Improvements in faculties

Notable improvements in all faculties.

Faculty of Arts

Internship programme

In 2015-2016 the faculty is piloting a for-credit internship course which aims to enhance students' transferable skills and give them valuable workplace experience. The internship capstone course is part of a career-preparedness and experiential learning programme currently in development.

New academic programmes

To update and expand options for undergraduate students, the faculty has developed new interdisciplinary programmes in Theological and Religious Studies (to replace the BTheol) and Gender Studies (to replace Women's Studies) beginning in 2016.

The faculty introduced a Master of Public Policy programme in 2015 and a Master of Indigenous Studies programme to begin in 2016. A new specialization in Museums and Cultural Heritage will be available as part of the Master of Heritage Conservation degree from 2016.

Postgraduate programmes

The faculty will be implementing recommendations arising from a review of its postgraduate programmes, with a focus on meeting the learning needs of high-performing students, strengthening research pathways across all levels, increasing flexible opportunities for interdisciplinary study, and enhancing integration of international students.

Innovations in teaching

The faculty is supporting the use of new teaching technologies through teaching and learning forums, staff workshops led by embedded elearning specialists, and proactive engagement with the new learning management system. Our largest General Education course, PHIL 105 Critical Thinking, has been redeveloped as a MOOC (massive open online course) in 2015 and was launched as a LOC (large online course) in 2016.  

Faculty of Business and Economics

First-year experience

Systems are being developed to allow first-year experience personnel to better support student success. A particular focus has been on the University’s rollout of the Canvas learning management system.

The school’s pilot ‘Learning Leaders’ (peer mentors) programme is also being further expanded and enhanced. A key aim is to enrich the personal and professional development outcomes for the senior students who volunteer to serve in these important roles as peer mentors.

Enhancing the digital student experience

Efforts continue to monitor and share best practice with the many new electronic student support and learning management systems being recently adopted within the University, e.g. Canvas, Talis, Piazza, and more. Innovations in digital assessment are also being explored.

Supporting teaching excellence

The school has a five-year learning and teaching strategy and a team of dedicated learning designers within its Innovative Learning Team (ILT). The delivery of active and flipped learning is being actively promoted. The ILT also runs two half-yearly conferences (The Teaching Forum and Learn Do Share) at which faculty members share their teaching initiatives with other colleagues from within and outside of the faculty.

A new induction to teaching programme has been launched within the faculty. All new teaching staff have a one-to-one meeting with the ILT to establish their learning and teaching experience and development needs and new staff are also paired with an appropriate mentor.

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Work continues to widen access to courses in innovation and entrepreneurship within the INNOVENT major of the Bachelor of Commerce and elsewhere within other Business School programmes. These efforts also involve reaching out to students in other faculties, including through the introduction of a new General Education course. This is an important area of study and one which is useful to all students.

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries (CAI)

Studio and creative arts pedagogy

The faculty is conducting a project to explore options for methods of studio teaching, and how studio teaching can further improve learning outcomes for students in Music, Dance, Fine Arts and Architecture/Planning. Part of this involves an inquiry into distinctive pedagogies in each field and how students and teachers can benefit from a greater awareness of these approaches.

New academic programmes

The faculty has introduced new programmes in Dance Studies, Architecture, Planning and Music. New conjoint degrees, across the faculty and the University, and dual Masters agreements with international academies, prepare the students for the multidisciplinary nature of the workforce and for an innovative and important contribution to their communities and societies. For doctoral students, the PhD Statute now allows creative practice components to be integrated within a PhD thesis.  

Māori and Pacific Island student recruitment

The faculty has put in place a five-year strategy to recruit Māori and Pacific Island students. An Associate Dean of Māori and Pasifika has been appointed to assist.

CAI events

The faculty continues to provide a range of University and public events in each of its disciplines. These include music concerts, dance performances, workshops, international guests, exhibitions and public talks.

Faculty of Education

The first-year experience programme

From 2013 the faculty has offered a first-year experience programme aimed at supporting students through the transition into university life. The programme will include a student peer mentoring system. Strategies introduced in 2012 such as the use of targeted learning sessions and the tracking of student attendance and assignment submission will be extended in 2013.

The development of teaching spaces to encourage student engagement and interaction

Five medium size interactive teaching spaces (60-90 seats) are ready for use in Semester 1 2013. These spaces have been developed to maximise student interaction and engagement with lecturing staff, peers and course content. CEDD, the Faculty's Centre for Educational Design and Development, will support lecturing staff in the use of the technologies installed in these spaces.

The use of a faculty-wide template to complete course outlines

To improve the quality of course information for students a faculty-wide, electronic template has been developed ensuring that all required information is conveyed to students in a standard format and in a timely manner.

