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University of Canterbury Quake Update

As we come to the end of the first weekend following the 22nd February Earthquake/Aftershock, it is timely to reflect on the past five days and let you know what’s happening in the coming week.

All of us in Christchurch have experienced a major shock, both physically and emotionally. We cannot at this stage overestimate the impact on our students and staff and need to be mindful that the effects on individuals vary according to their experience. People have suffered the loss of family and friends.

Others are experiencing the devastation of their homes and physical hardships of no power, water or sewerage. Our thoughts are with all of our community at this time.

This situation calls for balance and the exercise of careful judgement. We need to collect the right information and apply it to our decision making in a way that makes sense and is timely. It’s important to bear in mind the over-arching requirements of health and safety. We need to consider the need for the University to support and work in collaboration with the wider community. We also need to move as quickly as possible to provide a sense of certainty to our students and staff as to next steps and the planned and progressive re-start of the University. UC is committed to delivering a quality full-year academic programme of teaching in 2011, even if there are adjustments to timetables, programmes and learning delivery options
During the weekend we have been working on our three key requirements:

1. Buildings. We will ensure that before opening access to University buildings, initial checks have been completed and we are working through to full compliance sign off as quickly as possible. Nevertheless it may be weeks before some buildings can be re-occupied.

2. Teaching and research programmes. We are working on how to re-structure our teaching and research programmes and will provide some further information this week.

3. Student and Staff Support. Arrangements, including an online registration form, are in place for students and staff to have high priority personal items retrieved. NZi3 is the front door to the campus and the place for information, registration and pick up on campus. Further investigation is underway regarding counselling options. Information on these will be provided early this week. The “Big Top” facility is now open for students on the UCSA carpark from 9am to 5pm daily.

Key dates announced so far

1. 28th February. From 9am all Study Abroad students are asked to contact Student Services regarding options

EITHER Email: liaison@canterbury.ac.nz OR Visit NZi3 Creyke Rd from between 9am and 5pm, Monday – Friday and seek a Liaison Team member.

2. 28th February, 6pm We expect to communicate some options for international full fee paying students.

3. 2nd March, 6pm. We expect to be able to communicate options for Bridging students, English language students, domestic undergraduate and postgraduate students (both international and domestic) across all colleges, including the College of Education.

4. By 6th March, 6pm. We expect to provide some information on fees.
The Senior Management Team and I are firmly committed to doing the best we can to progress the necessary decisions, while balancing the needs of our students, staff and the city. We are determined to deliver a quality programme of teaching and research in 2011. This week we will share with the broader UC community in more detail how we propose to move to a progressive re-start of the university, and seek input as to how these plans can best be operationalised.

What is clear is that the progressive re-start of delivery of UC programmes which we are envisaging will be more complicated than simply announcing that the entire campus is open or closed. However, to delay the start of some programmes in order to have all commence on the same date would not be in the best interests of students or staff.

In the meantime, my thoughts are with all of you. Please check in to www.canterbury.ac.nz for further information and updates.

Rod Carr
Vice-Chancellor
University of Canterbury

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