-- Main.warwooca - 28 May 2019

April 2019

At the request of PG students in SMS, this newsletter has been established in an attempt to minimise notification emails and to give you guys a landing page to check out the latest news and events around SMS. Feel free to submit anything of interest or achievements/events that you would like to share with your colleagues. For the first few months, there will be a trial to establish how frequently we want these newsletters released. Currently we are aiming for monthly, this is done to complement our PG meetings. Every 2 weeks there will either be a newsletter release or a PG meeting. I welcome your feedback on how this is working out.

Thanks for working with me to get our communication system up and running in an effective manner. I really appreciate everyones input and hope that you all continue with your involvement in this process.

Thanks, Caitlin

PG Meeting

Our monthly PG meeting was held on the 29th of March. We had two guest speakers at the meeting this time around - Erica Schouten and Sara Cotterall. Erica is our student advocate, she came to provide some information on how to voice your opinions to the university especially in regards to the MRA and the office move. Her main recommendations consisted of writing a letter to the Head of School, Vice Provost and other similar positions. Erica emphasised getting the letter written as soon as possible due to the MRA being an interim agreement and now open to change as the timeframe has nearly lapsed. She also recommended that you all try and join PGSA as they are a strong voice for PG students in the university - if you would like to join click here. If you would like to participate see their vacancies here. Erica is happy to come and check out the spaces to help with issues and give advice on the best way to get them resolved - please book in with her to organise this.

Rooms have been booked to work on the letter at the following times:

- CO345 on 29th April: 9am - 11am

- CO345 on 1st May: 1pm - 3pm

If you would like to contact Erica email her at advocate@vuwsa.org.nz or you can pick up her business cards from my desk for alternate contact details.

Sara Cotterall is from the Faculty of Graduate Research and came as a representative of the academic side of things, mainly for PhD students. Her role is in organising events such as Shut Up and Write, Workshops etc. She also follows up on any feedback and difficulties you may be having with your PhD experience such as course content, supervisor experience etc. In addition to this, Sara supported SMS PG students working with Erica and suggested that we take some time to build a strong case in the letter and brainstorming what is needed to rectify the study spaces and MRA. In addition to this discussion, Sara brought up the PhD presentation evening. This has been done in the past for other schools in the university and acts as a way to break down academic silos while getting feedback and awareness of your work from non-specialised individuals.

Minutes from this meeting will be completed soon and sent out to you. I will try and find a way to link them to the PG x newsletter also.

Previous meeting minutes can be viewed here (page unlinked).

The next Postgraduate meeting is booked for the 29th of April in CO350 at 4pm. Please RSVP and send any agenda items to Caitlin.

Thesis Students Page

We have set up a landing page for each of you to add you study details and your interests. You should be able to edit your own page and add photos etc as you wish. Just scroll to the bottom and hit edit on your profile.

The pages can be found at this link here or from the SMS department homepage > About Us > Thesis Students.

We encourage you to use this page for scholarship and job applications as needed, so be sure to keep it up to date. If you are stuck on what to put in there, check out some staff examples just by searching them on the university page. Rod Downey is a good example, including different material in his bio and linking to other pages where necessary. I would also recommend Richard Arnold as a good example bio if you are more into writing in full rather than linking elsewhere.

If anyone is having trouble editing their page, email Caitlin to get it sorted.

Locker & Headphones

There are still lockers and headphones availiable for anyone that wants them. Headphones are limited to Masters and PhD students only. Pop into CO358 reception to register for either of them or email Caitlin.

Health, Safety & Wellbeing

Workspace Evaluations

Workspace evaluations took place on the 3rd April for all those that registered earlier on in the month. I am personally reveiwing the reports and making bookings to fix up identified issues. Please bear with me as some of these repairs may take a little bit of time - but rest assured I am working on it as fast as I can. If anyone would like a copy of their report, please email Caitlin.

Wellness Tips

Research can be very isolating work, so it is important to pay attention to your health and wellbveing while undertaking your project. Practice self care where possible and keep tabs on how you are feeling - dont be afraid to reach out to whomever you feel comfortable talking to if you need a bit of support.

The mental health foundation recommends focusing on connections around you as a means of improving wellbeing. Connection includes relationships with others, who you feel close to and valued by. Some techniques for improving connections include chatting to your colleagues instead of emailing or calling them. Attending shared lunches, such as morning teas in CO350 or other events you might have an interest in such as those held by clubs and socs, SMS, or the VUWSA etc. Helping those around feel welcome can go a long way in strengthening your relationships, meaning they will be there to support you when you need it too. Check out the listed events below for opportunities to make some new connections.

SMS Events

Maths Challenge

Maths Challenge took place on the 15th of April. It was a brilliant day and would not have been possible without the help of many postgraduate students. I would like to thank each and every one of you that helped out.

