Tag Archives: Erskine programme

ERSKINE NEW ARRIVALS

The Erskine Programme would like to welcome the following Visiting Erskine Fellows and their families to the University:

  • Professor Sharyn Rundle-Thiele from Griffith University, Australia, arrived 23 July and will be teaching in the Department of Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship
  • Professor Mat Simpson from Queensland University of Technology, arrived 31 July and will be teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Please help us make our two new Erskines and their families feel welcome at UC.

ERSKINE NEW ARRIVALS

The Erskine Programme would like to welcome the following Visiting Erskine Fellows to the University:

  • Professor Brooke Harrington from Copenhagen Business School,  Denmark, arrrived 11 July and will be teaching in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems
  • Assistant Professor Sarah Smits-Bandstra from University of Toronto, Canada, arrived 13 July and will be teaching in the School of Psychology, Speech and Hearing
  • Associate Professor Carolyn Baylor from University of Washington, USA, arrived 13 July and will be teaching in the School of Physical and Chemical Sciences
  • Associate Professor Chad Navis from Clemson University, USA, arrived 13 July and will be teaching in the Department of Management, Marketing & Entrepreneurship
  • Dr Paul Matthews from University of Georgia, USA, arrived 13 July and will be teaching in the Department of Educational Studies and Leadership
  • Dr Scott Morrison from Oxford Brookes University, UK, arrived 15 July and will be teaching in the Department of Accounting and Information Systems
  • Dr Krista Malott from Villanova University, USA, arrived 15 July and will be teaching in the Department of Health Sciences
  • Professor Keith Martin from Royal Holloway University of London, arrived 15 July and will be teaching in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering
  • Dr Katharine McKinnon from La Trobe University, Australia, arrived 20 July and will be teaching in the Department of Geography

Welcome to all our visitors and their families. We hope you enjoy your time here at UC!

ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE

Associate Professor Christopher Johnson has joined us from the University of Wisconsin in the USA.

Christopher and his family enjoying Aotearoa New Zealand

Where you have come from and what do you teach?
I am on the faculty of computer science at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. I regularly teach courses on programming languages, game development, and web design. At UC, I am teaching a 400-level course on mobile app development. In this course we write software that integrates into daily life. Our apps sense the physical world through various sensors, manage our media, and keep us connected to friends.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/Why did you want to come to UC?
My wife and I have four sons. The oldest is 10 and the youngest is 3. Before they became too entrenched in life back home, we wanted them to see how much larger the world is. A retired colleague of mine is a former Erskine Fellow, and I regularly read the blogs he kept during his several visits. Because of him, applying to be an Erskine Fellow seemed like a natural thing to do.

What have you been doing at UC?
Like many folks on sabbatical, I have been amazed at how I can make even a single course occupy my time and attention. I suppose this is what happens when you enjoy your field. I have also been able to devote some time to several projects designed to facilitate “computational making.” These projects embed computer science concepts in the context of constructing 3D models or 2D sketches that can be submitted to 3D printers and laser cutters. My hope is use these tools to empower users of makerspaces to fabricate their own objects while learning about math and computer science.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
My department has been a very welcoming community. Every day my colleagues congregate in the tea room and share the stuff of life. A small group meets daily at lunch to complete a cryptic crossword. They have taken me under their wing, helping me put R before E and S instead of Z. My family and I have gotten out on the trails as much as possible to soak up the beauty. During term break we made it down to Milford Sounds. On a trip to Hinewai Reserve in Akaroa, we learned that our two youngest sons get carsick. Each Saturday my oldest son and I run Parkrun in North Hagley Park and come home by way of the Riccarton Bush market. We will miss this community.

 

ERSKINE PROGRAMME VISITOR PROFILE – PROFESSOR DAVID SMITH

Professor David Smith has joined us from Smith College in the USA.

Where have you come from, and what do you teach?
I grew up in Virginia, received my undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Virginia, a masters in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina, and my PhD in Zoology at the University of Maryland.  

I have been teaching at Smith College, a liberal arts women’s college in western Massachusetts, since 2001.  Prior to that I taught at Northeastern University and before that, conducted postdoctoral research at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Maryland, Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program, and Bamfield Marine Station on Vancouver Island, Canada.

At Smith, I teach one of the introductory courses (Biodiversity, Ecology and Conservation) for the Biological Sciences major, a 200-level lecture and lab in Invertebrate Diversity, and an upper-level seminar in conservation biology.  I am also a member of Smith’s Environmental Science and Policy Program and regularly teach the senior capstone seminar, entitled Sustainable Solutions.

