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Otago Polytechnic Launches NZ’s First Degree for Changemaker

Otago Polytechnic Launches NZ’s First Degree for Changemakers

Otago Polytechnic is launching a Bachelor of Leadership for Change* — a New Zealand-first degree which caters for all people, no matter what field they want to make a difference in.

The only criterion: students must be driven by a desire to create positive change for an industry, community, or the planet.

The degree launches in March next year and takes three years to complete, with students given the flexibility to progress at their own pace.

“This is a degree for the 21st Century,” explains Professor Samuel Mann, part of the team at CapableNZ: the Otago Polytechnic department which will run the degree.

“Applicants need to come up with a goal as to what they want to get out of the degree. They can choose what career they want to develop — whether it exists already or whether they will develop it through the degree. We’ll then ensure they are prepared for that career at the end of the three years.”

The degree is significantly self-directed and project based, focusing on transferable skills. From the first year, students will be required to work alongside, and within, businesses or organisations in the field in which they wish to effect change.

“The world is changing at an incredibly quick rate and we know spending three years in lectures away from the real world is not necessarily the only way for people to achieve their goals,” Professor Mann says.

“For this degree, we will coordinate with key businesses and organisations in the area in which the student wants to be a changemaker. We will then place them in these organisations throughout the degree to learn as much as possible.

“Everyone will be required to develop and work towards a clear career goal throughout the programme.”

They will be supported and nurtured throughout the degree by a highly experienced team of skilful and innovative facilitators who will have regular catch ups and evaluations with students over video calls.

“We want New Zealand’s budding social entrepreneurs and changemakers to join us for the most innovative degree this country has ever seen,” Professor Mann says.

The three year degree will have the same programme fees as other bachelor’s degrees and students may be eligible for fees free study brought in by the new government.


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