Improvements in faculties

Notable improvements within each faculty.

Faculty of Arts

BA and PG Renewal

During 2017 the Faculty of Arts has continued progress on its Bachelor of Arts Renewal Project for implementation in 2018 and has begun work on a related Postgraduate Renewal Project. Specific aspects of the projects are:

  • Introduction of a compulsory double major in the BA, intended to help students complete a stronger degree by allowing them to focus in depth on two subject areas. Ongoing work will reduce overlap between courses, and simplify pathways through the degree. Students who begin in 2018 must enrol in a double major; students who began earlier may continue under the previous regulations but may switch to the new structure.
  • Completion of a Graduate Profile for the Bachelor of Arts, which will assist students in articulating the benefits of their studies as they move through the degree, and will serve as a template for embedding expected learning outcomes and employability features into courses.
  • Development of 45 point (3 course) modules – optional components of the BA with a focus on specific skills and employability, which will appear on student transcripts – in areas such as analytical and practical capabilities (eg: critical thinking; quantitative research methods), language acquisition, and cultural awareness.
  • Beginning of work to revise and rationalize postgraduate programmes, including the creation of attractive 180 point ‘professional’ named Masters’ programmes to sit alongside the 240 point ‘research’ (BA Honours plus MA) pathway.

Arts Scholars Programme

Arts Scholars is a new 3 course ‘module’ with one course taken each year throughout the degree, beginning in 2018. We aim to attract creative and academically adventurous students, drawn from a wide variety of backgrounds, who will bring enthusiasm and curiosity to shaping their own programme and developing a wide acquaintance across Arts disciplines. In time they will provide student leadership and peer mentoring for Arts disciplines and for the Faculty student body as a whole. See Arts Scholars for more information.  

Bachelor of Global Studies

From 2018 Arts will be the host Faculty for an exciting new cross-Faculty degree. The Bachelor of Global Studies will help to shape informed citizens who can make a difference in our increasingly globalized society. Students will be exposed to new ways of thinking about the world, will engage with current global issues, gain competency in another language and deepen their understanding of other cultures and perspectives. See Bachelor of Global Studies for more information. 

New Student Spaces

We are very pleased with the completion of our new student spaces on levels 3 and 4 of the Social Sciences Building (formerly Human Sciences, 201E) which opened in mid-2017. For many years Arts lacked a central hub for students, equivalent to those in other faculties. There is now ample room for individual and group study in a friendly, welcoming environment connected closely to the Arts Students’ Centre, the relocated Arts Assignment Centre and support programmes (eg: First Year Experience, Tuakana). Kitchen facilities are available on level 3. We expect these developments will have significant benefits for student academic as well as social experience within the Faculty. Several study groups have been meeting there regularly and we encourage students and academic mentors to make productive useof the new Arts ‘home’.

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 and Social Work

Standardisation of Canvas Syllabus Pages

Since the introduction of Canvas, there has been a sustained initiative in the faculty to ensure ease of navigation for all students. The syllabus page (where important course information is contained) has been standardised across the faculty.

TLQC Assessment Initiative 

The 2015 Learning and Teaching Survey results for the faculty suggested that improvements needed to be made in the area of assessment. Throughout 2015 and 2016, the Teaching and Learning Quality Committee school representatives reported to the committee all teaching and learning initiatives in the area of assessment so that sharing of best practice could happen. The focus was particularly on group work and ways to ensure fairness for all student participants, alongside the need to strengthen the pedagogical importance of collaboration and peer learning. This resulted in an overall improvement in student perception of the effectiveness of group work in the 2016 survey.  

Blended Learning and Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning 

The implementation of blended learning pedagogies has been a focus at the EDSW. This initiative has been spearheaded by the Digital Learning Team who have provided professional development to all teaching staff in the areas of student engagement and course design. More postgraduate courses have incorporated blended learning pedagogies to ensure greater potential geographical coverage to groups of students who are working fulltime. Students expressed a strong desire for online assessments and now most EDSW courses offer online submission of course work. 

Creative Solutions to Student Survey Responses 

A concerted effort has been maintained to ensure student voices are heard by all EDSW staff. In 2016 a faculty staff meeting was devoted to exploring these responses where issues and challenges were discussed and explored through dramatic and visual mediums. Initiatives were organised to sustain positive areas identified by students such as the transition from high school to the EDSW, and to work on areas such as Canvas consistency and group work.

Faculty of Engineering

Standardisation of Canvas Courses Across the Faculty

The course outline/syllabus page for most engineering courses will be available online on the faculty web page. A standard syllabus page format will be used to ensure consistency across all faculty courses. The new syllabus page design will allow the students to see the mapping between the learning outcomes, assessments, and IPENZ graduate attributes. Making the syllabus page publically visible and up-to-date will have the following benefits:

  • Students will be more informed when choosing electives or planning their degree.
  • Inbound international exchange students will be able to find equivalent courses to enrol in more easily and without having the need to contact the faculty advisors.
  • Outbound exchange students will know exactly what type of courses to look for when planning their exchange at overseas universities.

Ready for First Year Quiz and Resources

In 2011 the Faculty of Engineering introduced a ‘Ready for First Year Quiz’ (RFYQ). This RFYQ was attempted by the First Year Engineering (FYE) students following their acceptance of their admission offer and prior to Orientation week. The RFYQ has proved to be a vehicle for raising students’ awareness of their individual areas of weakness and/or lack of knowledge, as well as providing explicit references to which courses will assume or require this knowledge, and providing resources for review as relevant. Since the introduction of RFYQ, first year student numbers have increased significantly and we are now reviewing the content of the RFYQ (including both Quiz questions and supporting resources) to ensure it continues to meet students’ needs, especially with regard to cohorts of special interest.

Teaching and Learning Showcase

In response to student comments around the challenges that come with large class sizes, the Faculty has established the Teaching and Learning Showcase, an event designed to explore and disseminate ideas to teaching staff about how to effectively use technologies and strategies to enrich student learning in such environments, and add value beyond that which is offered from lecture recordings alone. 

MDLS and Active Learning in Class

In 2019 the Faculty of Engineering will move into a new building, which contains a number of Multi-Disciplinary Learning Spaces (MDLS). We are raising awareness in our staff of the need for and benefits of active learning opportunities before and after we move, and also introducing students to the new format of teaching using the four new MDLS spaces already constructed.

Faculty of Law

Working Group on Teaching Delivery and Assessment

A working group on teaching delivery and assessment was convened in 2017. This provides an opportunity to look in detail at issues raised in the Learning and Teaching Survey and in other contexts, particularly in relation to forms of assessment, feedback and teaching delivery. This working group will report in late 2017/ early 2018.

Clinics

In order to offer further support student learning in Part 2 of the LLB compulsory courses, the Faculty is piloting clinics in Contract Law and Tort Law. Clinics run alongside tutorials and lectures and are voluntary – although students are encouraged to attend. They are designed to give students practice in key skills such as legal problem solving and to provide support going into assessment.

Improvements in Student Support

During 2017 the Faculty of Law has sought to improve the academic and pastoral support to students in a targeted way. A number of teaching fellows have been to provide support to Māori and Pacific students.

The Law Student Centre has employed a new Student Support and Engagement Adviser who is a specialist in offering career development support and in coordinating student well-being initiatives. In order to provide specialist support for students in LLB Part 1 the Law Student Centre now has a Student Academic and Support Adviser with a primary responsibility for that cohort.

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 Student Feedback 

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

Innovative Teaching

Physics has transformed their calculus-based, Advancing P​hysics 1 and 2 courses into a Studio format.  Lab, "lecture" and tutorial are integrated
together in a renovated classroom with whiteboards on the walls, round tables and no obvious "front" to remove the emphasis on the instructor. Sessions are highly interactive with students working in structured teams on interesting problems and activities.  The course aims to develop transferable real-world skills like working in teams, solving problems, communicating effectively and evaluating information from external sources.

Student Support

Online appointment booking system –  Student Support Advisers have introduced an online booking system aimed specifically at the cohorts of students they assist. Students are engaging with this system and are more likely to attend an appointment they have made themselves. This has reduced the number of no-shows and resulted in less wasted time for staff.

International students – targeted welcome events, academic workshops and social activities have been arranged and particular emphasis has been put on following up to ensure international students are engaging with their peer mentor.

Students from refugee backgrounds (SRB) – staff have worked with students to establish a network for this cohort with the aim of providing support, social connection, integration, transition to university life and community education. A pilot event was held for World Refugee Day and a larger event is planned for 2018 working in conjunction with Campus Life and external refugee groups. Links with refugee communities are also being established to improve communication between communities, schools and the faculty.    

Tuākana

The Tuākana Science App was launched in Semester One to put the key information of Tuākana Science into the pockets and hands of Māori and Pacific Island Science students. The App was developed by the Faculty Research Programmer Team in conjunction with the Faculty of Science Tuākana programme. Ongoing improvements
and additional functions are being monitored and discussed in readiness for 2018.

Engagement

Orientation – Student Experience Advisers, Group Services and academic staff worked together to redesign the overall concept and delivery of orientation. This new approach was successfully trialled at the beginning of semester 2 and resultedin greater engagement with departments and student groups and was particularly valuable as a means of leveraging growing interest in the Science Students Association to address participation in the broader life of the faculty.   

Science Students Association (SCISA) - Student Experience Advisers have worked with students to establish a faculty students association and provide guidance and expertise in navigating university systems and requirements. Since its establishment at the end of 2016 SCISA has grown to a current membership of over 500.Peer Mentor programme – this programme is now firmly established and this year we were able to ensure all incoming first year students were assigned a peer mentor. This assists with transition from school to university and provides vital social and academic connections for new students. Mentors receive on-going training and attend a workshop programme.

Academic Services

Postgraduate Admission – to help improve services to postgraduate applicants staff undertook a process review and have implemented changes which have improved turnaround times for applicants.

Transfer Credit –  staff designed and developed the online transfer credit assessment tool which enables prospective transferring students to get an indication of what credit they may be eligible for prior to applying. This has provided an improved service to applicants and improved application turnaround time.