Kia ora Postgraduate Research Students,
Earlier this week I let you know that discussions were underway as to how AUT would support postgraduate research students whose progress has been disrupted by the current community outbreak of COVID-19 in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We know that many of you have been experiencing significant challenges as a result of this situation. This is particularly so for those of you based in Auckland who have been unable to access campus facilities, engage in fieldwork or any face-to-face data gathering for over eight weeks. We are also conscious of the wide range of other challenges and disruptions postgraduate research students have been experiencing, irrespective of whether you are Auckland based or not.
These challenges have caused distress for many of you (and your supervisors) and we want to do all we can to support you and to minimise this. As a consequence, the University Postgraduate Research Board (UPRB) has unanimously endorsed a 12 week fees-free extension for all currently enrolled postgraduate research students. Yesterday I met with the four faculty deans and they have agreed to support this approach.
As a consequence, all those enrolled in a thesis (or exegesis) course (paper) of 90 points or greater will be automatically enrolled into a 12 week fees-free extension paper at the end of their current enrolment period.
You do not need to take up all or any of this extension time and can submit your thesis/exegesis earlier if you wish to (in consultation with your supervisor/s).
We encourage you to engage with your supervisor/s over a revised plan and timeline. As you reconsider your timeline, please be aware and respectful of any annual leave that your supervisor/s may have booked over the Christmas and January period.
For students who are on a scholarship, this enrolment extension does not automatically extend the duration of your scholarship. Recipients of an AUT Vice-Chancellor’s or Doctoral Scholarship may apply for an extension to their scholarship following the normal process in the final six months of their scholarship tenure. You should seek specific advice on this from the Scholarships Office.
It seems appropriate that we have made this decision and announcement during Mental Health Awareness Week. If you are struggling, as many are right now, please call on the services offered by our Counselling and Mental Health Support team. They are here to help.
Thank you for your ongoing patience and resilience as you navigate your research in these challenging times.
Ngā tauwhirotanga o te wā (with kindness and respect),
Professor/Ahorangi Mark Orams
Tumuaki, Te Kura Tāura Rangahau
Dean, Graduate Research School
Auckland University of Technology/Te Wānanga Aronui o Tāmaki Makau Rau