Immerse yourself in a week of intellectual stimulation and social enjoyment designed to expand your mind

Monday 14 – Friday 18 November 2016

Following the success of our annual Winter Week on Campus the Centre for Continuing Education is excited to announce Spring Week on Campus 2016 which opens a fascinating window into some of the world-class research carried out at the University of Auckland.

Morning and afternoon sessions feature lectures by distinguished University of Auckland faculty members, chosen for both their subject expertise and their passion for teaching adult students.

You’ll join a group of enthusiastic adults who not only have a love of learning but also enjoy the opportunity to debate current issues and meet new people.

Your enrolment in Spring Week entitles you to attend all three lectures each day Monday – Friday (15 lectures in total) and includes morning tea.

Medical & Health ScienceFaculty of Science Faculty of Science Faculty of Science
Creative Arts & Industries
10 - 11amA health check-up for educational institutionsBig data in Environmental ScienceGetting to know your (cerebellar) selfShifting ParadigmsUrban Planning and Affordable Housing
11 - 11.25amMorning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*Morning tea*
Medical & Health ScienceFaculty of Science Faculty of EngineeringEducation & Social WorkEducation & Social Work
11.30am - 12.30pmOsteoporosis TreatmentThe Dynamics of CalciumThe Hidden Secrets of RiversExpecting more from our students The Perfect University Classroom
12.35 - 1.25pmLunch breakLunch break Lunch breakLunch breakLunch break
Faculty of Science Business School Faculty of ArtsCreative Arts & IndustriesMedical & Health Science
1.30 - 2.30pmGenes, Environment and NeuroplasiticityJob quality and Organisational AttractivenessPublic Art in Auckland
Design Review Down UnderYour eyes are windows to your feet

* Tea and coffee are provided for morning tea each day


Select a tab below to view the programme for that day.

  • A health check-up for educational institutions: settings based intervention trials to improve university food environments.

    10:00 – 11:00am  Rajshri Roy

    The physical environment that people are exposed to greatly influences their dietary behaviours. The current obesity-promoting environment is typified by highly accessible unhealthy food and drinks. This ‘toxic’ environment is leading to poorer health outcomes, particularly within the youngest generations. This presentation will advance knowledge in: 1) determining the drivers of food purchasing and consumption behaviours of young people; 2) the development and testing of approaches for defining food environments in university; and 3) identifying best-practice intervention strategies for improving young people’s dietary behaviour through environmental changes in university settings.

    This presentation will outline results from audit of the food environment in the university setting and the collection of detailed dietary data; the trial and evaluation of targeted interventions to support healthy food behaviours in the university setting and the translation of the food environment audit tool based on concurrent research and successful intervention strategies to university settings, comprising a large number of young adults. Development of a new understanding of the food environment and its contribution to dietary intake in the university setting and development of new strategies to create healthier food environments in the university setting. Integration of knowledge from this project will result in innovative intervention strategies to be widely translated to other educational institutions for the creation of healthy and supportive food environments in the future.

    Rajshri Roy is a Registered Dietitian who has completed Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Nutrition and Dietetics and has also recently completed her PhD research at the Charles Perkins Centre in the University of Sydney, Australia. Her research is in the area of population nutrition and community dietetics looking at food environment interventions and nutritional epidemiology in young adults. Specialising in research, public health nutrition and clinical dietetics, she is currently working as a lecturer in the University of Auckland, teaching in the Masters of Health Sciences in Nutrition and Dietetics programme and conducting research in the area of nutrition and dietetics. Rajshri is passionate about food and nutrition and its relation to holistic health.

    Osteoporosis Treatment: A Journey from Ignorance through Serendipity to Design

    11:30am – 12:30pm Distinguished Professor Ian Reid, MD

    Keeping bones strong over a lifetime is along standing challenge for medical health research and treatment. Over the last 30 years, increasing understanding of the biology of bone has led to the development of new treatments that can improve bone health. In this talk, Prof Reid will discuss the impact and treatment of bone diseases, particularly osteoporosis.

    Ian Reid MD is a Distinguished Professor in Medicine at the University of Auckland, where he is Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences. His research interests include calcium metabolism and osteoporosis, and he has received many accolades for this work, including the Rutherford Medal and the Prime Minister’s Science Prize in this country.

