NZ Initiative James Kierstead 01w v2

Dr James Kierstead

Research Fellow

James is a Research Fellow with the Initiative and his main focus will be on higher education policy, including academic freedom.

James holds a BA in Classics from Oxford, an MA in Ancient History from the University of London, an MA in Political Science from Stanford, and a PhD in Classics from Stanford.

He is also the co-host (with Michael Johnston) of Free Kiwis!, a podcast dedicated to free speech in a New Zealand context, and he can be found on Twitter at @Kleisthenes2.

 

Phone: 04 499 0790

Email: james.kierstead@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work

Podcast: Free Speech, Education, and Democracy - A Conversation with Toby Young

In this episode, Michael and James talk to Toby Young, founder of the Free Speech Union in the United Kingdom, the associate editor of The Spectator, and a former editor of Quillette. The discussion spans a wide range of topics including the challenges to free speech in academia, the evolution of charter schools in the UK, and the broader implications for liberal democracy, offering insights into the complex interplay between free expression, education policy, and political shifts in contemporary society. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Toby Young
4 July, 2024
The Future of Our Universities

The Future of Our Universities

This report is on the critical challenges facing the country's university sector, based on its tertiary education symposium "The Future of Our Universities" held in May 2024. The report, written by Dr James Kierstead, highlights several pressing issues threatening the sustainability and quality of tertiary education in New Zealand: Severe funding pressures, with universities collectively forecasting a deficit for the first time in 2024 Declining international rankings of New Zealand universities over the past decade Growing bureaucratisation diverting resources away from core teaching and research functions Concerns about threats to academic freedom and viewpoint diversity on campuses Underinvestment in research and development compared to other OECD countries "The challenges our universities face are complex and deeply entrenched,” said Dr Oliver Hartwich, Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
4 July, 2024
2024 06 07 fixing NZ university funding website

Podcast: Fixing New Zealand's university funding

In this episode, Michael and James talk to Dr Dennis Wesselbaum about issues with New Zealand's current university funding model, which relies heavily on student enrollment numbers. They explore potential reforms to create a more stable and effective system that balances access, workforce preparation, and research excellence. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Dr Dennis Wesselbaum
7 June, 2024

Elizabeth University's free speech panel

After criticism of his decision to postpone its free speech event after a student protested the involvement of ‘big meanies,’ Elizabeth University of HAMILTON Vice-Chancellor Jac Jones proved the nay-sayers wrong, showcasing diversity with an event at which 80% of the speakers took exactly the same view. ‘My critics didn’t think I had the cojones – sorry, the courage (I really do apologise),’ Jones said. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
Insights Newsletter
31 May, 2024
2024 05 23 Jonathan Rauch Website

Podcast: Jonathan Rauch and the Constitution of Knowledge

In this episode, Michael and James talk to Jonathan Rauch, famed American journalist and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute. They discuss the importance of free speech and open debate for the advancement of knowledge and the health of our society. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Jonathan Rauch
23 May, 2024

Podcast: Protecting free speech in UK universities

In this podcast episode, James talks Professor Abhishek Saha about the state of academic freedom and free speech in UK universities. They discuss the newly passed Higher Education Freedom of Speech Act, its key provisions, and its potential impact on protecting the right of academics and students to express diverse viewpoints without fear of censorship or repercussions. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
Professor Abhishek Saha
9 May, 2024
website typing

An email from the V-C

As your Vice-Chancellor here at He Waka Kore Hoe (once known as Elizabeth University), I’m excited to announce the 17th consultation period (Round 3A) for our public panel on free speech, which will kick off next Monday, November 12th, 2031. I am grateful to all the groups who made submissions during the last round, including Anti-Racists for Climate Justice, Students Against Education, Queers for Palestine, Vegans Anonymous, Anonymous, the Philistine Society, Debating Debate Club, and More Mao Now! Read more

Dr James Kierstead
Insights Newsletter
3 May, 2024
website victoria

Beware the university seeking to limit the freedom of speech

The Education and Training Act enshrines academic freedom in law. It distinguishes aspects of academic freedom over which the university itself has jurisdiction, from aspects that protect its students and academic staff from institutional interference. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
The Post
1 May, 2024

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates