Collaborations – whether with iwi, students, businesses or educational institutions – are at the heart of Otago Polytechnic’s philosophy for learning and growth.
These relationships range from informal friendships to formalised strategic agreements, supporting our community and enriching the experiences of our staff and students.
Ka Araiteuru Papatipu Runaka
In 2004, the four Araiteuru Papatipu Runaka and Otago Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which has become a cornerstone of our goals and activities. The principal objectives of the Memorandum, which was updated and reaffirmed in 2013, are to support and contribute to the achievement of Maori development aspirations, and work together to identify specific educational needs of Kai Tahu.
As we entered the rohe of Ngati Whatua with the opening of the Auckland International Campus in 2012, Otago Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the North Island iwi. This acknowledged our operations in this region and affirms the spirit of cooperation between us.
Developing the education sector
The Metro Group comprises New Zealand’s six major metropolitan polytechnics and institutes of technology based in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Educating more than 111,000 domestic and international full and part-time students each year, the Metro Group offers a range of vocational and applied educational and training opportunities from certificate to doctorate level.
The tertiary institutions in the Metro Group include:
- Otago Polytechnic
- Manukau Institute of Technology.
The Tertiary Accord of New Zealand (TANZ) is a network of ITPs, including Otago Polytechnic. The vision of TANZ is to be the leader in collaborative applied vocational education and training, and has a mission to work collaboratively as an Accord to identify, design, develop, deliver and evaluate applied vocational quality products for tertiary learners.
The tertiary institutions in the TANZ partnership are:
- Otago Polytechnic
- Eastern Institute of Technology
- Universal College of Learning
- Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
- Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology
Otago Polytechnic is proud to be a foundation member of the OER Universitas (OERu). OERu aims to widen access and reduce the cost of tertiary study for learners who are excluded from the formal education sector. As a leader in this innovation, Otago Polytechnic hosts the OER Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that provides leadership, international networking and support for educators and educational institutions to achieve their objectives through Open Education. Our goal is to make our educational resources available free through wiki sites, along with those from other universities, colleges and polytechnics participating in this partnership. We then support students to have their knowledge assessed through our well-established Assessment of Prior Learning processes.
Industry influencing education
Permanent External Advisory Committees (PEACs)
PEACs are the key formal mechanism for Otago Polytechnic’s highly valued, two-way partnerships with industry. PEACs represent members of the wider community who have an informed interest in a particular subject area we offer, ensuring the quality, relevance, scope and currency of our programmes. They may advise on trends within industry and the community, job market realities and projections, or suggest areas for research.
Enabling international experiences
Otago Polytechnic is pleased to partner with Future Skills Academy in a joint venture to create opportunities for international students to study our business and English language programmes in New Zealand’s largest city.
Our Study Abroad and Exchange partnerships provide the opportunity for students from Otago Polytechnic to study at an overseas institution in an area similar to what they are studying here. This is likewise for international students who would like to come to New Zealand and study at Otago Polytechnic for one or two semesters. Please see our list of exchange partner institutions.
Making a difference
We are very proud of our many partnerships that support our goals to make a difference to society and the environment. Business and community partnerships occur across the Polytechnic, involving staff and students and pursuing ambitions great and small. Each year, student projects contribute thousands of hours towards community needs.
In 2014, 138 community projects were identified across the Polytechnic, involving input from staff and students. Examples range from installing wifi on the Taieri Gorge Railway to offer pre-recorded commentaries in various languages, campaigning against drunken violence in collaboration with Dunedin Police, and converting waste into fertiliser with Central Otago worm farm operator Central Wormworx – among many more. We welcome your ideas and opportunities.
The industry-focused education we provide is greatly valued by our community. The Otago Polytechnic Education Foundation has been established to enable individuals and organisations to easily contribute to students’ educational experiences. Tax deductible donations can be made to the Foundation, and used to support organisational projects, or enable students or recent graduates to pursue opportunities and goals. Donations may also be targeted to fund specific initiatives such as scholarships, international experiences, facilities or research activities. Please contact us to discuss how you can make a contribution to the education we provide.
Community collaboration remains key to the successful Otago Polytechnic charity house project, which is now in its ninth year. Since its inception, the scheme has raised more than $820,000 for Otago charities, a record we and our partners are incredibly proud of. This year, 20 companies including principal sponsor Metro Realty donated time, materials, craftsmanship and advertising to the initiative. The funds raised are distributed by the nationally coordinated fundraising effort, United Way. Recipients in Otago have included Stopping Violence Dunedin; Carers’ Society Otago; ME Information, Systems and Support and Clutha Enterprise Trust’s Making a Difference Youth Development programme.
Partnership with the Cancer Society
The relationship between Otago Polytechnic and the Cancer Society's Otago and Southland Division was strengthened in 2014, when the institute became the naming rights sponsor of the Society's Spring Ball. The annual ball is a major fundraising event for the charity and is a cause Otago Polytechnic is proud to support. Otago Polytechnic staff and graduates already contribute directly to the care of those with cancer through Nursing, Social Services and Occupational Therapy programmes, while others such as Physical Activity, Health and Wellness place an emphasis on preventive activities.
Australian sustainability awards
The continued success of Otago Polytechnic's comprehensive sustainability strategy was recognised with a nomination in the prestigious 2014 Green Gown Awards Australasia. The Awards acknowledge Australasian tertiary institutions for best sustainability practice within operations, curriculum and research. Otago Polytechnic was a finalist in the category Continual Improvement - Institutional Change.
MoU with Bougainville Polytechnic College
The Polytechnic signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the new Bougainville Polytechnic College to deliver technical and health programmes in the region, and to establish quality control systems and staff training.
Kowhai Centre counselling support
The School of Social Services delivered 200 hours of free counselling to members of the public in 2014 through its Kowhai Centre initiative. The Centre responds to community demand for free counselling services while affording second-year Bachelor of Social Services students the chance to gain real-world experience. Previously only available to the Dunedin public, the Kowhai Centre established an outreach in the rural community setting of East Otago in July 2014, filling an identified community need.
The impetus to develop a Pasifika Strategic Framework for Otago Polytechnic came from the External Pacific Advisory Committee which is a group of local Pasifika community leaders formed in 2012, whose principal responsibility is to advise the Polytechnic’s Chief Executive and Leadership Team on matters considered to be of importance in meeting the Polytechnic’s objective to increase the participation and success of Pasifika learners. Advice may be by way of a recommendation, or by providing a range of views that reflect the community perspectives.
The Otago Polytechnic Pasifika Strategic Framework has been developed to articulate Pasifika aspirations for tertiary education. The Framework represents a model based on community partnership, with the intention of building a tertiary system where Pasifika students are encouraged and supported to succeed. The framework is informed by Otago Polytechnic Strategic Directions 2014-2016 as published on our website http://www.op.ac.nz/assets/Governance-and-Management/Otago-Polytechnic-Strategic-Directions-2014-2016-V7-MB-5-Feb-2014.pdf and will align with and support the vision, mission, and future direction of Otago Polytechnic.