Tag Archives: postgraduate

Professorial Lecture Series – 8 March

Celebrating Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series

Staff and postgraduate students are invited to join me in celebrating the substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Rien Visser and Professor Michael Tarren-Sweeney in the first Professorial Lecture Series for 2018.

Date:               Thursday, 8 March 2018, from 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
Location:        F3 Forestry Lecture Theatre

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend these lectures, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.


“The rise of the autonomous machinery; are robots taking over timber harvesting?” – Presented by Professor Rien Visser, School of Forestry

Ever wondered what goes on when our plantation forests are being cut down? It is no longer brute force and grunty chainsaws. A small high-tech revolution is taking place. Without a doubt, forestry plays an important role both in our landscape as well as society. It provides employment for approximately 15,000 mainly rural New Zealanders, protects the environment, and is our third largest export earner. The last decade has seen some great New Zealand-based innovations in harvesting machines and systems. This means we are not just selling logs, but also high-tech equipment and expertise. However, while operating a million dollar high-tech machine in beautiful scenic settings miles away from the big city can be considered a great job, the geographical remoteness of many forests means contractors are struggling to attract or retain suitable employees.

Meanwhile, international competition for forest products requires ever improving efficiency and robotic machinery is a realistic near-future option. They are being developed right now. This presentation provides a visual overview of developments, showcases our UC contribution, but also encourages a robust discussion on the social ramifications of robots ‘taking over the hills’. Do we embrace it, or do we resist?

Unnatural childhoods – growing up in impermanent, statutory care” – Presented by Professor Michael Tarren-Sweeney, School of Health Sciences

Children typically enter statutory care with compromised psychological development, as a result of chronic and severe maltreatment through their early years. In particular, many children enter care with impaired attachment systems, manifesting to others as relational difficulties – that is further compromised by developmental trauma.

This child population is thus uniquely primed for ‘felt insecurity’. Their developmental recovery hinges on them acquiring and maintaining felt security through the experience of unconditional love and care.  And yet, statutory care systems evolved over the past century with another purpose in mind – to provide time-limited care and protection to children, with restoration to their parents being the final goal.

Despite this, increasing numbers of children throughout the developed world effectively grow up in legally impermanent alternative care. Therein lies a dilemma. In this lecture, I describe extraordinary developmental risks faced by children growing up in statutory care, involving complex interaction of child welfare practices, caregiver motivation, the child’s experience of impermanence, and children’s and caregivers’ felt security.

I conclude that the state can only meet its duty of care to these children if it addresses their need for relational permanence.


Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor | Tumu Tuarua

Spring Gradfest 30 Oct – 3 November

Spring Gradfest starts next week with a variety of sessions to help you along the thesis journey, as well as new social events where you can meet other postgraduates from UC.

Although your main focus at UC will be on your postgraduate work, something valuable I learned at a previous Gradfest is that it is still important to make time to socialise. Thesis study can be an isolating experience, and it’s important to make friends to survive and thrive. Knowing that social time is acceptable keeps you from feeling guilty about it, and you’ll find that learning to manage your schedule is a vital part of the journey.

Gradfest has a variety of sessions to help you with your thesis work, including ones on writing, presentations, and technology. But this time it also has new social events like a Welcome social in the Shilling Club and a BBQ lunch. These are great opportunities to meet fellow postgraduates from other departments, so be sure to make space in your schedule for them.

 Click here to find out which sessions you might be interested in>

-Kara, international PhD student at UC

The 2017 Waterways Postgraduate Student Conference

Interested in freshwater? The 2017 Waterways Postgraduate Student Conference will be held Tuesday, November 14, 9 – 5 pm in the Stewart Building at Lincoln University, Canterbury.

Attendance is free, and includes morning and afternoon tea, lunch and drinks and nibbles following the presentations. Registration is now open and can be done here.

Postgraduate students from the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University showcase their freshwater related research at the conference, which is organised by Master and Doctoral students affiliated with the Waterways Centre for Freshwater Management. Topics range from groundwater/surface water interactions, monitoring techniques, water policy, engineering, to social perspectives on freshwater.

A draft programme is available here.

Celebrating Fresh Thinking: Professorial Lecture Series 2 November

Celebrating Fresh Thinking:
Professorial Lecture Series

Join me in celebrating the very substantive contribution to academia made by Professor Kate van Heugten and Professor Philippa Martin in the final Professorial Lecture Series for this year.

 Date:                 Thursday, 2 November 2017, 4.30 – 6.00 p.m.
Location:          Engineering Lecture Theatre, E14 

I encourage all staff and postgraduate students to attend these lectures, to actively support our new Professors, and take the opportunity to appreciate the fantastic research being undertaken in parts of the university we may be less familiar with.


“Why are you taking it so personally? The social construction of workplace bullying and the practice of parrhesia.” – presented by Professor Kate van Heugten

Workplace bullying has most frequently been framed as an interpersonal problem and interventions largely deal with bullying on a case by case basis. More recently, however, social scientists have begun to call attention to the ways in which definitional discourses limit perspectives on bullying, and constrain attention away from the organisational and macro socio-political context in which bullying takes place.

This talk considers research and theorising about depersonalised bullying in the neoliberal workplace context, dialectical power relations, and some of the resistance oriented practices in which workers engage. The emphasis of this talk is not on finding solutions to bullying but rather on the value of academics asking uncomfortable questions and practising parrhesia: speaking “truth” to power (Foucault, 1983).

“Communicating through a thousand paper cuts: the bleeding edge of engineering” – presented by Professor Philippa Martin

Abstract: We are on the cusp of 5th generation communication systems which will have a massive impact on society, due to remote sensing, distributed control, machine to machine communications and data gathering on a never seen before scale. In this context what is privacy? How will our data be used? How will this impact women? What will be the impact if women are under-represented in designing and harnessing this new technology?

Women are still vastly outnumbered in engineering. Over the past four years the percentage of women in engineering intermediate has grown by over 1% a year, to reach 18.4%. This comes after a long period of pretty static numbers. In Electrical and Computer Engineering we have oscillated around 10% women for over 20 years. In this seminar, we will look at how far we’ve come in terms of gender equity in engineering and how far we still have to go. Finally, we will look at concrete actions we can take to create an inclusive, diverse and dynamic college of engineering. We will discuss ways to empower people to stand up and make a difference.

 Professor Ian Wright
Deputy Vice-Chancellor |Tumu Tuarua

Enrol now for the new Master in Writing degree


In 2018 UC is introducing an exciting new postgraduate degree – the Master of Writing (MWRIT). This qualification can be completed in a single calendar year, over 18 months, or as a flexible part-time study option, over a few years.

The best thing about the MWRIT is that it teaches the skills common to all good writing, in an in-depth and advanced way, while at the same time allowing students to specialise in the particular kinds of writing they’re most passionate about. The core paper concentrates on the fundamental skills of good writing and explores how these operate differently in different genres. Students can then choose to specialise in creative, professional, or scholarly writing, or a combination of all three. An extended writing project, supervised by an expert member of staff, allows each student to round off their degree by completing a long piece of writing in a style, and on a topic of their choice.

In this way, the degree caters for those who want to develop their creative writing skills, while at the same time qualifying them for employment as writers – what better way to pay the bills while still pursuing their creative aspirations? It also caters for those whose main aim is to follow a career in the growing field of professional and technical writing – whether in the commercial, community, government or digital sectors – while also enhancing their appreciation and mastery of the creative dimensions of all writing.

To find out more about this new course please contact Philip Armstrong: Philip.armstrong@canterbury.ac.nz