Category Archives: UC News

LATL-lab welcomes visiting Professor

The Learning and Teaching Languages Research lab was delighted to welcome UC Visiting Canterbury Fellow Professor Monica Axelsson from Stockholm University with an informal morning tea on Friday 6 January.

Axelsson morning tea

Pictured from the left: Muneir Gwasmeh; Linda Edwards; SM Akramul Kabir; Thinh Le; Shaista Rashid; Novia Bin; Sara Farshad-Nia; Jin Kim; Professor Jeanette King, Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies; Vera Leier, Global, Cultural and Language Studies – School of Language, Social and Political Sciences; Dr Kevin Watson, Linguistics -School of Language, Social and Political Sciences; Professor Monica Axelsson, Stockholm University; Associate Professor Una Cunningham, School of Teacher Education.

Professor Axelsson will be visiting the School of Teacher Education until 21 February at the invitation of the LATL-lab director, Associate Professor Una Cunningham.

Professor Axelsson’s expertise is focused on the learning conditions of newly-arrived refugee and migrant children, and on language across the curriculum. She has been recruited to the National Science Challenge E Tipu E Rea Better Start braid ‘Emerging bilinguals growing up in their digital world’ as an international advisor.

Monica and Una

Picture shows Jin Kim and Professor Monica Axelsson

Doctoral students and researchers in the LATL-lab are very much looking forward to discussing their work with Professor Axelsson, and she will be contributing to postgraduate courses in Learning and Teaching Languages while she is with us. She will also give a public lecture in early February (details to be confirmed), as well as a research seminar at the New Zealand Institute of Language Brain and Behaviour (NZILBB).

Find out more:

End of Year message from the Vice-Chancellor

Kia ora koutou katoa,

We have reached that time again where we reflect on the year that’s gone by. It has been a busy year with much to celebrate. We will again graduate over 3,000 students, have published hundreds of articles and have undertaken over half a million hours of research.

In 2016 every College, for the first time since 2010, reported an increase in new to UC students – and early indications of student numbers for 2017 look promising. A record number of Doctoral students enrolled by mid-year, and there was unprecedented interest in UC Open Day this year, which was attended by more than 4,700 people – more than twice the previous record. Overall, more than 25,000 people attended more than 150 events on campus this year, and attendances generally were up across the board.

We’ve also had unparalleled success in attracting research funding. UC is on track to earn a record level of research income in 2016. For the sixth year out of seven, UC has a Rhodes Scholar. We have also awarded the rare title of Canterbury Distinguished Professor to Professor Roy Kerr, recognised internationally for Kerr’s solution – on which all subsequent work on black holes has depended.

UC rose in the Times Higher Education (THE) rankings to join Otago and Victoria in the same bracket, and was the highest QS ranked New Zealand university – the only one in the top 200 – for research intensity/impact. We also retained our relative QS ranking among New Zealand universities. The graduate profile has developed much further in 2016 and UC’s effort to record non-academic student experience through the Co-curricular Record, has had excellent student uptake with more than 700 students opting in.

We are progressing with the transformation of campus infrastructure and IT systems such as the Student Management System, which will help students transition through the various stages of their involvement with UC, from the first time they express interest in studying at UC, to after they graduate with a highly regarded qualification.

We also started to open our eagerly awaited new facilities – the Structural Engineering Laboratory opened, and there was significant although delayed progress with Canterbury Engineering the Future programme with practical completion of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Lab wing and the Chemical And Process Engineering Lab wing achieved and the Engineering core due for completion by year end. The Rutherford Science and Innovation Centre (RSIC) building is on programme and RSIC Stage Two – the demolition and rebuild of the Von Haast building – has been endorsed by Ministers and payment of the remaining $15 m of capital contribution received. The UCSA demolition has progressed and the business case for the new UCSA building has been approved. The Rehua/New Education Building is progressing. An 80 bed development at Dovedale will progress, along with the new 75 bed Kirkwood Hall student accommodation.

 Fundraising efforts have seen more than $6.1m achieved so far in 2016 and are on target to achieve the goal of $8.5m, with Trust and Foundation funds at record levels. There was a record number (87) of Erskine programme visitors.

Alongside all this progress, we have also, of course, continued to deliver our core service  – promoting a world-class learning environment and research-led teaching and learning. 2016 has clearly been a successful year. We have moved from response through recovery and as recovery merges with transformation, UC is increasingly well positioned for ongoing success.

For those of you whose research and teaching is on-going through the summer, thank you for that commitment.

I thank you all for your commitment and contribution to our achievements this year and wish you all a safe and relaxing holiday.

Ngā mihi nui,

Dr Rod Carr

Vice-Chancellor Tumu Whakarae

Orientation Day – make a difference on 17 February

With the 2017 enrolment process in full swing the transition to welcoming and supporting our new students is  under way – which includes Orientation Day (O Day).