What interested you in the Erskine Programme/why did you want to come to UC?
My contact with UC and the Erskine Programme arose from my sending many Smith students to the Frontiers Abroad Program at UC and meeting its director, Max Borella.   

Frontiers Abroad’s relatively new Earth Systems program has been a good fit for our Environmental Science and Policy majors and ecology-minded Biology majors.  New Zealand combines a unique flora and fauna with a complex history of land use and conservation efforts by Maori and Pakeha; this combination provides a great learning experience for Smith students and a new lens through which to view social-ecological interactions. 

My research focuses on marine bioinvasions, so I was broadly interested in seeing how New Zealand has dealt with the problem of non-indigenous species along its coastline and on its lands.

I was also attracted to UC because of its new and growing Environmental Science major.  I was director of Smith’s Environmental Science and Policy Program for 11 years and helped to design and launch its major.  We are currently conducting our first program review, and I was interested to see how UC’s environmental program was organized and taught.  I also hoped to exchange ideas with UC faculty and meet UC Environmental Science students.

What have you been doing at UC?
My wife, Dr. Denise Lello, and I arrived in New Zealand in late January.  She is a terrestrial botanist and I am a marine ecologist.   We hit the ground running by joining the Frontier Abroad students and their professor Sharyn Goldstein in Kaikoura two days after our arrival.  

We spent the next 10 days in Kaikoura familiarizing ourselves with the coastal flora and fauna and engaging with the students.  We each gave a lecture on our research and led field modules with subsets of students.   Denise led her group to Puhi Peak to examine plant communities and conservation efforts on a large tract of privately-owned land.   I had students test for spatial variation in snail shell form at intertidal sites uplifted by the 2016 earthquake.   We have each been supervising a student project this semester that stemmed from our field projects.  We also gave seminars in ENVR356 Field-focused Research Methods.  Denise talked about climate change and the importance of understanding phenology (seasonal change) in forests, and I spoke about the role of phenotypic plasticity (environmentally induced changes) in marine bioinvasions.

I also gave lectures in the new course ENVR301 Environmental Science: Cities and Coasts.   This class was offered to the first graduating class of Environmental Science majors at UC.   My topics included estuaries and harbors, space allocation along coastlines, and changing biological diversity.   In preparing for these lectures, I learned a great deal about New Zealand’s coastal habitats, the challenges they face (e.g., climate change, coastal development, invasive species) and management approaches to meet these challenges.  I also sought to introduce the students to system-thinking and resilience-thinking approaches to tackling environmental problems. 

When not on campus, Denise and I have relished exploring Christchurch and South and North Islands.  We managed to complete four of the Great Walks.

What have you most enjoyed about your time here at UC/Christchurch?
I very much enjoyed teaching the ENVR students; they readily shared their personal knowledge about environmental issues in New Zealand and I learned a great deal from them. My travels around New Zealand have also been incredibly rewarding.   Experiencing the landscape and the biota firsthand and learning about New Zealand’s geological, evolutionary, and cultural history have been exhilarating. 

Denise and I met many friendly people at UC and in our travels. For example, Bryce Williamson was generous in sharing his knowledge of tramping, and we met a park ranger on the Kepler Track who gave us a wonderful background to the Save Manapouri campaign of the late 1960s/early 1970s.  

Although no joy was involved, I was deeply moved by the responses of the University, Christchurch community and nation to the mosque shootings.  The prime minister showed tremendous compassion and great leadership in the aftermath.  The overarching message of inclusivity and understanding was inspirational.

I am grateful to the Erskine Programme and to those in Geological Sciences, Frontiers Abroad, and Environmental Science who helped me secure this wonderful fellowship.

ERSKINE PROGRAMME ARRIVALS FOR APRIL

The Erskine Programme would like to welcome the following Visiting Erskine Fellows to the University:

  • Professor Hezy Ram from Ram Energy Inc, Israel, arrived 25 April and will be teaching in the Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Professor Duncan James from Fordham University, USA, arrived 26 April and will be teaching in the Department of Economics and Finance
  • Associate Professor Karen Green from the University of Melbourne, Australia, arrived 27 April and will be teaching in the Department of Psychology
  • Associate Professor Vinaya Channapatna Manchaiah from Lamar University, USA, arrived 28 April and will be teaching in the Department of Communication Disorders
  • Associate Professor Harry Nelson from the University of British Columbia, Canada, arrived 28 April and will be teaching in the School of Forestry

We wish all our visitors and their families the very best for their stay.