Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ARA Institute of Technology - Staff day 2016

Ara Institute ofCanterbury was formed at the beginning of 2016 through merger of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Canterbury (CPIT) and Aoraki Polytechnic. The name Ara was’ selected to reflect one of the objectives of the institute, to be a pathway for learners into initial work and continually beyond the attainment of the first tertiary initial qualification.

Today, the first staff day for Ara begins at 10am to allow all staff to travel to Christchurch from South Canterbury for the event.

The programme begins with the new Ara promotional video showcasing the Canterbury landscape followed by inspiring Te Reo welcome from Hemi Hoskins, HOD for Humanities. The chanting of Ara waiata is then completed. The MC John West who is Ara project director for organisational transformation follows with welcome, housekeeping and overview of the day’s objectives. An icebreaker activity to get to know each other in our assigned tables start off a busy day.
Jenn Bestwick, Chair of the Ara council and Kay Giles, Ara CE than officially begin the day with ‘a call to action’ and the viewing of a video ‘Ara – the Future starts now’. Jenn welcomed staff, now standing at 1100 permanent staff. She set the scene by providing background on formation of Ara, the two councils’ work on forming a shared agenda and some ideas for the way ahead. Importantly, advocated the need to embrace change and continual improvement to ensure our learners’ educational outcomes are met. Kay spoke on transforming tertiary education in the Canterbury region. She presented on background to assist with the thinking to contribute to the Ara strategic plan. We are about to complete transitional stage and move into the transformational stage (to June 2018) before we shift into a consolidation stage to end in 2020. Provided rationale of Ara vision and unpacked strategies identified to inform Ara going into the future. Provided list of transformation focus areas. Introduced Ara Te Kahui Manukura, the leadership team. Detailed the expectations for staff to engage with the transformational agenda – to understand Ara vision, provide input to strategic plan, consider the resources and capabilities required and start to plan actions that will take us there. Video of stakeholders from industry, community, local government and students providing views of Ara’s future trajectory. Strong call to assist with regional capability building through access to learning beyond the main Canterbury centres, for people who need upskilling while still at work. Byline – the future is everywhere.

Group work begins with group activity to provide suggestions and input into the drawing up of the new Ara strategic plan. The brief is to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of the future and for participants to use their imaginations and come up with creative ideas to contribute to the strategic plan. We are asked to pick two dimensions from customers, products, processes, engagement, capabilities and sustainability; think about and discuss and use some questions provided to come up with suggestions.

After lunch, an item from the Court Theatre Jesters to get thing moving along into the afternoon.

Then, Diana Law, Manager for Student Well-being introduces another group activity to work on Ara guiding principles. Here the activity is to think of three words that symbolise the principles, values, qualities and behaviours which will underpin our practice and ensure successful implementation of the strategic plan. Our group discuss various approaches and settle on aspire, relate and advance – to assist students to reach their aspirations through valuing relationships with them, industry and the community with the ultimate goal of advancing students’ capabilities.

Ara awards for 2015 are the presented for excellence in teaching in 5 categories with 2 winners in each:
New to teaching: Bernadette Muir and Kylie Short
Excellence in teaching through collaborative practice: Wendy Clarke
Excellence in teaching through integration of technology: Sue Deuchar, Mandy Gould and Steve Tomsett
Leadership in teaching and learning: Lee Ann Powell, Raewyn Tudor

Also organisational awards in the following:
Great Leader: Susan Woods
Star Player: Leonie Rasmussen
Team Player: Rimi Ellis and Marion Peawini
Sustainability: Pacific trades for Christchurch pilot project (Villi Burrow, Mick Cooke, John Kerrigan with David Dixon and Mark Hamilton)
Congratulations to all.

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