Improvements in faculties

Notable improvements within each faculty.

Faculty of Arts

Employability in the Arts

This online resource is for students in the Faculty of Arts  at The University of Auckland to help them identify and develop their employability skills and career options. It includes material such as arts jobs, practitioners, skills, ethics and careers in the arts.  Students can book into employability workshops exclusively for Arts students.  Workshops and employability website.


The Faculty is reviewing assessment practices, including groupwork practices and guidelines, as part of its implementation of the Graduate Profile in the BA and other qualifications, but also in response to the upcoming changes to the University assessment policy.

Improvements to Course Outlines and Canvas Resources

The Faculty of Arts has been working to optimize the Faculty’s use of Canvas to ensure consistent delivery and better digital engagement with students across all courses through the development of Faculty templates, guidelines and showcasing of best practice. A Faculty template is now in place which allows some consistency of approach on Canvas syllabus pages. 

Arts Scholars Programme and Bachelor of Global Studies 

Focus on success for the first cohort of the Arts Scholars and also the new Bachelor of Global Studies.  Arts Scholars is a new 3 course ‘module’ with one course taken each year throughout the degree, beginning in 2018.  The Bachelor of Global Studies is a cross-faculty degree hosted by the Faculty of Arts.  See Arts Scholars or 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. 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 encourage students and academic mentors to make productive use of the new Arts ‘home’.

Faculty of Business and Economics

Improved Course Outlines and Canvas Resources

Systems are being developed to standardise course outlines and resources on Canvas, so that students can more readily understand how courses and assessments link to degree Graduate Profiles and how their skills and employability will progressively develop throughout their degree.  

Graduate Profiles and Employability

The Business School is focussing on making learning outcomes and skills gained in each course more explicit to students, in order to provide them with increased clarity, purpose and direction.  Increased opportunities for students to apply their learning through practical and experiential opportunities are being integrated into courses.  

Improving access and support for all students

In 2018 the faculty will deliver the ‘learning hub’, an online resource for students in the Business School and will continue with targeted intervention and support for students.

Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries (CAI)

Studio Pedagogies and Quality Assessment

Moving from the previous initiative on the Studio Pedagogy Scholarship, in 2017 the Faculty continued the research on education and pedagogies, with a focus on studio activities and small-group teaching. Attention was also given to the assessment of quality and nature of the students’ feedback, enhancing the understanding of students’ learning in the contexts of Architecture, Planning, Dance, Fine Arts and Music. The outcomes are informing the design and improvement of programmes and courses, the enhancement of delivery methods and teaching/learning experience, as well as the implementation of the University Graduate Profile.

Community Engagement and Live Projects

Each School has undertaken initiatives to engage the Faculty with the wider community in the contexts of Architecture, Planning, Dance, Fine Arts and Music. The Faculty’s established and long term relationships with the community and its international partners were strengthened in 2017 to increase students’ opportunities to apply their learning through live projects and other integrative and creative/experiential experiences (community creative arts, internships, summerships, etc.). The outcomes are positively impacting on the Schools’ pedagogies and curriculum design across the Faculty, as well as on students’ future employability.  Some examples of projects are:

  • Architecture and Planning: A project with Ngati Whatua o Orakei, for buildings on their Orakei marae
  • Dance: In the Dance and Community paper students led dance interventions in a primary school, a secondary Special Needs Unit, an aged care home, and at Starship Hospital.
  • ELAM: Public events in the Easy Listening talk format in collaboration with the Auckland Art Gallery and Artspace Auckland.
  • Music: Opportunities for composition students to work with the Antipodes Percussion Project and the APO and have their works workshopped and performed in a public forum.

For more information see the CAI website. 


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, and will be further enhanced to show explicit links to the programmes' Graduate Profiles in order to clarify the relationship between assessment tasks and learning outcomes.

Assessment Initiative 

In response to the new University assessment policy, EDSW is looking at areas such as group tasks and feedback, particularly formative feedback and how teachers can incorporate this into their subsequent teaching.  The Faculty aims to strengthen the pedagogical importance of collaboration and peer learning as well as the perceived fairness of group work assesesment.

Blended Learning and Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning 

The implementation of blended learning pedagogies has been an ongoing 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. 

Faculty of Engineering

Canvas Course Template

The Faculty developed a Canvas course template that would create a consistent student experience by

  • Providing a course homepage with an assessment planner
  • Giving easy access to useful information regarding the administrative aspects of the course (i.e. Getting Started, Course Information, FAQs, and lecture recording table linked in the left navigation menu on Canvas)
  • Standardising the course syllabus page to be consistent across most courses

The new public syllabus page design also allows the students to see the mapping between the learning outcomes, assessments, and IPENZ graduate attributes. 

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 Engineering has now reviewed 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.  RFYQ has also been moved to a new platform - Qualtrics.  

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

Online Examinations

The on-line assessment pilot for examinations in Law is part of a university wide pilot. The Faculty of Law was the first to participate in semester one 2017. A decision was made to allow students to opt into the pilot. In semester one the following courses were assessed in this way: Criminal Procedure, Evidence, International Tax Law, Law and IT. In semester two the following courses were part of the pilot: Commercial Law, Evidence, Family Law, International Disputes Settlement, Law of Family Property. 144 individual exams were sat online in semester one. These represent 39% of exams on those courses. 27 individual exams will be sat online in semester two. These represent 37% of exams on those courses.  Many staff and students were positive about the process and it benefits students as they can receive feedback and marking more quickly.


In Contract Law four clinics were offered in both semesters with eight in total throughout the year. In Tort Law five clinics were offered. The clinics were designed as a small group environment. Students could ask questions and practice problem solving. Surveys were carried out on students who participated in the clinics. The response was almost universally positive. Tort Law 85% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed thought that the clinics added something different to their learning than was offered in lectures or tutorials. 87% of respondents either agreed or strongly agreed that the clinics were a useful addition to their learning in Tort Law. In Contract Law 100% of those who responded either agreed or strongly agreed that the clinics helped them to learn.

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 in response to changes to the University's assessment policy.

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

Three of our professional programmes (Medicine, Pharmacy, and Optometry) are subject to competencies as part of the accreditation process by their respective Australasian Councils. In 2018 we plan to undertake a curriculum mapping exercise to ensure these competencies are aligned with the University 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.

Pathways and planning for Overlapping Year One students

We have worked with the Science Faculty to actively assist Overlapping Year One BHSc/BSc(Biomed) students and to provide better communication around potential pathways of study, potential employment opportunities, and the importance of non-clinical and clinical roles in the health system.

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 finding the targeted assistance useful.

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 2017 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.    


The Tuākana Science App was launched in semester 1 2017 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 improvementsand additional functions will be implemented in 2018.


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 2017 and resulted in greater engagement with departments and student groups, particularly the  Science Students Association.   

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 in 2017 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.