Category Archives: Organisational Development

Latest news from the ACU – The Association of Commonwealth Universities

We are members of the ACU





ACU member introduction: International collaboration by Professor (Dr) C Raj KumarFounding Vice-Chancellor at ACU member OP Jindal Global University, India.

The future of the world will depend upon our ability and capacity to deal with adversities and challenges. From responding to COVID-19, to protecting the environment and building peaceful, pluralistic communities, our fragile planet will continue to face challenges – most of which will concern the sustainability of our future. Addressing such global challenges requires collective imagination and thoughtful action.

It is against this backdrop that the work of the ACU, including bringing together young minds across the Commonwealth, becomes increasingly important and significant. The future of our planet will depend upon our commitment to developing resilience and this work begins at the universities of the world.

Earlier this year, O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) partnered with the ACU, British Council, Commonwealth Secretariat, UNESCO-Chair in Community-based Research and Social Responsibility in Higher Education, PRIA Youth Foundation and UNESCO-MGIEP to host youth leaders from 15 Commonwealth countries for the second Commonwealth Futures workshop on ‘Inspiring global citizens’. Marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, the workshop examined multidisciplinary themes relating to the concept of global citizenship such as participatory democracy, community engagement, peace, non-violence, and prevention of violent extremism.

Universities have a critical role to play in preparing young minds to go on and create sustainable futures. Key focus areas include developing curricula and pedagogies oriented towards sustainable development, fostering global networks and communities of knowledge, and building close networks with local communities.

At JGU, we are striving to work on a pan-university, multidisciplinary strategy to explore innovative and sensitive ways to teach, learn, work, and live. As a demographically diverse university, in a semi-rural region in northern India that still faces enormous social and economic developmental challenges, we are particularly conscious about creating a transformative institutional model in higher education.

Given the current global health emergency, the need to innovate within higher education is more pertinent than ever. Universities across the world are demonstrating agility and an openness to change as they adapt to new ways of teaching and working. At JGU we seek to do justice to the goals and aspirations of our students, even in times of such crisis, while ensuring the safety and wellness of our students, faculty and staff. Therefore, JGU was prepared to handle the unanticipated and complete immersion into virtual learning and online teaching, and a strong academic and digital infrastructure enabled us to smoothly transition to the online world to deliver over 400 courses online this summer.

We are delighted to have been able to be part of the Commonwealth Futures and ACU Digital Now events, and we look forward to further opportunities to collaborate with the ACU’s extensive network.

With warm regards,

Professor (Dr) C Raj Kumar
Founding Vice-Chancellor
OP Jindal Global University

Māpura Māori – Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha

In this edition of Māpura Māori, Reo Māori in a minute, we are looking at the reo Māori name for UC, Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha.

“Whare wānanga” is a term associated with tradition schools of learning. Over time, this term has been used to also mean ‘university’

“Waitaha” is a name used to describe Canterbury, but it is derived from the name, Ngā Pākihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha, the vast plains upon which were occupied by Waitaha.

Listen here:


Māpura Māori – Reo Māori in a minute!

Māpura means fire, flash or spark

Delivered to your email inbox each fortnight Te Waka Pākākano | Office of the AVC Māori, Pacific and Equity will provide a small video clip called Māpura Māori – Reo Māori in a minute –  a short, informal pronunciation lesson to assist you with the correct pronunciation of some of our UC events, publications, programmes, places and spaces.

Māpura Māori is designed to both spark your motivation and provide you with a better understanding of the meaning behind many of these names and phrases – so that you build your bicultural competence and confidence while giving reo a go!

Kia iti te kupu, kia nui te whakaaro – capitalising on the micro-moments of opportunity that are available in our busy days, we have set ourselves a challenge – to provide you with a snippet of support via a video clip, in only 90 seconds or less. You will also find a link to an audio file so that you are able to click, listen, learn and let your ārero (tongue) practice the pronunciation in the privacy of your own home or office space.

Kia kaha tatou ki te tū ki te tahi – kia kaha tō tatou reo Māori!

Tū ki te tahi means to ‘stand as one’.

Click below to listen and practice your pronunciation for “Tū ki te tahi”.

Tū ki te tahi is an excerpt taken from the Ngāi Tahu whakataukī: “Whakahaua tō iwi, kia tū ki te tahi” which translates to ‘encourage your people to stand as one’.

