Otago Polytechnic

Leadership Team

  Phil Ker
Chief Executive

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MEd (Administration) - First Class Honours, Massey University,1995
Bachelor of Commerce, The University of Auckland, 1973
Management and Leadership in Education, Harvard University, 2001
Trained Teachers Diploma, Auckland College of Education, 1973

Previously Executive Director - Corporate Services: Auckland University of Technology

Phil is a successful tertiary manager and teacher, with expertise in curriculum development, assessment of student learning and leadership. He has had a lengthy teaching career including teaching economics, accounting, management and tertiary teaching practice; and has had a career long interest in leadership and leadership development, and in the professional development of tertiary educators.

Phil is a member of the following Boards

  • Director - TANZ (Tertiary Accord of New Zealand)
  • Director - Te Tapuae o Rehua
  • Director – Ako Aotearoa
  • Director – Malcam Trust

Personal Interests

Phil enjoys cycling, and especially long distance road cycling now that his marathon running days are behind him. He is also a motor cycling enthusiast who takes every opportunity to ride his Harley Davidson through beautiful Central Otago. Travel, movies and reading crime and suspense novels are favourite pastimes he shares with his wife Glenys. Phil is married to Glenys and has two teenage daughters and an older stepson and stepdaughter.

  Matt Carter
Director: Organisational Development

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Matt Carter has responsibility for Organisational Development at Otago Polytechnic which includes Human Resources, Student Services and Staff Capability and is a member of the Executive Leadership Team.  His day to day work alongside the CEO ensures that the people considerations are paramount in decision making and enables him to help shape both the organisation strategy and the processes necessary for deployment of it. 

Otago Polytechnic is a large, diverse and complex organisation.  With 835 people on our payroll and 420 FTE employees it is one of Dunedin’s larger employers.  Matt’s responsibilities include full function of Human Resources, Health and Safety, HR Generalists and Payroll. Student Services responsibilities also include Student Learning Centre, Counsellors and Student Support and Advisory and the Staff Capability unit which focuses on development of staff.  He has eight direct reports and responsibility for 26 staff.

Previously Matt was the HR Manager for the Community Services Division of North Shore City Council.  In this generalist HR role Matt was responsible for the delivery of all HR services to his division (294 FTE and over five hundred employees).  In the further distant past Matt was a Management Consultant with Ernst & Young, intially employed in the new graduate programme to specialise in Human Resource Management, Project Management and Organisational Change Management.   His consulting experience with Ernst & Young includes work in both New Zealand and Australia, with BHP Billiton – Cannington, Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, Air New Zealand, NZI – New Zealand Insurance, Winstone Wallboards Ltd, New Zealand Defence Force and Auckland College of Education. 

Matt was recently awarded Associate Fellowship Member of the Human Resources Institute (MHRINZ) was the Branch President of the WildSouth (Otago) region HRINZ for 2011 and 2012, and is a member of the HRINZ Grading Panel.  In 2011 Matt was the Southern Regional Winner of the New Zealand Institute of Management (NZIM) Young Executive of the Year Award 2011 and runner up for the national award, and he was awarded New Zealand Human Resources Institute (HRINZ) Young HR Practitioner of the Year in 2008.

  Philip Cullen
Chief Operating Officer

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Born in Mosgiel, Philip has a Bachelor of Arts and Commerce degree from Otago University and has worked with the Ministry of Agriculture, University of Otago and Presbyterian Support before joining Otago Polytechnic nine years ago. 

Philip’s key roles as the Chief Operating Officer include managing the financial and business improvement aspects of Otago Polytechnic.  He is involved with several corporate activities including contracts, risk management, planning, projects, reviews and issues addressed by the Leadership Team. 

He enjoys the diversity of the role and the challenges presented, especially the fiscal challenges Tertiary Institutions face, and the opportunity to influence the long term outcomes of Otago Polytechnic.  Philip takes great pleasure working with staff in shared challenges and successes and to resolve problems.

Philip and his wife Judith ran a successful café called Partners for eight years and they reside in St Clair, overlooking the beach. In his spare time he enjoys a multitude of hobbies including walking, chess, gardening, reading, wine and fishing, as well as spending time with family and friends in a relaxing environment.  

  Chris Morland
Director: School Success

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  Alistair Regan
Director: Research and Enterprise
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Alistair Regan has management experience that extends over 30 years in the UK, Australia, Sweden and New Zealand, working as a design practitioner and researcher, business manager and leader. He has a strong record of successful change management and dynamic leadership in commercial and tertiary education settings.

Using innovative and creative design methodologies, Alistair has evolved many new business models, and developed many new collaborations. He can provide insight and depth to tertiary business and commercial management issues and with a wide network of colleagues and collaborators, can help develop solutions in many areas.

His main area of focus is in building the Research and Enterprise, Consultancy and Fee-for-service, portfolio at Otago Polytechnic. Alistair and his team are working much more closely with communities, industry and business to help solve real world issues, engage expert staff and involve students in more experiential learning opportunities.

  Sue Thompson
Director: Quality

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Sue’s overarching responsibility is for organisation quality and her portfolio includes Quality Enhancement Centre, Quality Data and Records, Organisational Research, Customer Services, Student Health and external Pacific Liaison. She also convenes Policies Committee and is responsible for Student Complaints, Academic Appeals and Student Discipline.

Sue was born in Dunedin and spent her early years in West and Central Otago. Sue’s professional background includes psychiatric nursing, nursing education, and counselling/psychotherapy. She has worked at Otago Polytechnic since 1983 holding a variety of roles from lecturer, Head of School and Acting Dean of Faculty. She was appointed to her current position early in 2004.

  Jean Tilleyshort
Director: Sustainability

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Jean Tilleyshort is the Director: Sustainability and leads the development and implementation of the strategic framework for sustainability at Otago Polytechnic.  Her key areas of this work focus on developing sustainable practitioners among staff and students, modeling sustainable practice across all Otago Polytechnic operations, encouraging communities and enterprises to embed sustainable practice, and ensuring Otago Polytechnic’s actions benefit its communities.

 As Campus Manager at Central Otago since 2003, Jean has worked with community and industry to ensure the programmes and services offered meet regional needs.  This work uses her strengths in strategic planning and implementation.  Jean is committed to the local community and passionate about providing opportunities for lifelong learning. 

Jean was also an Otago Polytechnic Group Manager (2004 – 2012) overseeing various schools.  Her earlier career included roles at the Tertiary Education Commission and Skill NZ where she managed the Southern Regional Office for 10 years, and led national projects developing the implementation of Government policy.  Jean’s qualifications include a B.A., Dip Teaching and an MBA from Otago University.

  Mike Waddell
Director: Communications

Mike oversees marketing, communications and community engagement for Otago Polytechnic, including domestic and international student recruitment, business to business relationships, scholarships, media engagement, advertising and business development. His role involves working alongside academic leaders and experts to explore business opportunities for the organisation, ranging from international partnerships to delivering education and training directly into the workplace.

Mike has had a varied career. He trained and worked as a fitter and turner, he worked for Metal Spray Engineering in Dunedin before becoming a mechanical engineering tutor and later programme manager at Otago Polytechnic. In 1994 Mike was seconded to the position of the Polytechnic’s Schools Liaison Officer, leading ultimately to oversight of the Communications portfolio. Mike’s qualifications include NZTC (Mech), ATC (F&T) (Otago Polytechnic), NZCTA (F&T) (Australia), and BCom (Otago).