    Genes, environment and neuroplasticity in developmental disorders

    1:30 – 2:30pm Associate Professor Karen Waldie, BSc, MSc, PhD

    In this session Dr Karen Waldie will start by providing an introduction of what brain plasticity means, then cover the evidence for brain plasticity during development (i.e., brain development during pregnancy and early childhood). This sessions main focus will be on 2 areas of research into neuroplasticity in developmental disorders: Compensation in dyslexia and frontal lobe development in ADHD. Dr Waldie will discuss each disorder in terms of diagnosis and the latest research into genes, environment and the brain. These findings emphasize the importance of understanding the possibility of normalising the atypical brain. They also provide promising directions for the remediation of developmental disorders.

    Karen E Waldie is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland. Her research is in the area of developmental neuropsychology and focuses on the neural bases, and long-term outcomes, of neurodevelopmental disorders. She was born in Victoria, BC Canada, and received her BSc at the University of Victoria. She received her MSc and PhD (1998) at the University of Calgary and went on to become a research fellow with the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study (DMHDS). She became a member of the University of Auckland academic faculty in 2001. She is a Principal Investigator with the Centre for Brain Research, Minds for Minds, the initiative, Growing Up in New Zealand, and the Auckland Comorbidity Study. Her H-Index is 24 and her research has received 1909 citations according to Google Scholar.

  • Big data in Environmental Science: A new way to tame a ‘naughty world’?

    10:00 – 11:00am Dr Jennifer Salmond, MA, MSc, PhD

    Once upon a time it was a geographers’ job to describe and classify the spatial patterns in the landscapes around them. Using the tools of their trade (primarily words, pictures and simple case study based measurements) a geographers’ endeavour was to make sense of the world around them. Over half a century on from the so called ‘quantitative revolution’ in geography, the tools of our trade have evolved beyond recognition. Environmental monitoring is now possible at temporal and spatial scales previously unimaginable. However, reflecting on the fundamental challenges associated ever larger data sets, I argue that the conversion of “big data” into information (understanding, theory and models) and actualising that information into policy is not straight forward. Instead, new ways of analysing, interpreting and valuing data are required if the technological leap in our ability to measure the world is to be translated into something useful.

    A geographer by training, Jennifer has an MA in Geography from Oxford University, and gained her PhD in Geography from the University of British Columbia, Canada in 2001. She is currently a senior lecturer in urban meteorology in the School of Environment, University of Auckland. Her research focus extends from studying the meteorological controls on urban air pollution to quantifying human exposure and uptake of air pollutants. She collaborates with experts from a range of disciplinary backgrounds and her work encompasses the development of novel instrumentation, field measurement and modelling approaches. Jennifer has an active interest in understanding more about the ways in which her research is affected by wider social, economic, institutional and political agendas. Favouring a critical physical geography perspective, Jennifer encourages a reflective approach to research, with an emphasis on identifying and acknowledging the implicit and explicit assumptions which underpin theoretical frameworks, methodological approaches and the actualization of knowledge.

    Jennifer has published 50 papers in international journals (mostly in ERA 2010 A ranked journals and some amongst the leading journals in her area of research) and has numerous other publications and presentations linked to high profile conferences in the field of air pollution. She has approximately 1000 career citations. In both her capacity as principal and co- investigator she has been awarded over $8 million in external research funding to study air pollution from diverse sources such as the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Health Research Council, and the National Environmental Research Council (UK). Her expertise has been recognised by invitations to serve on, or act as an advisor to, local, national and international committees which seek to research and manage air quality issues both within New Zealand and abroad.

    The Dynamics of Calcium: Oscillations and Waves, Experiments and Theory

    11:30am – 12:30pm Professor James Sneyd, PhD

    Oscillations in the cytoplasmic concentration of calcium is one of the most ubiquitous cellular signalling mechanisms, being used to control a wide variety of cellular processes, including muscular contraction, fluid transport, gene expression and cell differentiation. In cells that are large enough, these oscillations can form periodic waves, or even spiral waves, of increased calcium concentration.

    Because of such complex dynamics, over the past 20 years mathematical modelling has played an important role in the study of calcium signalling. In this session Professor Sneyd will present an overview of the field, as well as a more in-depth look at a small number of particular questions. In particular, James will look at how calcium dynamics is related to asthma, as well as to such things as saliva secretion. By presenting both experimental data and theoretical approaches, I hope to show how mathematics can be used as an effective tool in the study of physiological problems.

    James Sneyd was born and bred in Dunedin where he did a BSc in Mathematics and Chemistry (and Classical Studies, as it happens, but that wasn’t part of the BSc). From there he went to New York University where he did his PhD in mathematical biology, and then went to a series of jobs in Oxford, University of California (Los Angeles), University of Canterbury, the University of Michigan, and Massey University, before finally ending up at the University of Auckland, where he is currently a professor in the Department of Mathematics.

