I'm looking forward to doing my first lecture at Victoria University today, so I hope it is not disloyal to write a post celebrating the success of students from the University of Canterbury.
Last year, I wrote celebrating post-graduate successes of students from my Honours class of 2009, and lauding the diversity of the Canterbury programme that emphasised both analytical rigour and traditional liberal arts learning. This year, the cause for celebration is the recent graduate recruitment round by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand. Three students who were in my intermediate-micro-with-calculus sequence in 2013, Amy Rice, Michael Callaghan, and Simon Greenwood, were successful in securing positions at the RBNZ for 2016 in the early-bird recruitment round for the RBNZ. My understanding is that they were the only three students in New Zealand to receive such offers. Two of them, Amy and Michael, also received Reserve Bank scholarships for their Honours year in 2015.
These successes continues the astonishing record Canterbury has had in placing students into the RBNZ over the past decade. Sadly, this might be one of the last cohorts from Canterbury to enjoy this success. As a result of the financial difficulties following the earthquake, management there has decided that the Department needs to focus on its broad-based B.Com. Accordingly, it no longer offers micro with calculus at the second year, has cancelled its Arts-style current-economic issues course, and has introduced a new Bachelor of Business Economics major targeted at a different group of students. In the current financial environment with a much smaller department, it was probably necessary for Canterbury to narrow its focus, but I hope they are able to return to offering its top students a strong maths-based, liberal-arts-consistent programme. The country needs rigorously trained economists with multi-disciplinary grounding. Fortunately, Otago, Vic and Auckland still offer calculus-based micro at the second year.