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Adult role first of its kind in New Zealand

31 August 2005

Adult role first of its kind in New Zealand

The University of Canterbury is the first university in New Zealand to appoint a dedicated Adult Student Advisor.

Clare Brennan, a second year Masters student in education, was appointed this month as the new full-time Adult Student Advisor, having worked part-time since February in the area of adult student services.

Clare sees one of the most important facets of her new role being to link adult students with the facilities and services that are already available to them.

“A big thing I've found since I've been at UC is that there are lots of high quality services at the University but there are also lots of people who are just not aware of them. Having this role now in place will mean there is a focal point for adult students as well as staff, to source information relevant to adult students, and also a dedicated advocate for adult-student needs.”

The 34-year-old was herself a full-time adult student at UC last year and says that provided her with valuable experience for the job.

“There was a gap of 10 years between finishing my undergraduate years in London and starting my postgraduate study here. I thought I should know how to do this. As a postgrad and an adult student, I thought the services weren't really for me but for those who'd just left home and never been to university, but that's not the case.”

Managing the Family House drop-in centre is just one of Clare's roles in the new position. She will be co-ordinating the Adult Students Mentoring Programme and the UC Parent Buddy Programme. She will also be working closely with the Liaison Office on adult student recruitment issues, developing the presence of Adult Student services on the UC website, working with the UCSA to provide more social activities tailored to adult students, and will also be focusing on pre-university preparation issues for adult students. She produces the Adult Student Support Network term newsletter, and also organises workshops and social events for adult students.

Being the first advisor of this type in a New Zealand university, Clare is also looking forward to seeing how this area develops in other institutions, and will be aiming to create a national network of all those interested in adult student needs.

“I think sometimes people are surprised that the University wants them to succeed. There's this myth that students think the system is there to trip them up. My job is to link them in with services we have to make their life as a student more manageable.”


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