    He specialises in the applications of mathematics to physiology, and has never proved a theorem in his life. He lives on the North Shore, but doesn’t go swimming over the winter; he claims that, since he doesn’t live in Dunedin any more, he’s not required to go swimming in cold water.

    job-quality-and-attactivenessJob quality and Organisational Attractiveness

    1:30 – 2:30pm Professor Peter Boxall, PhD, MCom, FHRINZ

    Tired of being appraised by the boss? How about turning the tables and rating the employer? This seminar will provide an introduction to theory and research on ‘the good job’, including the ways in which workers appraise organisations as settings for their work and career. It will discuss the intrinsic and extrinsic qualities of good jobs and attractive organisations. What features make some organisations a better place to work and when should you think twice before leaving an organisation? The theory and research discussed will draw from a range of social and business sciences.

    Peter Boxall (PhD Monash, FHRINZ) is Professor in Human Resource Management and Associate Dean of Research at the University of Auckland Business School. His research is concerned with strategic HRM and with worker well-being. His work is published in a variety of journals and he is the co-author with John Purcell of Strategy and Human Resource Management (Palgrave Macmillan), now in its fourth edition. He is also the co-editor with John Purcell and Patrick Wright of the Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor with Richard Freeman and Peter Haynes of What Workers Say: Employee Voice in the Anglo-American Workplace (Cornell University Press).

  • Getting to know your(cerebellar)self

    10:00 – 11:00am Professor John Montgomery, PhD

    The cerebellum makes up 10% of your brain but contains 80% of the neurons! What does the cerebellum do and why does it take so many nerve cells to do it? A key insight comes from the study of part of the shark brain that is the ancestral structure from which the cerebellum evolved. This ancestral cerebellum-like structure acts as (what engineers would call) ‘an adaptive filter’ that discriminates ‘self’ from ‘other’ in how the shark senses its world. In other words it acts like sophisticated noise cancelling headphones that supress self-generated noise to enhance biologically important signals. When the true cerebellum evolved it adopted the adaptive filter for movement control. Distinguishing ‘self’ from ‘other’ in our interactions with the physical world is a fundamental part of movement control, and the adaptive filter analogy helps explain why so many neurons are needed for the cerebellum to serve this function.

    Professor John Montgomery is a Principal Investigator in the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. Until recently he was also Director of the Leigh Marine Laboratory, and the newly established Institute for Marine Science at the University. His scientific work sits at the interface of neuroscience and marine science and he has published extensively on sensory behaviour and physiology of fish, including hearing, hydrodynamic senses, and the quite extraordinary electrosensory system of sharks and rays. The neuroscience context of his work includes the consideration of central mechanisms to distinguish signal and noise in sensory input, and the evolution of the cerebellum.

    His work has been recognised by election to the Royal Society of New Zealand, an International Brain Research Organisation Fellowship, Fulbright Scholarship, and James Cook Fellowship from the Royal Society of NZ.

    The Hidden Secrets of Rivers

    11:30am – 12:30pm Dr Heide Friedrich, Dipl.-Ing, PhD

    Historically, in New Zealand, floods are the most common natural hazards. Generally, we associate water with flood damage, the role of sediment is often neglected in understanding, mitigating and minimising flood damage. Design standards have somewhat simplified the work of a hydraulic engineer in the last century, however, the fundamentals of hydraulic engineering are governed by extreme complexity. This complexity has its origin in the complex nature of fluid flow itself, as well as the large geometric scale water systems can encompass, whilst being relevant over a range of time scales. Being aware of those complexities associated with flooding, we feel even more powerless each time communities are affected by flooding. We will discuss how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty and how risk is perceived differently by individuals and groups – herein river processes are used to showcase the complex links between engineering and society.

    Presenter Biography: Heide Friedrich leads the Water-worked Environments Research Group ( and is the head of the Hydraulic Engineering Laboratory. She obtained her civil engineering degree from TU Berlin, Germany before completing her PhD at the University of Auckland. Her main research focus is on studying the physical processes in natural aquatic environments, such as rivers, and how water interacts with and shapes its surroundings.

    Overlooked and Undervalued: Public Art in Auckland

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Robin Lee Woodward

    Public art enjoyed a modern revival in the 1950s and ‘60s. In the wake of the devastation of World War II, outdoor art became a feature of extensive rebuilding programmes throughout Britain and Europe. In the USA, on the back of post-war affluence, public art emerged as an integral part of new civic development. Replete with skyscrapers and concrete plazas, modern city centres could look barren; developers and city planners turned to sculpture to enhance the urban environment.