It’s worth popping O Day into your calendar on Friday 17 February 2017.

Each O Day since 2012 has given us a positive insight into our University’s progress since 2011, the difference our contributions to recruitment efforts have made, and why we’re here.

On a practical note, have a think about the extra number of students, parents, caregivers and whānau on campus. Planning ahead for parking helps too.  We’ll stay in touch with you over the countdown period.

Don’t forget the huge difference a simple Kia ora, or Hi with a smile can make to a homesick student.  You don’t need to have all the answers – just taking two minutes out of your day to bring a lost student to the information desk at Matariki could make all the difference in the world – tangata tū , tangata ora – be prepared to make a difference.

UC Communications and Engagement Team 

Industry Chair announced for new South Island ICT grad school

SIGNAL, the new South Island ICT Grad School, has appointed international businessman David Band as its new chair.

SIGNAL – the South Island ICT Grad School – is a collaboration between Ara Institute of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago. The grad school, funded by TEC, is also closely aligned with industry and is tasked with meeting the technology sector’s growing demand for highly-skilled ICT professionals.

Dr Band comes to the role with 30 years of experience in global consulting firms, running large business schools, and directing and investing in technology-based companies.

Dr Band describes his new role with SIGNAL as both a challenge and a great opportunity.

“It is a challenge to New Zealand higher education to think in terms of – and to deliver – return on investment to New Zealand. And it is a huge opportunity for local businesses, students and educators to help us all make giant strides towards being a truly competitive knowledge economy,” he says.

“As with all great ideas, the success of SIGNAL and other ICT Grad Schools will be determined by how well we execute those ideas. What will this require? Many things, but in particular, an unrelenting focus on outcome and a determination to be driven at all times by the needs of our customers – business and students.”

The interim chair of SIGNAL, the University of Canterbury’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Business and Law Professor Sonia Mazey, says to have someone of Dr Band’s experience and industry knowledge joining the SIGNAL board is a tremendous coup.

“David brings SIGNAL the wealth of his contacts and experiences, plus a real focus on outcome. He is a terrific asset to our new grad school.”


SIGNAL stands for South Island Graduate Network and Laboratories. As well as producing highly-skilled IT graduates with work-relevant skills, SIGNAL will provide more effective pathways for graduates from IT education into employment.  It will help grow New Zealand’s IT talent and knowledge to support business growth, innovation and productivity.  SIGNAL is now open for enrolments across its four industry-aligned programmes: Educate, Shift, Xtend and Accelerate (, and will open its doors at two physical locations – The Granary in Dunedin’s burgeoning Warehouse Precinct and in the Innovation Precinct, Christchurch – in February 2017.


  1. EDUCATE: For all school teachers who would like to develop their knowledge and skills to teach the fast growing areas of Digital Technologies in schools, particularly computer science curriculum and computer programming.
  2. SHIFT: For graduates from non IT areas who wish to move into an IT focused career; and for recent graduates who want to augment their recently gained qualifications with IT skills to further their employment prospects.
  3. ACCELERATE: For entry level or early career employees with primary IT roles (recent tertiary level IT graduates) to improve and/or expand their proficiencies and capabilities in a work-based learning programme.
  4. XTEND: For experienced IT professionals who wish to move into a leadership role or extend their technical abilities.

Delivery of SIGNAL programmes: Professionals enrolled in SIGNAL programmes will be engaged with businesses as part of their course of study. This engagement varies from company visits with Educate through placements, projects and internships with Shift to study whilst embedded in Accelerate and Xtend.

For specific programme details (fees, entry requirements, course details etc)  call 0800 990024 or visit

Ekea! Laughter and inspiration for Year 10 ākonga Māori

E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tōu ao…

Grow up and thrive for the days destined to you…

On Wednesday 9 November the Undercroft was swarming with Year 10 ākonga Māori (Māori students) from various schools around Canterbury. It was an excellent day filled with activities run by UC Colleges. The purpose of the event was to welcome ākonga Māori onto campus and to inspire the idea of Tertiary education as a possibility as they enter into their first year of NCEA in 2017.

Ekea Yr 10 Business

The theme of the day was “E tipu, e rea, mō ngā rā o tōu ao…” (“Grow up and thrive for the days destined to you…”) a quote from the whakatauki of well-known political leader Tā Apirana Ngāta. It seemed fitting to follow his words as he was a UC graduate himself and the first Māori graduate to complete a degree at a New Zealand university. With many opportunities available at UC, ākonga Māori have the ability to grow up and thrive for whatever they choose.

Ākonga Māori were connected with UC Tuākana (mentors from the Māori Development Team) and together they participated in college activities which were led by UC staff. Tuākana and staff were amazing, their enthusiasm on the day was infectious and you could see ākonga really getting involved, the competition for prizes was intense at each activity. There was lots of noise and laughter coming from the Undercroft, a sign of a great event.

Michelle Bergman, Māori Outreach Advisor