Category Archives: Staff Success

UC Pro-Vice-Chancellor wins international geospatial award

wendy receiving Asia pacific awardUC’s College of Science Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Wendy Lawson has won the Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards (APSEA) Professional of the Year 2016 award. This was presented to her at a gala dinner at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour in Sydney last week on 5 April. She was nominated for this award after winning the Professional of the Year Award at the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards (NZSEA) at an event held at Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington, in November 2016.

The APSEA award event was held in conjunction with the recent Digital Earth & Locate17 symposium, and eight people were shortlisted for Professional of the Year from around the Asia-Pacific region. The citation read on announcement of her win highlighted Professor Lawson’s sustained strategic leadership and influence in the geospatial sector, both in New Zealand and internationally.

3J9A2317 - WendyAmong the geospatial initiatives that Professor Lawson has led and driven is the strategic partnership between UC and the Melbourne-based Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI), the establishment of the Geospatial Research Institite Toi Hangarau at UC, and the development of the Master’s degree in Geographic Information Science (GIS), which is hosted at the University of Canterbury, and delivered in partnership with AUT and Victoria University Wellington. She also contributesd signiifcantly to the development of the New Zealand Geospatal Research and Development Priorities and Opportunities 2016-2010 stategy, released by the Minister for Land Information in November 2015.

Professor Lawson is currently Chair of the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI) Research and Education College, and also represents the CRCSI research community in planning for the future of the CRCSI after the current funding ends in 2018.

In the ceremony in Australia last week, Professor Lawson shared a whakataukī in her acceptance speech to acknowledge the broad and cross-sector collaborations that underpin the various geospatial initiatives: ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, ēngari he toa takitini’ – success is not the work of one, it is the work of many.

Put your microphone on charge at the end of teaching

image1Coming to the end of a teaching activity?

Be sure to put your microphone back on charge.

Carefully calibrated technologies are in place in lecture spaces, to make sure the audio experience of students is consistent – including the Wireless Lapel Microphone system.

Being wireless, it has its own portable power source – in its bodypack.


When the bodypack is taken out of the charging dock, it automatically switches on and starts picking up audio. The green light on the bodypack comes on.

Likewise, when put back correctly, it switches off automatically and starts recharging.

Given the near all-day use of many teaching spaces, it is crucial that this gets every opportunity to have a bit more charge put in.

When a previous user has not replaced the bodypack correctly in the charging dock, it stays on and is not recharging. Double trouble. That impacts teaching staff later that day, and even the next day.


Place the bodypack, the right way round, in the charging dock. This means the screen on the bodypack faces the lights on the charger dock.

image4Then push down to feel a click. On the charging dock the red charging light will come on.

Simply put:

  • Click,
  • Check,
  • Loop, and
  • Clip

Not quite sure what we mean?
Here is a very quick video to show you.

Remember, Echo360 recording only takes place if it has been requested, booked in and confirmed in advance. There is no audio recording to access later, if this has not been done.

Applications open: Cambridge, Oxford and Canterbury Academic Exchanges

erskineThe Erskine Programme is pleased to announce that applications for the Cambridge/Canterbury Academic Exchange Programme for 2018 visits are now open (i.e. Cambridge Grants and Fellowships).


This is in addition to applications for:

  • Oxford/Canterbury Academic Exchanges
    (Oxford Grants and Fellowships)
  • Canterbury Grants and Fellowships.

Application forms for all grants and fellowships and further information are on the intranet.

The closing date for all applications is Friday 5 May 2017.

If you have any questions please contact the Erskine Programme Manager on x93984 or by email at

What does the Pacific Development Team do?

The Pacific Development Team (PDT) runs awesome events to connect the Pasifika community on campus, and is there whenever Pasifika students need advice, guidance or just someone to talk to.

Through PDT, Pasifika students can get supplementary tutoring for almost any course at no extra cost, and a Pasifika mentor to provide guidance.

PDT also make award-winning videos!