Helpers: Ahmad Abdul-Ghaffar, Alejandro Pereira, Amalia Wan Ismail, Angmar Zhu, Elanor Woodhams, Ellis Dawson, Emma Purdy, Evelyn Benson, Georgia Yee, Gregory Williams, Hannah Casil, Jack Baker, Jesse Di Benedetto, Jules Peria, Justin Liu, Khadar Mohamud, Lexie Vi, Linus Richter, Meenu Jose, Michal Salter-Duke, Nikki, Wilkinson, Olivia Flanagan, Priyal Patel, Rebecca Welsh, Ruth Holness, Sahas Annavarapu, Thomas Cochrane, Virginia Lisanti, Yuan Lu

Markers: Adelaide Wilson, Jordan Barrett, Julius Juodakis, Kenny Graham, Linda Martis, Linus Richter, Victoria Carrington

As you can see it took a massive amount of manpower to make the day possible, I am super thankful to each and every one of you. This was my first time running the event and it could not have gone as smoothly as it did without you. This was the largest Math Challenge to ever run with 177 attendees and 12 total schools. Thank you all for your part in making this possible.

Our winners included:

1st: Clarky Boys - Wellington College

2nd: Calculadz & Algebroz - Hutt Valley High School

3rd: PC Team 2 - Paraparaumu College

Most Creative Name: The last digit of pi - Mixed Schools Team

Meanest Team: HIBS 1 - Hutt International Boys School

Teamwork Award: ACDC - Aotea College

Feedback has been sent out to all schools so hopefully we get a response soon to see how we can improve and what went well this year.

University Events

Sexual Harassment Policy Changes

The university is currently looking at implementing a sexual harrassment policy; the draft policy is now up for consultation. I encourage everyone to have a look at the policy and provide feedback where they can. Discussions will be held on the following dates:

- May 8th, 11am-12pm GBLT2

- May 9th, 10am-11am VSLT1

- May 9th, 2:30pm-3:30pm SUMT228

Consultation will close on May 17th. See here for more information on the policy as well as the draft versions as they currently stand.

PGSA Events

Hauora Chats

May 1st 11am - 12pm SU218

A well-being chat series featuring postgraduate students and staff from the University.

Every session will have a prominent theme that will guide the discussion. The main idea is to provide a platform to postgraduate students to talk about issues that affect them such as general well-being, mental health, financial stress, accommodation among others, and find ways to manage these concerns effectively. See more information here.

Diversity Fest 2019

May 9th 2pm - 4pm The Hub

Diversity Fest celebrates Victoria University of Wellington’s cultural diversity. It’s about fostering inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone who studies at VUW.

We'll have food, music, art and craft, and a whole lot of fun.

Interested to set up an art and craft display or a stall? To live paint? To perform? See the full event details to register!

Writing to Finish

May 22nd 9am - 3pm RHMZ05

Space and place for writing. Lunch is provided & everyone is welcome!

Limited seats, see the event details to sign up.


May 31st 11am-12pm Milk & Honey

This is a casual meet and greet event for students where they can meet fellow postgraduates and bond over quiz and coffee

FGR Events

Science & Engineering PhD Presentations and Social Event

May 3rd 6pm-7pm CO350

On Wednesday 12th of June, FGR is running a PhD prsentation event to provide an informal opportunity to share your work and network with other PhD candidates from around the University. We will be having a preliminary presentations with a maxiumum of 5 minutes length and 1 slide to select some candidates for this event. This preliminary session is organized for the 3rd of May in CO350 at 6pm.

Please register your interest here. Registrations will close on the 26th April - please email your slide to Caitlin before the presentation day.

Please do not panic about the short time frame, this is a very casual event. Just let us know what you are working on, where you plan on taking it etc.

How to plan your PhD (Workshop)

May 7th 10am-12:30pm KKLT301

Presented by Hugh Kearns, from ThinkWell, this workshop will introduce you to the PhD Planning Toolkit. You will learn how to use these tools to create your big picture thesis plan, unpack your thesis into logical parts, create task lists for each stage, estimate times, schedule tasks, identify risks and deal with setbacks. Register here.

The Imposter Syndrome (Workshop)

May 7th 2:30pm - 5pm KKLT301

Presented by Hugh Kearns, from ThinkWell, this workshop will explain why high-performing people often doubt their abilities and find it hard to enjoy their successes. It will also show the links to perfectionism and self-handicapping strategies such as procrastination, avoidance and over-commitment. Register here.

Doctoral Induction

May 8th 9:30am-5pm AM103

Have you recently enrolled in your PhD programme? If so, please register for our full day Induction programme on Wednesday May 8th. Presentations and activities throughout the day are designed to get your PhD study at VUW off to the best possible start. Register here.

Managing and storing data suring your PhD (Workshop)

May 15th 10:30am-12pm

Presented by Craigie Sinclair (Information and Records Management), Katy Miller (Library Research Services), Jonathan Flutey (ITS) and Matt Plummer (Centre for Academic Development), this workshop will discuss best practice in managing documents and storing data during your candidature. Register here.

SLC Events

Writing to think (Postgraduate Workshop)

May 4th 9am-12pm RHMZ06

This interactive session introduces techniques to help generate ideas and organise an extended writing project. Register here.