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Emerging Plan for Whanganui UCOL

8 August, 2014

Emerging Plan for Whanganui UCOL

Results from the Joint Wanganui District Council and UCOL Taskforce are emerging, with plans revealed today that will secure a strong footing for the polytechnic in the future.

“This package of initiatives will ensure Whanganui UCOL is part of a vibrant and thriving riverfront in a way that is financially and educationally sustainable” said UCOL Chairperson Malcolm Inglis.

Chair of the Joint Taskforce, Mayor Annette Main, said “A strong polytechnic in Whanganui is an extremely important factor for the future of our district and its place in our wider region. People in our community gave their time to the Taskforce working parties more than a year ago and it was definitely worth it. This work formed a solid platform for discussions and planning since then, and we are co-designing something which is uniquely Whanganui and a new regional model for the country.”

The plan builds on Whanganui UCOL’s base of over 32 programmes and 600 full time students. A new design and arts degree is proposed for next year, offering majors in visual arts, textiles/fashion design and graphic design, with electives such as warm glass, illustration, animation, life-drawing and printmaking. The focus for the next few months will be developing curriculum content with iwi partners, staff and local artists ready for NZQA accreditation.

The Minister for Tertiary Education, Steven Joyce has indicated his support for the plan “I am pleased to see the Council and UCOL working closely together, as well as collaborating with other tertiary education organisations to achieve better outcomes for learners”. The Tertiary Education Commission is looking for UCOL to significantly extend delivery in Whanganui.

Te Puna Matauranga and UCOL have renewed an Accord that reflects the commitment of both to support strong educational options for Maori. “There has been an enduring relationship with Te Puna and we are looking forward to a new phase in supporting Maori success at a tertiary level,” said Mr Inglis.

Forming relationships with other organisations is a key component of the new plan and one that has been actively progressed. “We are working on a new regional approach that includes innovative delivery models and flexible modes of study. A number of tertiary partnerships are likely to be involved to achieve this. The Open Polytechnic and Whanganui UCOL are the first to get started under the new approach, with local students receiving tutoring and support for a range of Open Polytechnic programmes at the Whanganui UCOL campus,” said UCOL Acting Chief Executive Clare Crawley.

The Open Polytechnic is New Zealand’s largest provider of flexible distance learning. The first Open Polytechnic programme to be introduced under this model is the NZ Institute of Management Certificate in Management, with at least eight more certificates, graduate diplomas and degrees being introduced over the next twelve months.

Chair of the Open Polytechnic, Murray Bain, said that this is an important collaboration for the Open Polytechnic and the organisation is very excited to be working with UCOL in Whanganui.

Opening up the campus to the community and sharing it with others was another recommendation from the Joint Taskforce that has been followed up and is part of the new plan. The District Council and UCOL are working on a proposal to create an Arts and Design Centre on Taupo Quay, where community expertise and education would come together. This would add to the diversity of the riverfront area, and work is under way to look at the concept of this being housed in UCOL’s two currently vacant buildings on Taupo Quay. If this concept is proven to work, then UCOL would invest the money to ensure these buildings are safe to occupy.

The future of hot glass qualifications and facilities is still being worked on. Both the Council and UCOL have committed to funding the hot glass facility on Campbell Street until the end of 2015. The two organisations are jointly exploring how a new community hot glass facility could be provided in 2016 and how a viable glass qualification can be developed.

ENDS

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