Category Archives: UC News

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

Summary of the Workshops on Academic Structure

On the 15-16 July, all UC staff had the opportunity to attend a workshop to participate in consultation with Tumu Whakarae | Vice-Chancellor Professor Cheryl de la Rey on the outcome of the future of the academic structure, which has previously been discussed with Academic Board.

The proposed model for discussion was compromised of seven faculties (Arts, Business, Education, Engineering, Health, Law and Science), which would function as sub-committees of Academic Board. Each faculty would have a leader called an Executive Dean and would be assisted by Associate Dean roles, depending on necessity and size.

The objective of the workshop was to receive feedback to improve on the academic structure model to best enable UC’s Strategic Vision. Around 80 professional/general staff and 52 academic staff attended. They were encouraged to signal what attributes of resource allocation and leadership would be needed to ensure the success of the proposed academic structure. Attendants were also asked to identify weaknesses of the model and provide solutions as to how these could be mitigated.  

Questions and suggestions raised during the workshop have been categorised into the following themes: 

  • Distinction from the current college structure
  • Success of the model dependent on revised leadership descriptions
  • Challenges of faculties
  • Working with faculties
  • Cross-faculty roles
  • Integration of academic structure with other roles
  • Key points of successful academic structure and measurement of its success

You can read the full workshop summary, including the questions and suggestions, here

Growing Personal Resilience – Enrol Now

Learning to be resilient is a life skill. One that is becoming more important in increasing  personal wellbeing and handling pressure in times of change and uncertainty.

We are running Growing Personal Resilience for staff on Monday 30 August and Tuesday 31 August, from  12.30pm – 4.30pm each day

Enrol through UCPeople Peoplesoft to secure your place.  

This course is a staff favourite, with some people opting to repeat attendance (which we recommend every 3 years).

For more information on this and our other learning opportunities, visit the Learning and Development intranet

Join us for the next Ako Anamata: Edtalk on 10 August

Ako Anamata | Future Learning and Development is excited to invite UC staff to the next instalment of our monthly Ako Anamata: EdTalks – which this month will be given by Dr Carmen Weaver from Ako Anamata and Dr Matthew Hughes from the College of Engineering.

Date: Tuesday 10 August
Venue: University of Canterbury Club (Ilam Homestead)
Time: 4pm – 6pm

The session includes:

  • 4.00pm: Welcome and Introduction– Dr Brad Hurren, Kaiwhakawhanake Akoranga | Academic Developer (Ako Anamata | FL&D)
  • 4.05pm: An Update on the AKO|LEARN Upgrade Project – Dr Carmen Weaver, Poutoko | Team Leader (Ako Anamata | FL&D)
  • 4.20pm: DLTP Scholar Presentation – Humanitarian Engineering: Flourishing in the Anthropocene – Dr Matthew Hughes, Pūkenga Matua | Senior Lecturer (Civil & Natural Resources Engineering)
  • 4.55pm: Close, followed by networking with colleagues

AKO|LEARN upgrade project

In conjunction with representatives from across the university, Future Learning and Development will be upgrading and redesigning the Learning Management System (LMS), AKO | LEARN. The need for this work is guided by:

  • Adherence to Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Guidelines
  • Response to student feedback (need for consistency)
  • The support of te taiao ako (the learning environment)
  • A need to address accessibility concerns and possible upcoming legislation
  • A clear framework to allow for quality assurance of courses, and
  • A need for consistent data from the LMS to better support students

We look forward to sharing current progress and the continued conversation over the coming months.

DLTP Scholar Presentation – Humanitarian Engineering: Flourishing in the Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is a new geological age characterised by industrial civilisation’s rapid expansion, accelerating from the 1950s, to consume and transform ecosystems and landscapes, a development marked indelibly in Earth’s biodiversity and rock record that will persist for aeons. Despite significant improvements in human wellbeing in recent centuries, the benefits of global development have been unequal, and consequent environmental degradation threatens to undermine progress. This project contends that Humanitarian Engineering is a useful transdisciplinary approach to support human flourishing in the Anthropocene. One definition of Humanitarian Engineering is “the artful drawing on science to direct the resources of nature with active compassion directed toward meeting the basic needs of all — especially the powerless, poor, or otherwise marginalised”. This project is developing a collaborative teaching programme to support and expand the delivery of Humanitarian Engineering based on: acknowledgement of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mana whenua, harnessing established iwi relationships, and acknowledging Te Ao Māori and Mātauranga Māori in weaving new understanding; reciprocal, resilient and sustainable partnerships with Pasifika communities; essential conceptual and theoretical approaches to development; deeply considered ethical frameworks; meaningful and demonstrably beneficial community engagements; and recognition of social-cultural and geopolitical dynamics in a COVID-19 world.

This presentation will give an overview of the project, but the intention is to provoke discussion with attendees on how to approach inclusive pedagogies, how to meaningfully engage students on potentially controversial topics, and how to ensure students harness and maintain their humanitarian instincts in the face of civilisational risks.

DLTP monthly talks
Our DLTP (Distributed Leadership in Teaching Programme) Scholars have been successful in applying for the opportunity to secure both time and funding to explore their interests in teaching and learning. More information on the DLTP can be found here.

These monthly talks provide an exciting opportunity for DLTP scholars to showcase their work, as well as to give you a brief update on what’s happening in the wider teaching and learning areas at UC. The Ako Anamata: EdTalk is also time for colleagues and friends to get together and network in an informal setting. We look forward to seeing you there!

For more information contact Dr Brad Hurren.