Category Archives: Staff Success

You are invited to the Staff of the Year Awards 2016

Since 1995, the UCSA Lecturer of the Year Awards have given students a voice in nominating and deciding the most inspiring and dedicated lecturers at UC.

This year the event has been renamed Staff of the Year Award, and a few more awards added to honour the help and support UC General staff members give students. We heartily encourage staff to take up this invitation as it is an excellent opportunity to connect with students and to better understand their experience of UC.

The Staff of the Year Awards celebrate the positive influence UC staff have on the student experience, and also provide an opportunity for students to recognise and reward the most dedicated and inspiring staff at UC. As Co-Chairs of the Joint Operations Advisory Board, which brings together UC and UCSA joint interests, we hope you can join UCSA to celebrate those nominated at this year’s award event.

Friday 23 September at 6:30pm

Location: The UCSA Event Centre (Foundry)

Dress code: Smart Casual.

Ticket includes a glass of champagne on arrival, nibbles and cash bar.

Please RSVP by Friday 16 September via

Please note this rsvp is for one guest. If you intend to bring a partner/friend you will need to send them the RSVP link for a separate reply.

Tickets are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

A special thanks to the UCSA Advocacy and Welfare Team for organising this special event.

Ngā mihi,

James Addington President UCSA
Lynn McClelland, Executive Director, Student Services & Communications, Kaihautū Matua Te Ratonga Ākonga me te Whakapā

SOTY_InvitationsPlease note this rsvp is for one guest.  If you intend to bring a partner/friend you will need to send them the rsvp link for a separate reply. Tickets are limited and offered on a first come, first served basis.

Brought to you by the UCSA

Inspirational staff receive awards

Congratulations to recipients of the Vice-Chancellor’s General Staff Awards & Health, Safety and Wellbeing Awards! Read on for inspiration on how these awards contribute to staff development, and how our staff make a difference.

Vanessa Forrester VanessaHR Specialist – DevelopmentHuman ResourcesVanessa will attend the Higher Education User Group Conference in the Gold Coast, Australia. It is an opportunity to network with other PeopleSoft users and gain insight into their system, customisations and any issues they have encountered and how these were solved.
Robert Stainthorpe RobertICPMS Service CoordinatorCollege of Science Robert will attend two weeks training at the Contaminant Biogeochemistry Research Lab, in the School of Environment at Griffith University Brisbane, Australia.There, Robert will receive specialised training in the management of metal free clean room facilities, which are used to support trace metal research in environmental science and engineering.
Theresa Buller TheresaLiaison LibrarianLibraryTheresa will attend and present a paper at the Australian Law Librarians Conference held in Melbourne, Australia. Theresa will also attend the Australian and New Zealand Academic and College Law Libraries meeting, which includes visits to two Law School Libraries.
Rob Spiers Rob SpiersTechnicianGeological SciencesThe award is in recognition of Rob identifying and implementing a cost effective measure to improve emergency response systems.
Rose Reynolds RoseProject Coordinator 


Student Success Rose facilitated wellbeing workshops for staff in Student Success and Communications, and developed a toolkit of resources that can be used across UC.
Brian Phillips Brian PhillipsProgramme DirectorCapital WorksThis award is for Brian’s initiation of, and continuing support of the UC Contractor Roundtable forum.
Caroline Burt CarolineEvents CoordinatorCommunications & EngagementCaroline has embedded at a high level of H&S foresight with contractor management into Event Planning at UC.

IT diverts eWaste from landfill

As part of Eco Week 2016 (September 19-24), the Sustainability Office is awards logo smallholding the Sustainability Awards, celebrating the efforts of our university community to improve the world around us and make UC more sustainable. In the same spirit, we are profiling some sustainability efforts of UC students and departments.

IT Services have been doing brilliant work with their IT Recycling Service. Over 2015 they diverted about 18550 kg of IT equipment from landfill. We had a chat with Brad Ash about what they are doing and why.

What do you do at UC, Brad? I am an IT Technician for Technical Support, my normal role is processing Hardware Servicing Events for IT equipment but I am currently overseeing the IT Recycling Service. Also, Ruth Emmens and Joseph Yamit have stepped up to learn the Recycling Process, more hands on deck are always welcome!

What is the IT Recycling Service and what is its purpose? The service is a collaborative effort between ITS, Distribution Services and Financial Services, providing the University with a sustainable, ethical means to dispose or re-purpose UC-owned equipment that no longer meets current business requirements or expectations. As an example, this would include items such as: a PC that is older than four years (fully depreciated); broken phones, keyboards and cables; or surplus IT equipment gathering dust at the back of the office cupboard. IT recycling requests are initiated via the Self Service Portal. Given the volume of equipment we process, I would like to encourage readers new to the service to understand the following outline of service expectations.

What is the IT recycling process? During the processing stage, we tag the items with either green redeploy or red eWaste stickers. Items which we deem as re-deployable (e.g. Philips 22” Monitors) are tested, cleaned, electrically safety tested and asset tagged if applicable. These are then assigned to Colleges to replace items that are definitRecyling Areaely eWaste. Components are used from re-deployable equipment to cater for Hardware Service Events where the Warranty has expired but the item is still economical to repair.

Items with eWaste stickers are passed to our Recycler and are mostly broken down into components which are processed at Metal Recyclers. Some items or parts are kept in stock and are passed on as donations for primary schools as an example. All data is removed from any Hard Drives in Computers that are eWasted.

Why is the IT Recycling Service important? The IT Recycling Service is important for the University as a whole as each item is removed from the Universities financial records when we confirm that it has been disposed of. It is important for us at Technical Support because we can use parts from redeployed computers for service events, and do upgrades at no cost. Also, it allows us to assist Colleges that are low on budget, by replacing eWaste equipment with redeployed equipment. And of course it is important environmentally, with less eWaste ending up in landfill.

