Category Archives: Staff stories

ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE – TIM ATKINS

Tim Atkins visited us from TriVector Services in the USA.

Tim Atkins with his host and students

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I work at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.  I develop avionics requirements, testing, and analyses for key components of NASA’s Artemis Program; and communicate NASA’s vision of space exploration to students in the US and NZ.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
My wife and I regularly visit our daughter, who lives in Christchurch with her husband and young daughter.  When I visited in early 2018, I contacted UC and offered to present information about NASA; Margaret Agnew enlisted me to present at the UC Connect forum then; afterwards, Dr. Chris Hann recommended me for an Erskine Fellowship to support the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering senior-level rocket design course.

What have you been doing at UC?
I lectured 3 hours weekly to an excellent group of young engineering students on rocket design parameters and trade-offs; NASA Systems Engineering approaches; and publicly-available Space Launch System technical information.  I also provided input to the UC Rocketry safety protocols for their launches, and participated in a test launch that served to train students on processes and safety checkpoints for a future Milly launch.  I also investigated future collaborations with some of my US colleagues and others here at UC.  Apart from UC, I communicated NASA’s vision to several primary, intermediate and secondary schools in Christchurch and Dunedin; I expect many of those students will pursue studies in Math and Science, that many of those will end up at UC, and – who knows? – perhaps some will work at NASA one day.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Time with family.
Beautiful New Zealand Spring weather.
Rugby – the local Canterbury team and the World Cup on TV.
Working with Dr. Hann, his brilliant students, and amazing support staff in the CoE, the UC Communications Office, and Erskine Office.

Student and staff feedback helping streamline enrolment communications

The Student First Programme is transforming student administration to make life easier for staff and students with better systems, processes and tools. This year, our work includes improving the application and enrolment process to increase conversion and student preparedness.

The Student Communications workstream is a collaborative effort between the Student First Programme, Student Services, and Communications and Engagement teams. The aim is to simplify and streamline the way UC communicates with students during application and enrolment.

You can find out more on our intranet page here>

Over the past couple of months we’ve been gathering feedback from students and staff through a number of forums.

What did students tell us?

Students want more clarity about the enrolment process, reassurance that their application is being processed, and to receive the information they need at the right time about course requirements, accommodation, student loans and scholarships. They wanted things in writing and preferred online rather than phone contact.

What did staff tell us?

Staff wanted more consistent terminology and styles across UC, automated digital processes, better tracking and more clarity for students on what they need to do when, to reduce the need for chasing up missing requirements or documents.

 

At a collaborative workshop, staff across the University worked together to determine what content was needed at four key points in the process: application acknowledgement, conditional offer, offer of place and full enrolment confirmation. We also discussed the need to make these documents more student-friendly by looking at language, reducing wordy emails and making better use of the website and myUC to provide information. This work is now underway, led by Student Services with input from the Communications and Engagement, Marketing, Design and Digital teams.

Click here to see a register of all the feedback we’ve received so far>

What’s next?

We’re currently working on a new Offer of Place communication process for domestic undergraduate students, in time for 2020 enrolments. This is being directly informed by the staff and student feedback we gathered, so thank you to everyone who gave us their time and ideas.

If you want to know more, contact studentcommsproject@canterbury.ac.nz

Who won the 2017 Supreme Sustainability Award?

Nominations for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards are now open!

To celebrate, we caught up with the Supreme Winner from 2017, Glynne Mackey. We wanted to share her story of sustainability and social justice with you, and inspire you to think of who you will nominating for a Sustainability Award this year.

Nominations for the Sustainability Awards are open from now until  31 August. The nomination forms and all the information can be found on our website.

In the meantime, enjoy hearing from Glynne Mackey, Senior Lecturer in the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

L-R: Glynne Mackey, Wendy Lawson and Matt Morris

Introduce yourself!

Nga mihi nui.

Sustainability and social justice has been significant during my childhood and young adult years. As a primary school teacher, I could see how excited and engaged children became when learning about their world; the environment; their relationships with their family, place and community. Since I began lecturing in 2004, I have been involved in teaching courses on sustainability and social justice to both early childhood and primary UC students.

You’re a senior lecturer in teacher education. Tell us about your work at UC, and how you came to develop courses on sustainability and social justice.

I came as a lecturer in the early childhood programmes at the College of Education. A colleague was trialling a year 3 course for preservice early childhood teachers and I asked to be involved. It is great to be able to teach in the area where I have interest and passion. This was a compulsory course and gave all EC teachers the knowledge and confidence to take their learning into teaching teams where they were employed. Since 2012, Sustainability and Social Justice has been an option for all EC and Primary students in the final year of their degree. I have worked with other inspired lecturers in this course, each has added new perspectives and new energy. The course now has a focus on the values associated with sustainability and social justice, such as caring for self, others and the environment; being an advocate for children and the environment; recognising children’s agency; teachers and children taking action in the community; and reflecting on how they, as teachers, have a responsibility to the centre or school community to uphold the principles of sustainability and social justice.

My involvement is not just about teaching. I have joined University groups and committees and presently on the UC Sustainability Reference Group. I have also developed a Sustainability Strategy for the College of Education, Health and Human Development.

