Human Factors/Ergonomics at Massey: Perceptions, Perspectives and Potential

A recent report by a respected international EHF expert from UK, Associate Professor Alex Stedmon, considered the ‘Perceptions, Perspectives and Potential for developing a Unique Teaching, Learning and Research Capability for Human Factors/Ergonomics at Massey University within New Zealand’.  Prominent amongst its findings and recommendations were:

  • Within Massey there are unconnected and uncoordinated discipline areas that share a basis for developing HFE teaching, learning, research and internationalisation.  Massey is currently failing to develop and exploit a truly unique capability that could set it apart from other Universities within New Zealand, and the AsiaPac region   
  • There is scope for HFE to support greater development of Health and Wellbeing initiatives, including the widening of current healthcare teaching/training activities 
  • There is a lot of support for HFE at the University. A range of staff realise that there is an opportunity to develop innovative and novel course structures that support student learning in EHF. However some staff commented on ‘silo’ perspectives that present institutional barriers to academic progress.  There is considerable scope to develop a Massey integrated understanding of HFE that can be promoted to students, staff and external contacts
  • Massey should take a lead in developing HFE or it may be forced to respond when others take this initiative first.
  • Current teaching should be expanded (and this could be achieved for relatively low effort) to include wider aspects of transport, defence, design, engineering as well as specific aspects of Health such as wellbeing, psychology, and occupational factors
  • There needs to be greater integration of teaching, learning and research across Massey’s three campuses and Colleges.  Ideally this requires a single HFE champion with the energy and enterprise to take up a role of managing this initiative and building links within Massey and further afield to promote a cohesive HFE focus and strategy
  • The Master of Analytics is a precedent of a joint programme across Colleges shared between the College of Science (core courses); College of Business (specialisation courses) and College of Health (specialisation courses).  This model could be emulated in a Master of HFE, shared between the College of Health (core courses); Design School (specialisation courses) and the College of Business (specialisation courses) to provide a dedicated programme with appeal across Health, Wellbeing, Design and Organisational sectors
  • If a shared programme could be developed based on existing courses (and/or a small number of new courses, there would also be potential for developing an extramural programme that provides a common core of courses along with options to pursue particular streams in Health, Design and Organisational sectors
  • Using other countries around the world as a comparison, there is potential to develop a unique perspective on HFE within New Zealand.  Traditionally, UK/Europe is seen to have developed ‘Ergonomics’, whereas the US has developed ‘Human Factors’.  There is no reason why New Zealand should not develop its own flavour of the discipline so that it becomes known as the home of its particular brand of HFE 

Source: Human Factors/Ergonomics at Massey University: Perceptions, Perspectives and Potential for developing a Unique Teaching, Learning and Research Capability within New Zealand, Stedmon, A., December 2015. 

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