Category Archives: Wellbeing

Under Pressure: Understanding assessment anxiety

Help your students cope with assessment-related anxiety with this new online resource by Dr Valerie Sotardi (College of Education, Health & Human Development | Te Rāngai Ako me te Hauora educational psychologist) and Associate Professor Erik Brogt (Learning Evaluation and Academic Development team).

First year students can be particularly vulnerable as they transition to university life, but help is at hand with new resources for students and teachers, funded by Ako Aotearoa, New Zealand’s Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, and available on their website.

Top tips for teachers:
• Being familiar with NCEA content and structure
• Teaching for transfer of knowledge
• Setting clear expectations
• Communicating the purpose of an assessment
• Building student confidence
• Identifying a clear contact person for the course
• Creating a sense of belonging
• The learning environment matters
• Knowing the referral process

Read the full guide here: Mitigating Assessment Anxiety in First-Year University Students: A resource guide for teaching staff

Read the news story here>

Psychology of work, performance and wellbeing – Whiria te Taura Tangata #20

Kia ora e hoa!

I am on the cusp of a week’s leave which will definitely contribute to my own wellbeing.  So this is a short, but hopefully sweet, posting.

Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope – November – Psychology of work, performance and wellbeing session – next month we are very excited to be co-hosting, along with the College of Business and Law and the College of Science, Professor Michael Leiter from Deakin University, a world-renowned expert in the psychology of work!

Combining Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope sessions together this time has allowed us run the same one hour session twice on 7 November to give you two options of time. Attendance is limited to 100 people per session.  There’s more information and registration details in this blog.

Weaving the Rope – our inaugural organisational culture sessions for all staff were held late last month. It was good to go back to basics and look at the How Culture Works Model. About 150 people attended and you can see details about what we covered on the OD website soon.

Opening up those silos – an article caught my attention this morning, especially the comments about intra-unit cooperation generally being high (we work well together) but inter-unit coordination is often seen as being problematic (they are difficult to work with).

That situation plays out in many of the culture outcomes across UC’s results. Is that your experience? If so, then the article might be worth five minutes of your time.  Trying to work across silos can be frustrating and detrimental to our wellbeing at work.

“If we want to achieve great things at work, to solve challenging and meaningful problems, and to live and work in constructive cultures — we must cultivate a broader sense of We”.

Ngā mihi, Karen Mather, Organisational Development Manager

Helpful links


Psychology of work, performance and wellbeing session

Kia ora koutou,
The next combined Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope session features Professor Michael Leiter from Deakin University, a world-renowned expert in the psychology of work. Professor Leiter will talk us through workplace civility and respect and how that supports wellbeing and leads to improved individual and organisational performance.

The sessions are on 7 November and are open to all staff.

Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope support UC’s Organisational Culture Journey, Whiria te taura tangata | Weave the rope of people.

About Michael
Prior to starting at Deakin, Michael was a Professor of Psychology at Acadia University in Canada where he held the Canada Research Chair in Occupational Health and Wellness. While at Acadia University he served as Head of Psychology, Dean of Science and Vice-President Academic. His research on job burnout and work engagement has been widely read with over 70,000 citations in Google Scholar. As part of his commitment to improving work-life quality, he consults with organizations and researchers around the world. Dr Leiter is a co-author of the Maslach Burnout Inventory and the Areas of Worklife Scale and has extensive experience and depth of insight regarding their interpretation.
His current research and consulting focusses on improving collegiality within workgroups. In Australia, he is currently involved in projects addressing workplace civility and job burnout in healthcare, policing, education, and financial services. Much of this work occurs through SCORE (Strengthening a Culture of Respect & Engagement), a workgroup-based approach to improving workplace civility.

Panel: Following this one-hour session, for those who are able to stay, Michael will be joined by Associate Professor Sanna Malinen (Business & Law), Professor Katharina Naswall (Psychology, Speech and Hearing) and Karen Mather (Organisational Development Manager) for a 30 minute panel discussion where light refreshments will be provided.

Combining Blue CLUES and Weaving the Rope sessions together has allowed us run the same 1 hour session twice on 7 November. Attendance is limited to 100 spaces per session.

To register, please choose from
Thursday 7 November 10am-11am Book here

Thursday 7 November 1pm-2pm Book here

I look forward to seeing you there!

Sanna and Katharina will be arranging a guest research seminar during Michael’s visit so please watch out of further details regarding this.

Ngā mihi,

Rachel Dillon,

Organisational Development Advisor

Helpful links
Want to know more about how the “Weaving the Rope” name evolved? 
Find out more about UC’s organisational development 
For further Information on Blue CLUES 


This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in Aotearoa New Zealand, which is all about focusing on our wellbeing and making sure we’re looking after ourselves.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are five simple yet proven actions you can use every day to help you find balance, build resilience and boost your wellbeing.

Talk and listen, be there, feel connected

Embrace new experiences, see opportunities, surprise yourself

Remember the simple things that give you joy

Do what you can, enjoy what you do, move your mood

Your time, your words, your presence

Support on campus
If you or someone you know would like to talk to someone about life at UC, getting help with managing your work, a personal matter or you just need someone to talk to, there is a range of free support available on campus.

Support for students:

Support for staff and students:

Support for staff:

Wider support

0800 LIFELINE (0800 543 354) or text HELP (4357) for free, 24/7, confidential support – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

September is Free Wills month!

Considering leaving a gift in your Will doesn’t equate to being old: it’s about providing for your family and ensuring that the things you care about can benefit when your time is up.

The University of Canterbury has partnered with Justly, the online Will writing service, to create a brilliant opportunity for staff, friends and family to write a Will and/or a Statement of Wishes free of charge. There is no obligation to leave a gift in your Will to the UC Foundation, it’s just a great benefit that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home.

Wills are not just for the rich and wealthy either. Regardless of how much or how little money you have, they ensure that your personal belongings and assets go to the people/good causes you nominate.

According to Sorted, less than half of adults in NZ have a Will, which means that if you die intestate (without a Will) those you care about most may not be looked after. This doesn’t have to be your final forever Will – it’s just a starting point to make sure you have every possibility covered.

To find peace of mind you can get started here. Once you have entered your email address you will be sent a link to begin (which can be activated at any time). Upon completion – approximately
10-15 minutes – you will be taken to a checkout and you can use the following codes to overwrite the minimum charges for a comprehensive single Will and/or a Statement of Wishes:

UCALUMNIWILL to claim your free Will
UCALUMNISOW to claim your free Statement of Wishes

Too easy!

In the months of July and August we have seen over 300 people access this service. Let’s see if we can beat this for September.

Any questions, just email in the Alumni & UC Foundation team, or call 03 369 5530 for a chat.