High performing polytech wins popularity contest

“Passion, expertise and a willingness to push boundaries”

Otago Polytechnic is showing an outstanding level of performance. As discussed at an Otago Polytechnic Council meeting on 4 July, the Polytechnic recently received three national teaching awards and the student roll has been rising rapidly, with a predicted increase of 10 per cent this year.

Otago Polytechnic Communications Manager Mike Waddell said in an interview with the ODT that this year’s enrolment figures have already reached 4,099 Equivalent Full-Time Students (EFTS), up 610 EFTS from this time last year. Most of the currently enrolled students are domestic, but international enrolments have been on the rise, too – up 186 EFTS from this time last year to a total of 425 EFTS. At this stage, the Polytechnic is already within 120 students of its overall roll target for the year. Polytechnic officials stated that 57 per cent of the enrolled students are from outside of Dunedin. The chairwoman of the Otago Polytechnic Council, Kathy Grant, said that the increase of students was positive, not just for the students themselves, “but also for the Dunedin economy.”

The Polytechnic was also very successful at the Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards last month, winning awards in three different academic disciplines. Half of the 16 tertiary teachers who received awards were from Dunedin, including the winner of the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award, Dr Karyn Paringatai, a lecturer at the University of Otago’s Te Tumu – School of Maori, Pacific and Indigenous Students. The awards presented to the Polytechnic covered the departments of culinary arts, nursing and communication design.

Emeritus Professor Tom Prebble spoke about the award haul at the Polytechnic Council meeting, noting that he had been attending the teaching award events for many years and that, to the best of his knowledge, this was the first time an institution had won awards in three different disciplines in one year.

Otago Polytechnic Chief Executive Phil Ker said that winning the awards was “a wonderful achievement for the recipients, each of whom inspires and motivates their students through their passion, expertise and a willingness to push boundaries.”

The Polytechnic’s “exceptional” performance will greatly benefit both Dunedin as a whole as well as the city’s reputation as an awesome provider of tertiary education. Mr Waddell stated that rising student numbers delivered many benefits to the Dunedin economy, including attracting more people from beyond Otago to study here, some later becoming long-term residents.
This article first appeared in Issue 15, 2014.
Posted 6:52pm Sunday 13th July 2014 by Nina Harrap.