    New Zealand was not far behind. Sculpture has always been a strong sector in the arts in our country – and Auckland has traditionally led the way. Although usurped in recent decades by Wellington, Auckland maintains a robust programme of art in the public arena. It is a programme that includes large-scale object art while also embracing a range of forms that showcase contemporary art practice.

    Dr Robin Woodward is a Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Auckland. She is a specialist in New Zealand art, with particular expertise in contemporary sculpture and public art. In addition to her teaching and academic research, Robin works in an advisory role to arts trusts and civic bodies as well as undertaking curatorial and editorial work. Her approach addresses the artistic and historical context of the work of individual artists and the visual analysis of specific artworks and sites. She has written monographs and thematic texts on aspects of modern and contemporary sculpture and painting

  • Shifting Paradigms: Organometallic Chemistry and Anticancer Drug Development

    10:00 – 11:00am Dr Christian Hartinger, Habilitation in Inorganic Chemistry, Mag. rer, nat.

    Most of the drugs used to treat diseases are organic molecules. However, inorganic compounds have found widespread application especially in the treatment of cancer and diagnosis where they are irreplaceable because of their special properties. More recently, organometallic compounds have entered the field of drug development. This may appear counterintuitive as organometallic compounds are often described as not compatible with aqueous environment and toxic. Careful choice of the ligands coordinated to the metal centres allows overcoming these issues and has resulted in bioorganometallic chemistry to become a thriving field of research, in particular in the development of anticancer drugs. This lecture will introduce the audience to drug design concepts employed in my research group that are aimed to develop more effective and tumour-selective anticancer drugs.

    Christian Hartinger studied chemistry at the University of Vienna and received his PhD there in 2001 under B. K. Keppler. He was an Erwin Schrödinger Fellow with P. J. Dyson at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) from 2006 to 2008, did his habilitation at the University of Vienna in 2009 and accepted an Associate Professorship at the University of Auckland in 2011 where he was promoted professor in 2015. His research focuses on the development of metal-based anticancer agents and of analytical methods to characterize their behavior in presence of biomolecules. His work earned him several awards including the prestigious 2011 Carl Duisberg Memorial Prize and the 2016 Society of Biological Inorganic Chemistry Early Career Award.

    Expecting more from our students: How high expectations can raise achievement

    11:30am – 12:30pm Professor Christine Rubie-Davies, PhD, MEd (Hons), BA, DipTchg

    When we expect to succeed, we are more likely to be successful; when we expect to fail, that is the likely result. How does this idea apply to students in classrooms? Teacher expectations of students have been researched for almost 50 years and found to affect student learning. More specifically, in some classes, with some teachers, expectations have powerful effects on student outcomes. When teachers believe students are likely to make significant progress in their classes, they provide all students with challenging learning opportunities, they believe in their students, they believe in their own capabilities to make a difference to student learning, and they put structures in place that enhance student learning. This presentation will show how teachers who have high expectations for all their students directly and indirectly positively affect student achievement and self-belief outcomes through the practices they initiate in the classroom and they ways they support students.

    Christine Rubie-Davies is a Professor in the Faculty of Education and Social Work. A primary school teacher for a number of years, she is now a world leader in the area of teacher expectations. Her studies focused on teacher expectations at the whole class level have changed the international direction of research in the field. Christine has an extensive network of international colleagues in the US, the UK, Israel, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal. Christine is a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Studies (US), has published in many high-level outlets and has won several national and international awards for teaching, research, and service.

    Design Review Down Under: Principles and practices in Auckland, Queenstown and Perth

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Lee Beattie, BPlan, BSc, Dip EnvMgt, MSc (Lond), PhD, MNZPI MRSNZ

    A decade ago, Ali Madanipour pointed to what he then saw as a resurgent interest in urban design, ‘evident in an increasing presence in professional journals, government websites, academic debates and popular media’. This response in part reflected aspirations for cities to achieve better quality outcomes in the urban development process.

    Despite the enthusiasm embraced in these moves, a key issue to promoting better urban design outcomes was how would this be achieved beyond vigorous advocacy? The strategy adopted by many cities is the process of ‘Design Review’. Design Review is a step in the normal development approval and consenting process whereby designs (preferably at an early stage of design) are presented for comment by an ‘expert’ advisory panel.

    Despite wide adoption of design review in many cities in Australia and New Zealand, there is no recent comprehensive evaluation of the processes or outcomes in the Australian and New Zealand context. This presentation provides an overview of current Design Review processes in Australia and New Zealand, with special reference case studies of Perth, Auckland and Queenstown, and to highlight specific issues related to these contexts.

