Covid-19 'emotional rollercoaster' for uni - Hayne

Prof Harlene Hayne
Prof Harlene Hayne
University of Otago vice-chancellor Harlene Hayne has described dealing with fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic as an emotional rollercoaster.

‘‘We have really had our mettle tested here,’’ Prof Hayne told the university’s council yesterday.

‘‘It has been an incredible emotional rollercoaster.’’

Prof Hayne paid tribute to people who helped the university get through the lockdown and its aftermath and became emotional when thanking chief operating officer Stephen Willis.

‘‘There is no way that we would have survived with Steve,’’ she said.

‘‘His discipline, organisation and good humour set us up for what we had to face.’’

Critical services were taken off-site during lockdown.

Prof Hayne said Mr Willis got the job done while parenting four children and while his wife worked as a nurse.

‘‘He led us with a toddler on his shoulder.’’

Prof Hayne said the leadership team decided early to provide necessary support for staff and students, including pastoral care.

‘‘Very early in the piece, we set our moral compass.’’

AskOtago was one service that needed a boost to enable it to respond to an increased number of queries.

The university also confirmed yesterday that three more graduation ceremonies would probably be needed this year, after May’s four ceremonies were cancelled.

More than 1000 graduates and graduands who missed public graduation ceremonies in May have indicated they want to take part in person.

The university has signalled an additional ceremony could take place on August 15.

Two more could be held in late November or early December.



Great news, but wouldn't it have been nice to hear the vice chancellor thank the thousands of "ordinary" university staff for the contributions during difficult times? Seems odd that she should only thank senior leadership. I'm sure there were lots of people with "toddlers on their shoulders".

Too funny. She doesn't even know that the "ordinary" staff even exists. Her leadership style fits in very well here in Dunedin...its called Management by exception. She floats in the same circle of "yes men" and "yes women" that follow her around and wait breathlessly for the next pearl of wisdom to fall from her mouth. It's like some deranged cult. It's sad that the best New Zealand could do is select an American women as the head of the University when there are so many native-born New Zealanders and Māori women who were far more qualified for the position. There has been a marked decrease at the University under her leadership. Lets hope a more suitable candidate is selected to replace her!

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter