Mini-Term in New Zealand
New Zealand was chosen as a Mini-Term location because from an engineering stand-point it has a very interesting mix of power generation types, including traditional thermal, combined cycle gas turbine, hydroelectricity, geothermal, and wind, but no nuclear. Their distribution system includes a 400 km high-voltage DC link between the North and South Islands. Historically the electricity generation, distribution, and retailing activities in New Zealand were State owned and run. However, over the past 15 years or so they have been systematically split up and privatized, and a competitive electricity market set up. There are many parallels, but also important differences, between the New Zealand system and the deregulated system in the U.S. Emphasis during the Mini-Term is placed on the technology, environmental issues, and economics of power generation, distribution, and marketing. New Zealand is small enough that most of the important sites can be visited in three weeks.
Because this Mini-Term involves considerable travel, no attempt is made to place students in homes. However, they do stay with New Zealand and other international students for the first few days of the term at the University of Auckland. During the rest of the trip the students interact extensively with local citizens at site visits and overnight stops. Cultural activities include the previously mentioned Maori feast and interaction with tribal leaders, stops at museums to study Maori and New Zealand cultural and developmental history, and visits to a thoroughbred horse farm and a sheep station to discuss agricultural practices. The Mayor of one of the towns invites the group to morning tea and gave a briefing on the local situation.
Electric Power Development & Environmental Management in New Zealand
Mini-Term Course Program
Sunday, Nov 25 - Saturday, Dec 15, 2012
The New Zealand Mini-Term course will be offered during next year's Fall/Winter break. Under the direction of Prof. Kenney (Economics), the course explores the technical, economic, environmental, sociopolitical, and cultural issues in electric power generation and transmission in New Zealand. There are openings for 30 students (from all majors and class years) who will work in multi-disciplinary teams to assess alternative approaches to natural resource management.
The country of New Zealand, renowned for its natural beauty, consists of two islands (about 2/3 the landmass of California) located 1000 miles southeast of Australia. On the coach tour of power generation sites, several in remote wilderness locations, the group will travel over 2500 miles. The odyssey begins on the North Island in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city, and ends in Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. In between, the students meet with public officials, electricity market and environmental regulators, representatives of indigenous peoples (Maori), farmers, foresters, power company management, engineers, and plant operators at eight power stations (including an underground hydroelectric plant, a thermal plant that burns both natural gas and coal, and two wind farms with 200 wind turbines on a mountain ridge north of Wellington).
In addition to the power station tours, the students have many opportunities to experience the culture and to explore the many natural wonders of New Zealand. Group activities include: visits to museums; living on a sheep station at the base of Mt Cook (at 12,300 feet, the highest peak in the Southern Alps); and a half-dozen hikes through rain forests and active geothermal fields, along endless beaches, and around pristine mountain lakes, glaciers, and volcanoes. Students will also have free time for "adrenalin rush" activities (e.g., skydiving, sledging, white water rafting). After the mini-term program ends on December 19, students may choose to add a visit to Australia before returning to the U.S.
Extensive documentation on the course program and itinerary in 2011 (not expected to change significantly in 2012) is available at the Blackboard Web site for the course. If you would like to browse the Web site, you can obtain guest access by doing the following. Open Internet Explorer and enter online.union.edu in the location bar. When the Blackboard entry page opens, click on the Login button, then the Preview button, and then on the Courses tab. Enter New Zealand in the Course Search dialog box and click on the Go! button. Clicking on 06-WI.TAB-333T-01 displays a menu of buttons, including Course Information and Course Documents. The Course Information folder contains itinerary and lodging information and albums of photographs from previous program experience. The Course Documents folder contains lots of subfolders with course content and an Overnight Stays folder that contains links to additional information about lodging and the places we will be visiting.
Requirements for the course include: (1) participation in a series of pre-departure seminars on Tuesday evenings during Fall term; (2) maintenance of a detailed journal during the stay in New Zealand; and (3) completion and presentation of a team-project analysis that draws upon both Web- and library-based research and field research in New Zealand. The New Zealand Mini-Term satisfies the Language and Cultural Competency requirement of the General Education program.
The $3500 course fee covers housing, meals, and all course-related travel and activities in New Zealand. In addition, students are responsible for airfare (to and from New Zealand) and any personal expenses.
An information session will be held during the second week of winter term. Time & place TBA. Applications are due in the International Programs office no later than Friday of the third week of spring term. Preference in selection will be given to students who have completed Economics 228 (Environmental and Natural Resource Economics), which is being offered during the Spring term. Any questions about mini-term arrangements should be directed to Prof. Jewell (Olin 102C, firstname.lastname@example.org).