in Computer Science and Engineering at Korea University in Seoul, Korea. Prior to joining Korea University, I was a professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from 1994 through 2008.

I usually teach courses on software engineering, and my research topics have been on software safety and computer security. At UC, I teach courses on computer security and computer network.

I am on 6-months sabbatical leave from Korea University.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
I had a chance to visit New Zealand for the first time in 2015 when I came to attend Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC) held in Hamilton. I had a chance to stop by Christchurch and met Prof. DongSeong Kim who informed me of the Erskine program. DongSeong is an outstanding and active researcher on computer security, and I am very interested in exploring collaborative research opportunities with him.

Opportunity to spend some time exploring New Zealand, as is probably the case with most Erskine fellows, is another attraction.

What have you been doing at UC?
Although I have been doing computer security-related research, this is the first time I actually offered a semester-long course on the subject. Course preparation has taken a lot of my time in Korea in preparation of my Erskine stay, and it continues to require preparation throughout the semester. The other class I teach during the fourth term is an introduction to computer network. Lecture preparation for both classes is keeping me really busy.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Life in New Zealand is quite different from that of crowded and hectic one I live in Seoul. What a pleasant break even though it is only for a few months.

Occasionally, my wife and I take a short trip to nearby attractions to places like Castle Hill, Akaroa, and Lake Tekapo. Once the semester is over, we plan to take an extended trip in New Zealand. A trip to Milford Sound during the term break was so nice, and I got to take a lot of photos. New Zealand is a perfect place to enjoy two of my favourite hobbies, photography and golf. That is why New Zealand is a paradise to me, and I am thankful for an opportunity to serve UC as an Erskine fellow.

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Associate Professor Amy Neel

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I’m on the faculty of the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I teach undergraduate and graduate students who will become speech-language pathologists (speech therapists). 

At UC, I’m teaching a course on motor speech disorders, deficits in speech that accompany neurogenic disorders such as Parkinson disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), stroke and head injury.  The course focuses how to help individuals with these devastating disorders to communicate effectively.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
I met my UC colleague Megan McAuliffe at a professional meeting, and I served as an external reviewer for her doctoral student, Annalise Fletcher.  I admire Megan’s work greatly and was excited to have the opportunity to work with her. 

At my home institution, I’m very interested in working with students from under-represented groups, including Native American and Hispanic students.  Learning about how New Zealand universities work with Maori students was also a big draw for me to come to UC. 

What have you been doing at UC?
Megan McAuliffe and I have begun working on several research projects including a study of speech intelligibility in speakers of English as a second language and an investigation of New Zealand vowel characteristics in the QuakeBox Project recordings.  I’ve also been learning a lot about sociolinguistics through attending seminars and lab meetings with UC’s wonderful Linguistics faculty and students.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
I’ve really enjoyed the company of my department colleagues and Erskine Fellows throughout the university.  And I’ve had the good fortune to be able to sight see, hike, and watch birds all over Christchurch, Canterbury, and the South Island.  My road trip to Stewart Island and Milford Sound during the term break was a travel highlight – getting to see kiwis in the wild was a dream come true.