Category Archives: Organisational Development

Gender Grant opportunities – Association of Commonwealth Universities

Applications are now open for ACU Gender Grants 2021. 

Grants of up to GBP 1,000 each are available for staff at ACU member universities to support initiatives that will boost gender equity and equality on campus.

To date, the grants have funded a wide range of impactful projects including a network to support the career development of emerging female academics, and a mobile app to combat sexual and gender-based violence on campus.

Now entering its fifth year, the ACU Gender Grants help members to meet the costs of a diverse range of initiatives, workshops, and events in areas such as:

  • Supporting women in leadership
  • Raising awareness of sexual harassment and developing anti-sexual harassment initiatives
  • Supporting women in science and research
  • Creating effective institutional policies
  • Mainstreaming gender equity into the curriculum

How to apply

Please visit our website and complete the online application form. 

The deadline for applications is Monday 4 October 2021 at 16:00 UTC.

We look forward to receiving your application.

Best wishes, Kudzai Muronzi, ACU Gender Programme.


UC is a member of the ACU. Information about their latest news, opportunities (including grants and funding) and events are available on their website.

During this challenging time, in which the world is navigating a global pandemic, we need to revisit some of our human values and build strong relationships and safety nets in the family, community and society.

Human values like respect, trust, support, love and peace in our homes, places of work, schools and community are very critical. We all want to live in a society that is safe and where the rights of everyone – irrespective of gender, race, religion, age and marital status – are protected. However, the continuing rise in sexual harassment and bullying on university campuses across the world has highlighted the need for a more proactive approach to intervene and educate staff, students and society.

In 2019, the University of the South Pacific (USP) received an ACU Gender Grant to fund a new learning initiative aimed at promoting gender equality, increasing awareness of sexual harassment, and creating a safer, more equitable university environment. This is the first time in USP’s history that we are actively engaging with students and staff of national and regional campuses to create awareness and have positive conversations on the topic under the direction of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Committee….  see the rest on the website

You can also read 

  • ACU Gender Grants 2021 – applications are now open
  • ACU Ambassador Summit: Creating and assessing research impact
  • Register for ‘The path to research leadership in Africa and India’
  • ACU grants calendar 2021-2022 

And more.

Noho ora mai

Karen Mather  (she/her)

Pūmanawa Tangata | People and Culture

Keep learning with UC’s LinkedIn Learning

Want to keep learning during Lockdown?  Have you discovered UC’s LinkedIn Learning account yet? 

LinkedIn Learning features a digital library of over 6,000 courses covering a wide range of interpersonal, leadership, online teaching and software topics, as well as wellbeing, personal interest and creative courses.

Sign in via the link on the UC website (accessing directly via google won’t let you access for free) Once you’re in, browse around! Take a course, learn  something new and apply it in your day-to-day! Then share your learnings and recommended courses with your colleagues.

*Access is granted to those in continuing and long term fixed term.

If you find a course that you think would benefit a wider UC audience, we’d love to hear about it. Please email learning and development with course information. 

Latest from the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU)

UC is a member of the ACU. Information about their latest news, opportunities (including grants and funding) and events are available on their website.

Each month, an individual at a different ACU member institution is invited to write the introduction for this newsletter, providing an opportunity to highlight different perspectives. This month, Chetna Duggal from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India writes for us about the pandemic and mental health.

The psychosocial reverberations of the COVID-19 pandemic have put immense pressure on an already overburdened mental health care system in India. To support individuals and families in crisis, therapists and counsellors switched to remote methods of reaching out to clients and started volunteering through COVID-dedicated helplines. Being on the frontlines and providing psychosocial first aid to those in crisis over extended hours in a new format, while themselves fearing the risk of COVID-19 for our own family members, left many practitioners feeling exhausted, burnt-out and emotionally vulnerable…. (see the website for the rest of the article)

Opportunities for members

  • COP26 opportunities bulletin
  • Join the Commonwealth Peace and Reconciliation Network Steering Committee
  • ACU grants calendar 2021-2022 now available 
  • Catch up on series two of The Internationalist podcast


  • Facebook Live: A student perspective on urban disasters, vulnerability, risk and resilience
  • Submission of abstracts: NMIMS-ACU International Conference on STEM Education-2021
  • Register for ‘Conversations about the new normal’ virtual event

And more.

Noho ora mai

Karen Mather  (she/her)

Pūmanawa Tangata | People and Culture

Nuggets of wellbeing wisdom – introduction from the Mentemia launch – blog 1#

We launched Mentemia last month with an online webinar by Mentemia’s psychologist Dr Fiona Crichton. You were invited, but you may have been to busy to  join, which is exactly why you need to make the most of Mentemia’s wellbeing resources!

Just for you, I’ll summarise the Mentemia launch and each of the six pillars of wellbeing in a series of blogs to help you access wellbeing as simply and quickly as possible.

Or you can watch the webinar (45mins) here: University of Canterbury – Mentemia Staff Launch (

What is Mentemia?
• A workplace wellbeing platform/phone-based app
• Evidence-based, effective resources in bite-sized activities that everyone can add into their day
• Proactive tools based on the ‘six pillars of wellbeing’ to help you not just cope with stress, but thrive.

With a background in science and academia, Dr Crichton understands the unique university environment and the pressures on staff.

“You can’t look after others unless you are looking after yourself,” she reminded us.

She recommended that we integrate good habits and actions into our daily routines; not wait until we feel sad, stressed or overwhelmed. Just do one small thing from each pillar every day. It only takes a minute – literally.

Here’s a handy acronym:
Look after you – prioritise your own wellbeing
Experiment – find out what works for you
Adapt – change it up when needed
Develop habits – build small actions into your day

Dr Crichton recapped the physiology of stress, starting with the brain. As many of you will well know, but it’s worth remembering, the amygdala keeps us safe, and constantly scans the environment for danger. However, it has no context so it can’t differentiate between a thought, a memory or a new thing in the environment – they can all be perceived as threats.

The amygdala tells the hypothalamus to send out stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, and we all know how that goes – muscles tense for flight, fight or freeze, digestion shuts down, immunity is compromised, etc. All this happens before the pre-frontal cortex (PFC) has a chance to assess the situation and tell the amygdala to stand down.

Good stress/bad stress – some stress enhances performance; chronic stress impairs health and happiness.

What to do?

Dr Crichton says we want to encourage good connections between the PFC and the amygdala. We can train our body to relax following flight or fight, we can soothe an overactive amygdala and we adopt habits that help us stay calm in the first place – techniques that are all covered in the six pillars of wellbeing on the app.

In the next blog, I’ll look at Pillar 1 – Chill. For now, you can check out some ideas for a DOSE of feel good brain chemicals below.

Got something to add? Comments are welcome!

Download Mentemia now

Mentemia is also available to UC students – you might like to point your students towards the 6 Pillar videos on Vimeo.

Stay well,

Breeze from the Communications team.