Faculty of Engineering

Training of teaching assistants (TAs)

All graduate teaching assistants in the faculty now participate in a formalised training programme. The full-day training ensures that TAs teaching in labs and tutorials are best able to offer the necessary learning support to undergraduates.

Personal Tutors Pilot for Part 2 students

The Part 2 year is the first year of specialisation in the BE degree, and students are at risk of feeling anonymous within the cohort, especially as numbers continue to grow. The Personal Tutors Pilot (in the Department of Mechanical Engineering) is aimed at addressing the potential disengagement of students as a result of the large cohort size by:  

  • Assigning the cohort of 200 year 2 students to 15 academic staff to be their Personal Tutor.  
  • Running a welcome lecture on Day 1 of Semester 1 to introduce the programme as a complement to existing advisement schemes and to introduce the students to their Personal Tutors.
  • Organising Personal Tutors to meet all their students initially, then checking in at the end of each semester, as well as providing for drop-in consultation.

Curriculum mapping and rationalisation

In an effort to better align the content and goals of each of the courses contributing to a programme, the faculty has begun to map its curriculum content.  This involves a detailed look at each item of assessment in each course, organised by the concepts and skills which they teach.  These data can then be interrogated for the purposes of course planning and design to ensure that redundancies in taught material are identified, and that all key skills and knowledge base items are covered.

Concepts of Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking

This is a longer-term initiative designed to embed a systems thinking approach into the BE. Students now meet concepts of ‘Systems Thinking’ at year 1, with an increasing emphasis in years two and three, completed by a capstone project in Systems Engineering in year four.

This has required modifications to faculty-wide and department-specific courses, to introduce students to systems concepts and provide them with formal tools and methods for taking a holistic approach to solving the sorts of problems that engineers tackle post-graduation.  Students work in multidisciplinary teams to tackle large scale problems, the culmination is ‘Systems Week’ in Semester Two of year four where teams of 25 work for a solid week, with no other  lectures, on a major engineering challenge.

Faculty of Law

Staggering of assessment submission dates

An analysis of submission dates for assessments was carried out. As a result of that analysis the faculty has ensured that submission dates are better staggered within particular weeks and where possible throughout the semester.

Professional development for teaching staff

Throughout each academic year, the faculty conducts seminars for its teaching staff to enable the exchange of views and sharing of best practice. Topics in 2016 include supervision of research postgraduates and small group teaching on electives. A faculty-wide forum was held on utilising different forms of assessment. In addition, the faculty encourages peer observation of teaching and reflective assessment of teaching practices.

Teaching development and development of skill-based content

The faculty has set up a working group on Practical Legal Education. Its remit is to consider how we deliver skill-based content, for example, through clinical legal education and community placement. The faculty is also setting up a working group on teaching delivery in order to investigate ways in which we might deliver teaching in a more innovative fashion.

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Mapping curricula to the graduate profile

We are making changes to course content and assessment in both the Bachelor of Health Sciences and Bachelor of Pharmacy programmes to ensure that all aspects of the University’s Graduate Profile including specialist knowledge, professional skills and Hauora Māori are addressed.

More responsiveness to the student feedback obtained through the Summative Evaluation Tool (SET)

The faculty is actively identifying courses whose SET evaluations for course satisfaction are below 80% and auditing the survey information to identify the underlying drivers to respond to students concerns.

Canvas best practice

The faculty is working toward a Canvas showcase later this year in order to highlight key innovations within the faculty and ensure the new affordances Canvas has provided are accessible to staff and used to enable more effective online teaching and learning.

Faculty of Science

Academic advice

The faculty has re-established the network of Academic Advisors in each department and developed a process for referral of students from the Student Centre to the department for specific course advice. A system for electronic storage and transfer of records for all those involved has been implemented and a list of the advisors is on the Student Centre website. This has ensured that knowledgeable people are giving the subject specific advice, and that it is consistent with regulations and previous achievement.


In 2015 Learning and Teaching Survey comments, students were critical about the extent to which some tests and examinations seemed to be memory tests rather than about applying or integrating knowledge.

The distinction between formative tests designed to help learning (self-administered tests often with an incentive mark) and final examinations needs to be made clearer for students, and also the extent to which Science scaffolds on new concepts which are best mastered as a base for the next phase of learning.

Staff were reminded of the difference between formative and summative assessment, and preference for testing application and integration as appropriate for the level of the course, and were referred to CleaR for assistance if needed.


Perceived overlap and duplication in the curriculum was noted by a number of students.All departments are mapping curriculum and five departments are undergoing extensive curriculum redesign with the others to follow.  This should reduce inconsistencies and enable easy reference to previous material on the same topic for revision.

General Education

Students reported confusion over how to choose the ‘best’ General Education course for their programme. This has been raised with the DVC (Academic) as a University-wide issue.