Kia ora koutou, we are Akiaki Ākonga | Student Experience Team.
Student experience is a generic term many of you will be familiar with, so what does it mean to be the team with that term in our name?
To us, it means we live and breathe student experience! Everything we do is designed to engage and develop our students to thrive at UC and beyond, so they are people ‘prepared to make a difference’.
We are a team of four; our strength being the diverse backgrounds and experience we bring together at UC.
Jeni Moir leads the team. Jeni relocated from South Africa in 2001 from a successful career in tertiary teaching and academic development. Jeni’s psych and social work training, together with her film and television production experience, surfaces our best ideas to keep pace with the ever-changing student and tertiary environment.
Rose Reynolds joined the team in 2017. Originally from the USA, Rose is mother of two and now calls Ōtautahi home. Rose is a UC graduate in Sociology and Media & Communication, with a background in project coordination and brings to the team optimism, enthusiasm and ideas galore.
Janina Good has been part of the team since 2018. Janina moved to NZ from her native Germany to join her kiwi wine-maker husband, and now has a gorgeous bilingual kiwi daughter in-tow. Janina’s background includes language and secondary teaching and she contributes amazing attention to detail and an uncanny ability to get things done with incredible efficiency.
Jarred Skelton is our newest team member. Jarred joined the team in 2020 after seven years in primary teaching. Jarred completed CUP and a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary) at UC. Jarred moonlights as an improv-comedy expert, teller of dad-jokes, and brings joy to all. He is also an excellent meme-generator.
Akiaki Ākonga | Student Experience Team are involved in university-led initiatives to support student engagement, retention and success. Our key initiatives are:
We recruit, train and support over 50 student mentors annually whom are matched with new students at all levels of study, to support successful transition into UC.
A peer-to-peer group mentoring programme specifically for first-year students not living in the halls of residence. The programme is designed to optimise student success by facing challenges together and sharing strategies to combat common pitfalls.
A UC-sponsored leadership programme for recipients of the Horomata, Kaitoko Māori and Kaitoko Pasifika scholarships. Programme alumni support the team to provide participants with many experiences including service, workshops, social events and more.
Scholarship recipients from Auckland and Wellington receive a full-year programme of personal development opportunities and adventures exploring their new home Waitaha | Canterbury. They are mentored in small groups by GWC alumni and all live together in Tupuānuku hall in 2021.
Ākonga Leadership Incubator (ĀLI)
A professional development programme for student leaders who work as group mentors in ELDP, UniLife, and GWC. They develop their leadership profile and learn how to support their students in their transition from high school to university.
Pathways to Tertiary
The primary aim of this outreach programme into low socio-economic schools is to develop the confidence and ability of academically able students to enter and succeed in tertiary education. The main means of achieving this goal is regular peer mentoring and support engagements between UC Transition Mentors and selected senior students. The Team delivered a pilot into Linwood College during 2020 and plan to engage with two this year.
Akiaki Ākonga | Student Experience Team holds strongly to the UC vision of Tangata Tū, Tangata Ora | People Prepared to Make a Difference. Our particular contribution is advocating for a supportive campus environment that emphasises diversity, inclusion, wellbeing and belonging. We provide leadership and equity pathways: students in our programmes become student leaders, mentors, club leaders and UCSA exec members. Our team supports students’ personal and professional growth through our training workshops, so they can contribute to growing a nurturing and inspiring culture at UC.