Scholarship News and Other Post-Grad Updates

Kia ora koutou katoa,

“And like that we are in December.” Isn’t it interesting how time flies?! It was great to see everyone who attended the PG BBQ last month. I will try to keep this email to the point on the things that have been happening in the PG space since last month.

I have been following up about Teaching Assistant pay rates and am due to hear more this week – delayed replies are annoying, I know.

If you are going to be publishing papers, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an updated scholarship for students who publish to Scopus journals. This scholarship will be either $500 or $100 depending on which journal you publish in. This has come from a push by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) of Research to encourage students to publish, as this will have a positive impact on the University world rankings for UC. Comments were raised in the meeting about how only giving scholarships to Scopus journals were not fair, and these comments have been fed back to the DVC.

I have also received a reply from the DVC Research (Professor Ian Wright) about the questions students have raised about scholarship values.

As follows “Some responses to your queries.”

  • Yes UC has reviewed PhD scholarship stipends for the last two years and we acknowledge that UC is not top of the market,
  • New strategic scholarships are being funded from 2021 at $28K + tuition fees – these scholarships are tied directly to the advancement of the new UC strategy;
  • The PGRO are actively looking at increasing prestigious named scholarships to retain the differential between new strategic scholarships and prestigious scholarships;
  • UC did consider expanding this new stipend to all PhD scholarships including existing students, however, the cost of doing that in 2021 was deemed to be too high given that the university is facing unprecedented financial circumstances due to COVID-19;
  • I and the PGRO are actively working with Colleges, so they can potentially leverage off central $21K scholarships into a more attractive offer than $21K. I know that some departments in Engineering are already doing this.
  • I acknowledge that all of the above is not going to be especially palatable to existing UC post-graduate students, particularly those doing PhDs currently, and doesn’t offer a “silver bullet” at this time. However, I would encourage any PhD student who has any form of financial hardship to approach the UCSA or Student Support Services. There are still sources of funding either with the UCSA or UC to address cases where post-graduate students are suffering undue financial hardship.
  • The PGRO and I remain open to working with you and the UCSA to address long-term the issues you have raised.

As always, if you have any ideas on how the UCSA can improve the postgrad experience, please get in contact. The UCSA would love to hear your ideas on areas that we can improve on. Feel free to get in contact me via email: postgraduate@ucsa.org.nz or Facebook.

It’s been a great opportunity to represent you this year and I wish everyone an enjoyable summer! Your new Postgrad Rep for 2021, Bea, will be in contact early next year 🙂

Ngā mihi nui,

George Stilwell
Postgraduate Representative
2020 UCSA Executive

 

George Stilwell

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