Category Archives: Staff stories

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

 

 

Workplace Visits Enhance Student Employability Skills

Visiting behind the scenes of a workplace and talking to professionals is a valuable experience for all students and helps give international students a glimpse of Kiwi workplace culture.

Staff in UC Service Departments have been supporting student learning by showing their office spaces and communicating what they do, the opportunities in their profession and what skills are most valued. Sometimes they even get inspiration from students.

Data Science student, Manju Sabareesh, shares her experience:

“I attended a workplace visit organised by UC Careers on 30 July.  This was a great chance to meet the analytics team of UC on the 5th floor of Central Library and discover how the department is set up to work for a such a huge organisation. Meg from UC Careers introduced us to Cameron Mair, who is a Business Analyst within the Business Insight and Reporting Team. 

Cameron explained how the team play with data and make meaningful reports and dashboards to help Management and Marketing teams work efficiently. They deal with big projects and a lot of ad-hoc queries. One  interesting issue that they are working on is “space” analysis and a UC computer science student is involved with the team in counting current space utilisation. By checking how the existing spaces at UC are utilised they can cater for an increase in new courses and students, so this analysis helps the university to grow. Amazing, isn’t?

Cameron kept on patiently answering our questions and we four enthusiastic students gave our minds and ears to his talk. He mentioned that his team has a diverse range of skills and is evolving through new tools and techniques to provide more live and interactive dashboards. I learned that they are moving from Cognos to Power BI and Cameron does presentations of his reports to internal clients in a story telling mode.

I asked him to consider creating events involving data science, financecomputer science students in hackathons to explore and develop some relevant issues at UC. He liked the idea and I am excited to see that he is making it happen along with WiTSoc and CompSoc on 13 and 14 July. This visit turned out to be a fruitful networking opportunity for mutual advantage!”

– Manju Sabareesh

Chronicle Autumn/Winter 2019

Chronicle is out! It’s a collection of some of the best stories of the year to date in a beautiful package with Type-C killer whales on the cover (thank you Regina Eisert/TPAonIce)!

Read it online here or grab a copy from the stands around campus.

Chronicle is one of the ways we keep our alumni, stakeholders and schools informed and inspired. It covers a diverse range of topics from the colleges and across the university, with everything from sex ed for the #metoo generation to motorsport to shape-changing titanium oxide – and much more.

Thank you to everyone who contributed. Please direct any feedback to communications@canterbury.ac.nz.

Creative Problem Solving ↔ Constructive Culture Whiria te Taura Tangata #17

Design Thinking

Back in August last year we highlighted the use of Problem Solving Circles to promote and grow a constructive culture. A number of you attended the advertised Blue CLUES sessions about this topic.

I hope you’ve been able to make use of this excellent tool and a number of the other tools in UC’s Ideation and Innovation Toolset.

A tool in that Toolset that I’d like to highlight today is Design Thinking.

“Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success”. —Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO

Design thinking solutions are desirable from a human point of view but also technologically feasible and economically viable. It is not a methodology for every problem but in the right situations, it is very powerful. This is a good overview article and here are the resources we have gathered for you.

Many of us perhaps desire to attend the d.school at Stanford University (I know I do) but that probably isn’t a feasible or viable proposition! The great news is – you can study Design Thinking here at UC.

I’ve just completed this paper myself and (apart from thoroughly enjoying myself) I learnt about the theory behind the Design Thinking methodology, when it is appropriate to use it, and how to practically apply it.

photo of design thinking
At the CDHB Design Lab

If you are interested you can take this paper as part of UC’s MBA or our Postgraduate Certificate in Strategic Leadership or, as a one-off.

Culture resurvey after three years – College of Education, Health and Human Development

Congratulations to the College of Education, Health and Human Development on their recent retest results – an increase in the number of staff responding to the survey and noticeable growth in the constructive styles! I look forward to you sharing some stories once you’ve had time to reflect on your results within the College.

Finding Out More

Ngā manaakitanga (with best wishes),

Karen Mather
Organisational Development

New digital tools make collaboration easier

The Student First Programme is helping prepare UC for the future, and putting students at the heart of our business. As we approach the second half of the year, the Student First Programme continues to help transform student administration and make life easier for staff and students with better systems, processes and tools.

On 16 May we launched the latest of these digital tools, which was designed by staff (including lecturers and academic managers) in order to collaborate and give feedback on new course proposals.  Click here to access the new Course Creation form >

Manual data entry, paper forms and long email trails are replaced with an interactive workflow and a central repository to track feedback. This will make course creation faster, easier and more accurate for everyone involved. Watch a short video on why we’re doing this:

We are excited to launch this new digital tool for academic staff as part of our journey to become a more efficient and agile University. Thanks to Academic Managers, Senior Student Advisors and Deans who have been instrumental to this project – they are your key contacts within Colleges for any questions or training requirements.

Introducing ourUC – a new system for student administration

The new Course Creation form is the latest feature in our new staff portal, ourUC.

ourUC will become the main system staff will use to complete student administration work. It’s built on the same platform as our student and agent portals, myUC and connectUC, as part of our new technology environment for student administration. We’ll be sharing more detail about our technology approach at our next Community Update on 5 June, so look out for the highlights video.

ourUC is still early in development and we’ll be releasing new features throughout the year, and making it available to more teams. Like any software product, it will continue to evolve and so it may look slightly different each time there’s an update. If you’re required to use ourUC in your role, you’ll receive appropriate training and support.

More information

For more information about the work we’re doing for UC staff this year, watch our recent Community Update.

Look out for more details about new features in ourUC coming soon. If you have questions about the Student First Programme ask your manager in the first instance, or contact studentfirstprogramme@canterbury.ac.nz