Tag Archives: Erskine Fellows

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Professor Jacqueline Mohr

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I have come from the University of Montana, located in Missoula, Montana in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains.  My area of specialty is in the marketing of high-technology products and innovations, which focuses on how to adapt and modify traditional marketing strategies for the complicated environment in which high-tech products are developed and commercialized.

For example, high-tech companies tend to be run by technical people who are less well-versed in marketing tools such as branding and customer insights.  High-tech customers tend to experience fear, uncertainty, and doubt about whether they will be able to successfully use all the technical features high-tech products offer, and even whether the products will perform as promised (or have glitches).  Finally, high-tech industries have unique characteristics, such as the need for “plug-and-play” compatibility for related product components, which is a fancy way of saying will the software work with the hardware, will charging stations be available for the electric vehicles, will content be available for my virtual reality headset, etc. Each of these considerations makes marketing strategies more complicated/difficult, and more important, than for traditional products.

While here at UC, I focused on one important high-tech category:  big data/data analytics.  The issues companies face in harnessing the power of data analytics is similar to the barriers in adopting and using any new technology.  Yet, companies that are not ready to embrace big data run the risk of falling behind their peers in this important new technology that is key to competitive advantage across a wide range of industries such as logistics, health care, retail, government, and marketing to name just a few.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
The Erskine Programme offers such a unique opportunity to engage with students and faculty in an environment that is both different, yet familiar, to what I experience in Montana.  My host/sponsor, Pavel Castka, has overlapping interests in sustainability and supply chains, and the opportunity to collaborate on research really interested me as well.

What have you been doing at UC?
I’ve been working with students in the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE) Summer Start-up program.  During their first week I provided an overview on strategies for commercializing innovation, and will be doing a “speed mentoring” session with them too.

Also, I delivered an evening lecture in the MBA Thought Leadership Series, “Harnessing the Power of Big Data,” to MBA graduates and industry leaders in Central Christchurch.  Roughly 50 people attended the two-hour event, where the topics included challenges organizations face in harnessing the power of big data to add value. I received many follow-up emails from the event that highlighted the myriad ways kiwi companies are using data analytics.

I also gave a six-hour seminar on Big Data & Innovation that covered strategies to leverage data analytics to develop new sources of revenue, how to develop a data analytics strategy, and how to build the capabilities necessary for effectively leveraging data analytics. Roughly 35 people attended this seminar; their feedback included comments such as:

  • One of the best uni presentations I’ve been to; expertly presented and thoughtfully collated.
  • Well done to UC Business School for going the extra mile to leverage the Erskine Programme to link up with local businesses and alumni.
  • Presented clearly and succinctly.
  • Calm, clear, personable.

I will be giving another talk sponsored by the Business School on campus whilst I’m here too on the use of biomimicry, or how product designers can use insights and lessons from nature, to solve technical challenges in product development and to design products with improved functionality and lessen their environmental impacts.  This will be in conjunction with the School of Product Design.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at UC/Christchurch?
I’ve really appreciated getting to know some of the UC Business School alumni who are part of the Christchurch business community.  Learning about how they are using data analytics in their businesses has provided me with useful insights and examples for my work. 

Also, working with the students, with their passion/enthusiasm for their start-up business ideas, is always energizing for me.  Having the opportunity to take the downtown tour of Christchurch and learn about the recovery since the earthquake, and to visit the Botanical Gardens and Museum, has also been delightful.  Taking a few hikes out near Sumner has also been fun.  Finally, we in the United States have quite a bit to learn about how to integrate our Native American Indians’ culture into society in a more meaningful way; observing the use of Maori language in public spaces and the Maori perspective generally has been eye-opening.

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Professor Sungdeok Cha


Sungdeok and his wife Christine in Kaikōura

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I am a professor in Computer Science and Engineering at Korea University in Seoul, Korea. Prior to joining Korea University, I was a professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) from 1994 through 2008.

I usually teach courses on software engineering, and my research topics have been on software safety and computer security. At UC, I teach courses on computer security and computer network.

I am on 6-months sabbatical leave from Korea University.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
I had a chance to visit New Zealand for the first time in 2015 when I came to attend Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference (APSEC) held in Hamilton. I had a chance to stop by Christchurch and met Prof. DongSeong Kim who informed me of the Erskine program. DongSeong is an outstanding and active researcher on computer security, and I am very interested in exploring collaborative research opportunities with him.

Opportunity to spend some time exploring New Zealand, as is probably the case with most Erskine fellows, is another attraction.

What have you been doing at UC?
Although I have been doing computer security-related research, this is the first time I actually offered a semester-long course on the subject. Course preparation has taken a lot of my time in Korea in preparation of my Erskine stay, and it continues to require preparation throughout the semester. The other class I teach during the fourth term is an introduction to computer network. Lecture preparation for both classes is keeping me really busy.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
Life in New Zealand is quite different from that of crowded and hectic one I live in Seoul. What a pleasant break even though it is only for a few months.

Occasionally, my wife and I take a short trip to nearby attractions to places like Castle Hill, Akaroa, and Lake Tekapo. Once the semester is over, we plan to take an extended trip in New Zealand. A trip to Milford Sound during the term break was so nice, and I got to take a lot of photos. New Zealand is a perfect place to enjoy two of my favourite hobbies, photography and golf. That is why New Zealand is a paradise to me, and I am thankful for an opportunity to serve UC as an Erskine fellow.

Erskine Programme Visitor Profile: Professor Horacio Brown

Where have you come from and what do you teach?
I worked at the Faculty of Forestry & Nature Conservation, Universidad de Chile since 1991. I did my B.Sc. Forestry at Universidad de Chile (1992), while my M.Sc. (1996) and Ph.D. (2007) at the University of Canterbury.  My teaching and research focuses on carbon, water and nutrient fluxes in forest ecosystems applied to sustainable forest management and ecological restoration.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/Why did you want to come to UC?
This is my second time as an Erskine fellow (2014, 2018), and I think the Erskine Programme provides a great opportunity to interact with colleagues, and explore and discuss new research and teaching ideas. Also to interact with other Erskine fellows and to open to new disciplines. Personally having a sabbatical in New Zealand, also provides me with the opportunity to benchmark my work identifying weaknesses and strengths, while also opportunities, which might be difficult to see while being at my home institution for a long time.

What have you been doing at UC?
At the moment, I’m teaching a three-week module about plant ecophysiology for the FORE219 course “Introduction to Silviculture”, and also interacting with postgraduate students at the School of Forestry. I’m co-supervising a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. student, and I’m interested to contribute towards refining their research ideas and the methods to test them while at the same time keeping them within the time frame of their studies.

Professor Bown (centre) with doctoral students Serajis Salekin (left) and Cristian Higuera (right)

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
I’m enjoying University life enormously; just to name a few, the interaction with colleagues and students, the coffee breaks, the interesting conversations and challenges, having more time to read the forestry literature and also reading in my leisure time, the time to share with friends, and last but not least, the time talking with my teenage daughter while cooking together.