    Lee is an urban planner and designer with 21 years’ professional experience. He has qualifications in urban planning and design, and environmental science. Lee is currently Deputy Head of School of Architecture and Planning. He specialises in urban design, urban planning policy development and implementation, growth management and urban design research, economic development and housing issues.
    Lee’s research interests include urban design, urban planning policy development, implementation and evaluation. He is currently involved in a number of research projects considering urban growth management, urban design implementation issues and the role urban design panels in a range of Pacific Rim (Australasian and North American) new world cities.

  • urban-planning-and-affordable-housingUrban Planning and Affordable Housing: A Difficult Conundrum?

    10:00 – 11:00am Tricia Austin, BSc, BPhil

    New Zealand is facing some difficult choices with regard to the provision of sufficient reasonable quality housing for its growing population. Much of the recent debate (both in the media and in the policy advice) has drawn on neo-liberal political ideology for solutions. As a result, the policy choices that were explored by the previous Labour-led governments (from 2002 – 2008) have been discarded and a large body of experience on different approaches to affordable housing provision, that are in common usage in comparable countries (such as the U.S.A., the UK and Australia), is being ignored. Rather than viewing urban planning as an impediment to the increase in housing supply and thus making housing less affordable, this seminar will discuss the potential for urban planning to increase the supply of affordable housing as part of the development process.

    Tricia has been involved in the sticky relationship between urban planning, housing policy and affordable housing in New Zealand for a number of years. This experience includes working with local councils in Auckland and with Queenstown Lakes District Council – the most unaffordable housing market in the country; with central government (New Zealand’s first National Housing Strategy in 2005 and affordable housing legislation in 2008); and undertaking comparative international research on urban planning and housing markets, with academics in Sydney and London.

    The perfect university classroom: Is there such a thing?

    11:30am – 12:30pm Mohamed Alansari, MA(Hons), BA(Hons), BA

    University learning environments are complex, rapid, and unique. Students sit through lectures, attend labs and tutorials, complete learning assessments, and interact with the tutors and lecturers who administer and run these lectures, labs, and tutorials. The same students also enrol in various courses, and are simultaneously exposed to different teaching styles, content, and learning outcomes. In other words, the experience of tertiary education is predicated on staff who design and provide learning opportunities, as well as students who take on and engage with these opportunities.

    But then, how do ‘tertiary teachers’ create learning environments that optimise the learning opportunities, experiences, and outcomes for their ‘tertiary students’? Are teachers and students on the same page when it comes to what is happening in their classes? What do effective learning environments look like?

    This seminar will explore the notion of ‘learning environments’, along with the challenges and assumptions associated with tertiary education.

    Mohamed Alansari is a university doctoral scholar, who teaches within the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. He completed an undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Education, a first class honours degree in Education, and a masters degree with first class honours in Education. His research area spans across Educational Psychology, with a specific focus on classroom practices and beliefs that impact the social and academic trajectories of student learning.

    Your eyes are windows to your feet

    1:30 – 2:30pm Dr Stuti Misra

    Electron microscopy of nerve biopsies, and ex vivo confocal microscopy of skin punch biopsies allow direct examination of nerve fibre damage. However, both are invasive procedures and can induce persistent pain at the biopsy site, cold intolerance and sensory deficits. In vivo confocal microscopy (IVCM) of cornea (clear, front part of the eye) avoids these limitations through non-invasive imaging of living human corneal nerves.The painless technique has been clinically used in the assessment of corneal dystrophies, herpetic infections, following corneal surgery and a number of ocular surface diseases, in addition to idiopathic small fibre neuropathy.

    Dr Stuti Misra graduated in Optometry, with Distinction, in India before relocating to New Zealand in 2005 where she completed a Master of Science, 2008 (First Class Honours) in Optometry, followed by a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Ophthalmology (2014) both from the University of Auckland.

    At this early stage of her research career, Stuti has published 14 peer reviewed research papers and a further two articles in professional journals. She has been awarded substantial research funding from the: Stevenson Foundation, Maurice & Phyllis Paykel Trust, Health Research Council of NZ, Save Sight Society NZ, JH Jensen Research Fund, New Zealand Optometric Vision Research Foundation, and New Zealand Society for the Study of Diabetes. Stuti was a recipient of prestigious Fulbright New Zealand Travel Award in 2015.

    Stuti lives in Auckland with her husband of six years and they have recently finished building a family home near the Pohutukawa coast. In her free time, Stuti enjoys the thrills of sky-diving and para-sailing but is also involved with a local theatre group


University of Auckland City Campus

All lectures will be held on City Campus at the University of Auckland’s General Library lecture theatres.