The team’s entry in Le Va’s ‘Express Yourself’ Pacific Potential film competition explores an  example of intergenerational miscommunication or misunderstanding and how it could be done better. The short film includes familiar faces from the team, as well as members of the Mauafu family, who also opened their home to the film crew. And PDT’s entry won!

The Pacific Development Team is based at 37 Creyke Road.

UC commercialises health and safety test

UC has entered into a licensing deal with OPRA Psychology Group, one of the largest dedicated psychology firms in Asia-Pacific, with offices throughout New Zealand, Australia and in Singapore.

The deal will make the Hazard Awareness Test (HAT), developed by Associate Professor Chris Burt, available for purchase by health and safety managers from major New Zealand, Australian and Singaporean companies.

chris burtAssociate Professor Burt designed the new method for testing hazard awareness at UC’s Department of Psychology. The test can be incorporated into psychometric testing used for hiring and assessing staff, and is a significant advancement in bias-free measurement in the safety space.

OPRA began promoting the Hazard Awareness Test (HAT) to health and safety managers via a webinar at the end of February, which was designed to kick-start global sales.

Associate Professor Burt’s research and teaching focus on employee recruitment and selection, and he has been leading a team developing new psychometric tests of safety variables, which utilise 21st century technology and principles of gamification to avoid many of the bias associated with classic psychometric tests.

Intercom invited him to share more details of his design.

How is your new testing method different from existing tests? 
The Hazard Awareness Test (HAT) has several advantages over other safety related measures (there are in fact no other hazard awareness tests – but there are other measures in the safety space).

First, the HAT has no written questions. It measures using 100 scorable components within 10 puzzles.  This removes the literacy requirement, meaning the test scores are not contaminated by language skills.  The HAT also cannot be responded to in a socially desirable way. In contrast, other tests ask questions and it is easy for the applicant or employee to know what the right or socially desirable answer is.  Thus they respond in a way that ensures they ‘look’ safe, or look like they will behave safely.   The design of the HAT completely avoids this type of test bias.

The HAT is also a gamified test.  That is it is completed in the form of a game and our research has shown that individuals enjoy the experience of completing the test, and find it motivating and engaging.

Is the test useful for all sized organisations (big, medium, small)?  Yes the HAT was designed to be used with all jobs and all industries.  Wherever safety is an issue – employees need to be hazard aware, and the HAT can be used either as a job applicant screening tool or as a tool to assign employee to training.

How long did it take you to develop? 
About five years.  The first couple of years was trying to work out how to build a test with no questions.  After that I employed Hannah Beehre to develop the artwork for the test.

Once we had the basic test there was several years of testing – validation research.  Several dissertation students were involved in some of that.

And then how long to commercialise it? 
I confirmed the HAT is a valid measure by the end of 2015 and since then we have been working to commercialise it.  This involved building it on OPRA’s psychometric test platform ‘Podium‘,  so it is globally available via mobile device. It is also supported with a feedback report. OPRA Psychology Group hold the New Zealand, Australia and Singapore distribution rights.   It’s been about a year, or just over, since we started talking to OPRA.

What were some of the challenges to commercialising it? 
Fewer than you might think. The HAT is a very useful tool.  It’s quick to administer (18 minutes on average for good performers) and allows job applicants to be assessed on hazard awareness.  This can help companies improve their safety record by identifying individuals who might be risky in high risk situations, and also helps companies comply with safety legislation.

Who has it been trialled with? 
It’s a bit tricky to answer this as ethics means I can’t be specific about where data was collected.  But the validation work has used a lot of different samples.  It’s also being trailed in a number of companies – with Orion being an early commercial adopter.

Has UC used it internally in its own recruitment processes?
No – not yet and I don’t know if there are any plans for this.

Is there anything else you would like UC staff to know about the project/tool? 
It’s very important that everyone knows the HAT is a psychometric test – it is only useful if its security is maintained.  Because of this, it is very important to keep it secure, so there are no pictures or demonstrations to share.

But you can see below an excerpt from a sample report.

HAT report

Associate Professor Burt has also authored a book New employee safety: Risk factors and management strategies, which was published by Springer in 2015.