What has been a significant moment for you on this journey?

There have been several moments! The most powerful moments come from past students I meet who tell me what the course still means to their teaching practice and how they have continued to make it part of their teaching commitment and philosophy. I know from their enthusiasm that children will be contributing to make their communities a better place.

Another significant moment has been to have had influence on the document for all teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. ‘Our Code. Our Standards’ (Education Council, 2017) sets out the professional responsibilities for the teaching profession ‘in shaping futures by promoting and protecting the principles of human rights, sustainability and social justice’.  With the statement now embedded in the document, there will be a requirement for teacher education, teacher registration and professional development programmes to show evidence of how this professional responsibility will be achieved from early childhood, through primary and secondary.

You won the Supreme Award at the 2017 Sustainability Awards! Wow! Could you tell us more about this?

Amazing! When I counted up the years I have been teaching degree courses and the number of students involved, it becomes apparent that education has the power to change and impact on the learning of children and young people. The ripples from the courses have spread widely into early childhood and primary. Winning the award is recognition of the importance of teacher education to lead change and build relationships and my role in being part of that.  I am encouraged by UC initiatives that promote research and teaching in areas of sustainability and social justice.

Where to next for you?

Through my research, I have made strong international connections with a growing research community involved in early childhood education for sustainability. These connections continue to provide opportunity for me to collaborate in academic publications, attend international conferences and contribute to international documents on education for sustainability and social justice.

My present research with colleagues will produce a resource for teachers to reflect, review and document their sustainability practices and explore social justice issues. The resource or tool kit easily accessed by all teachers is intended to motivate and inspire teaching teams and individual teachers to extend their sustainable practices and respond in a meaningful way to social and cultural issues in their educational setting.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Stay connected and follow us on FacebookInstagram or sign up to our newsletter to stay in the loop about campus sustainability. This blog is part of our communications plan for the 2019 UC Sustainability Awards. For more information, and for the Awards nomination form, see our website.

The Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management celebrates 10 years

On Friday 12 July the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management celebrated its ten year-anniversary at Riccarton House.

Attendees included champions from a decade ago, Waterways members and core staff, members of the Waterways Advisory Committee, other external stakeholders plus past and current students. Milestones and achievements noted include the development of five Water Resource Management (WRM) undergraduate courses, and the WRM PG Diploma, Masters and PhD qualifications. Ninety-nine WRM postgraduates have graduated, including 5 PhDs. More generally Waterways has overcome some of the logistical challenges of delivering a teaching and research centre across two very different universities.

The celebration coincided with Jenny Webster-Brown’s last day as Waterways Director, and without exception guest speakers noted Jenny’s hard work and dedication with deep gratitude and appreciation.


Current and past Waterways staff


Professor Jenny Webster-Brown


David Painter, Jenny Webster-Brown and John Bright

CELEBRATING FRESH THINKING: PROFESSORIAL LECTURE SERIES

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academe made by Professor Richard Watt and Professor Jędrzej Białkowski in the next presentation in the Professorial Lecture Series for 2019.

Date:               Thursday 1 August from 4.30 – 6.00pm

Location:        E14 – Engineering Core

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend this lecture, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.

“The Economics of Music and the Music of Economics” – Presented by Professor Richard Watt, Department of Economics & Finance

Economics, in one way or another, is concerned with decision making – choosing the optimal course of action from among those available. As such, one of the principal applications of economics is to study decision making along the value chain of goods and services in an economy, or more generally, decision making in “markets”. A study of a market begins with the entrepreneurial actions of bringing together inputs (raw materials, labour, capital, etc.) to create something useful, then the resulting goods and services must be made available to the consuming public (decisions around transportation, and retailing), and finally the consumers themselves decide which of them to consume (depending on their income, their preferences, and the prices of the goods and services that are available). Of all of the goods and services that circulate in an economy, “music” is one of the most fascinating, with a series of particular circumstances that have tested standard economic theory in many ways. In this talk, Professor Watt will outline the economics of the “music market”, touching on its special characteristics and the economic institutions that have evolved, and that continue to evolve, to contribute to the music market being functional, profitable, and welfare enhancing.

“Greener than a Greenback: Might the idea of socially responsible investing change the finance industry?” – Presented by Professor Jedrzej Bialkowski, Department of Economics and Finance. 

Since the beginning of the 21st century, the idea of socially responsible (or sustainable and responsible) investing (SRI) has become increasingly popular, attracting a substantial amount of investors’ money and moving from a niche investing strategy to a mainstream one. SRI market participants typically seek to achieve financial returns combined with consideration of some aspect of firms’ environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) profiles. Given the rapid proliferation of green financial products, the increasing assets under management and the differences across the products, it is important to understand this growth and the investor demand behind it.

Professor Jedrzej Bialkowski will discuss the past, current trends and the challenges faced by so-called green finance. In particular, he will focus on the behaviour of SRI investors and the performance of different types of assets in terms of risk/return profile and exposure to ESG values. Light will be shed on the importance of regulations for the development of socially responsible investing.

Professor Ian Wright

Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua