Year in review

An overview of the year’s highlights, new directions and achievements of staff and students.

A world-class capital city university

As New Zealand’s capital city university, Victoria commands a distinctive position where it operates at the interface of town, gown and crown.

Being at the country’s political centre brings with it opportunities to connect with government and the political, legal and diplomatic communities. It also affords staff and students privileged access to cultural, scientific, corporate, community, media and non-governmental organisations and the nation’s archived heritage.

Championing the global-civic tradition

In keeping with the global-civic university tradition, Victoria staff continued to engage in mutually beneficial relationships with businesses, organisations and communities.

For example, Victoria staff undertook public lectures and media commentary and, by taking on advisory roles, academic staff offered expert views that enrich national culture and lead thinking on major societal and environmental issues.

One new civic engagement initiative in 2016 was the Spotlight Lecture Series that offered nine free lunchtime lectures on topics such as the Zika virus and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This was in addition to 13 public lectures by Victoria’s new professors in 2016. In March, Victoria’s Coastal Ecology Laboratory opened its doors to 850 visitors for its annual open day.

In July, around 100 graduates planted native trees as part of the annual Growing Graduates programme. The Adam Art Gallery held 47 public events throughout the year in addition to four free exhibitions, and Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music students performed in more than 60 public concerts.

Victoria also continued to forge international partnerships. For example, many academic staff connected with overseas experts on multinational projects such as a worldwide survey of the IT profession and major scientific drilling investigations in Antarctica.

Digital learning and teaching

The University advanced its capabilities in digital learning with growing levels of active experimentation around blended learning and flipped classrooms and new online resources.

One example of experimentation is Victoria Business School’s pilot programme KickStart, an online platform that allows new students access to short video presentations from course coordinators.

Based on a successful initiative pioneered by Australia’s Macquarie University, KickStart aims to personalise the learning process and build early engagement with new students

World-class campus

The University is investing in ongoing redevelopment of its campuses to ensure it is equipped to meet modern teaching and research needs and provide facilities that support Victoria’s goal of being a world-class university.

Rutherford House on Victoria’s Pipitea campus underwent significant development in 2016 with the addition of a six-floor annexe and library and redeveloped ground and mezzanine floors to provide modern teaching and learning spaces.

Construction continued on the new Gateway building at the Kelburn campus and is on track for completion in time for Trimester Three, 2017.

Te Aro campus underwent some reconfiguration and strengthening during the year, with a two-storey extension to provide high-quality facilities for the new ICT Graduate School.

Work also began on a new 320-bed hall of residence (Capital Hall) on Willis Street, which is scheduled to open in February 2017.

In February, the Faculty of Education relocated from the Karori campus to the University’s main Kelburn campus, allowing for better resources and more opportunities for cross-disciplinary research and external collaborations.

Victoria also agreed in principle to upgrade Kirk building, which will provide a new, permanent base for the Faculty of Education.