In naming our staff pānui Tū ki te tahi, we acknowledge this fortnightly email as an opportunity for us all as UC whānau to engage and be empowered by the information shared so that we increase our knowledge on how to continue making a difference in our community, locally and globally – tangata tū, tangata ora.

Appointment Dean – Future Learning and Development

We are pleased to advise the appointment of Professor Mick Grimley to the fixed term position of Dean Future Learning and Development, reporting to Catherine Moran, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic. Mick joins us from Torrens University, Australia where he was the Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Dean of Education. Prior to joining Torrens University Mick was the foundational Chair of Education at Swinburne University where he established the Department of Education and developed and led a comprehensive suite of programmes online and face to face. Between 2002 and 2012 Mick served as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Associate Professor in the School of Education Studies and Human Development at the University of Canterbury and is excited to be ‘returning home.’ Mick’s main research area is Educational Technology and he has extensive experience in the development of flexible learning models and has led and developed a number of Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCS).

Mick will be joining UC from 2 June 2020 and will play a critical role in the continued strategy and development of our online learning at UC.

Pulse Survey: Ask/Listen/Act

The 3rd iteration of the Pulse Survey is currently open.


Why are we continuing to survey?

Our environment is changing and we want to capture what’s going on for our staff as we experience change. Since the closing of survey 2, NZ has moved from alert level 3 to 2. This translates into UC staff making the transition from home back onto campus. This also coincides with schools opening. Such changes result in a shift in support needs to ensure an optimal level of staff wellbeing.


Results to date

I invite you to look at the Pulse Survey results gathered so far. As time has progressed some staff found the lack of resources and having dependents at home have negatively impacted their perception of their own productivity. We can get by for a certain amount of time without our usual office setup but there comes a point where it impacts our ability to do our role. Primary/Intermediate/Secondary schools brought forward the term 1 holidays, and when school holidays finished the challenges of balancing schooling from home with working from home became a reality.

The satisfaction with onsite safety has dropped by 10 points. Onsite safety of staff and students is something we are working hard to maintain and improve, so this is an area we are very keen to explore and in the current survey we are calling for more information to capture specific areas of concern.

Please take the time to share your thoughts so we can continue to gather information on how best to support our staff and ensure we create an environment of optimal wellbeing.

The call for clarity

We aren’t hardwired for uncertainty and this can be seen in the large numbers of staff calling for more certainty and clarity in relation to:

  1. Forecasted student numbers
  2. Financial impacts
  3. Future focus and planning
  4. Job security
  5. Recognition of our varying ability to produce research outputs and how this impacts our internal recognition processes
  6. Expectations of the teaching and learning environment going forward, eg online vs face to face or a “hybrid model” and how that impacts workload.


As the VC mentioned in her address last week it is still too early to provide answers to all questions, however she has gone through the findings of the Pulse Survey and is working with the SLT in a focused way.

A Post Covid-19 Core Group has been created with the purpose to create a vision and plan to respond to the rapidly changing and uncertain post COVID-19 world. The group will have four key pillars: finance; strategy; the academic delivery model; and general operations. They are currently working to fully analyse the impact on UC and are looking at response options. The SLT and Council workshops, to discuss some of those options, will be completed by the end of next week.

Key indicators such as student numbers and potential financial implications are still only emerging, and change from week to week. These will be shared once there is more stability and certainty in the reporting.

Job losses will be our absolute last resort, and the SLT are looking at all other options before that, on both the revenue and cost sides. Our VC spoke about some new revenue ideas last week (FutureU and the new Fast track pathway in Engineering)

Academic concerns have been heard and these will be raised with the Academic Board such as the academic promotions criteria being able to reflect a hybrid model teaching and learning environment. The research inequity concerns raised by staff due to the current situation will also be examined and worked through.

The teaching mix under the hybrid model will require further analysis and assessment to ensure workloads are manageable and equitable.

The Answers to staff questions from the VC address last week is a helpful resource in providing further clarity.

Covid-19 has not caused us to deviate from the strategic plan agreed to at the end of 2019. This is important for us to understand as we look for something to align to which gives a sense of purpose and meaning to our work.

Ngā mihi

Rachel Dillon

Organisational Development Consultant