How is it going with the service? The Service is going well, numbers started high since proper reporting begun in 2013. They are dropping slightly yearly, and we assume this is happening because the eWaste that Colleges have stored over the years are gradually being processed. Eventually, the numbers should mirror the equipment replacements that happen each year.

In 2015, a total of 2,383 items were processed which saved the University $5,250 in landfill costs. This price includes skips being hired and the cost per KG for disposal, this doesn’t include the effort from staff to actually dispose of the equipment at the Refuse Station. Eventually, we should not dispose of equipment in the Landfill anymore at all, we should always attempt to dispose of items in a sustainable manner. The process is constantly evolving to have minimum input from required members but to keep up the high standard of reporting, and less paperwork is always a good thing.

Are there other sustainability-focused improvements/initiatives you are looking at for the future? Nothing planned right now, but about mid-way through 2014, we started exchanging selected eWaste, “All In One” computers from student workrooms, for “repair credit” with a service agent. This gives us repair credit that we use for Mobile Phone and Tablets repairs. So far, cost savings have been approximately $4200 for 2015. So remember, if you drop your work Phone or Tablet, log a job through the Assyst tool and we can assess it for you!

Any other messages for staff ? What we ask at the moment is for Colleges to please refrain from holding on to eWaste equipment ‘just in case’. Please log a Recycling job through the Assyst Self-Service Tool for eWaste processing. And if you require equipment where new purchases are not viable, please log an Assyst job and we can most likely provide a solution for you.

Since we started reporting on the number of redeployed Computers passed on to Colleges in mid-2015, we have re-assigned 310 Computers (mostly for Engineering Post Grad workroom replacements).

Please click here for more information on the UC IT Recycling website.


UC Eco Week 2016 is a festival of events that celebrate and promote what you can do for the environment, your community and your life. See our webpage for updates on the events or see the event listing here.

This message was brought to you by the UC Sustainability Office. Connect with us through Facebook or Instagram. Or email us:









UC academics celebrate the written word

Creating a haven for authors and book-lovers, the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival returns for 2016 with speakers from New Zealand and the world. The University of Canterbury have their stake in the ground with a range of events featuring UC academics.

Being the largest literary event in the South Island, with 80 events and over 100 speakers, here are a list of events this weekend featuring UC academics:

A theme of ‘Planet and People’ will be embraced this year to inspire, inform and entertain you, bringing the community together through their love of words in all their forms.

The biennial festival will be held 24 – 28 August 2016

Festival website


NASA astronaut dream one step closer for researcher

IMG_8888Dr Sarah Kessans, a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Chemistry Department, applied to be a NASA astronaut back in February and has recently made the next cut for NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Class of 2017. She is one of approximately 120 invited to Houston for initial interviews.

We talked to Sarah about her experience so far.

Why did you apply to be a NASA astronaut?

While I consider myself a scientist/educator first and foremost, exploration, adventure, and team sports have always been huge parts of my life. I absolutely love my current position and the research that I’m getting to perform here at UC, but becoming a NASA astronaut would combine all of my many passions into one incredibly fulfilling, inspiring career.

Like many kids, I dreamed of being an astronaut when I was younger, but I never thought it would be an actual, viable career choice for me. When a friend posted NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program selection announcement on Facebook late last year, I realised that I not only met the minimum requirements (US citizenship, bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. plus three years of professional experience and 20/20 vision), but also possessed many of the traits and experiences that NASA was looking for in the next astronaut class.

My heart rate jumped up pretty high just contemplating the opportunity of getting to perform cutting edge science while serving my country in one of the most incredible ways possible, so I started the application right then and there while eating my brekkie.

How do you feel about being invited for an interview?

I am completely honoured and humbled to have been invited for the initial interview. Though, I will admit, once I got off the phone with the Astronaut Selection Office when they invited me for an interview, I did jump around the office with enough passion that the postgrads in the next office over questioned if there had been earthquake!

The whole process thus far has been an incredible journey – from applying and just dreaming of going to space, to making it through to the Highly Qualified pool (top 450 applicants) and rehashing adventures with old teammates and advisors who had been contacted by NASA as referees, and now getting the opportunity to go to Houston to meet current astronauts, tour the Johnson Space Center, and learn more about the current program and the future of space travel… it is quite surreal.

What process do you have to go through to get in?

Right now, I am in the top <1% of the initial applicants (120 of 18,3000) who will go to Houston for three days of interviews in groups of 10 between now and early November.

From what I’ve gathered from past selection rounds, we’ll be given psychological and medical tests during the interview process, but mostly the selection panel will be looking to see if we’re suited for the program (ie. if the members of the current Astronaut Corps would be able to live and get along with us for 6 months or longer in a tin can hurtling through the vacuum of space at 17,500 miles an hour). Therefore, the most frequent bit of advice I’ve gotten from those associated with the program is “just be yourself.”

After NASA has interviewed us all, they will narrow the field down to approximately 50 finalists, who will then go through another week of more rigorous tests (currently scheduled for January – April 2017). In June 2017, NASA will then choose 8-14 of these finalists to become the Astronaut Candidate Class of 2017, who will report for duty starting in August 2017.

Right now, I’m trying to learn as much as I possibly can about the program and the current Corps, and I’m trying to stay relaxed enough to just enjoy the ride. It would be the most amazing dream come true to be chosen as one of the lucky eight-14, but so far the journey has been the reward, with the support and inspiration of such an incredible community (especially from UC) surrounding me and cheering me on.