Courses not Hutt bound – Sowry
Concerns Whitireia courses could be relocated to Petone if a proposed partnership with WelTec goes ahead are unfounded and student feedback about the arrangement has been exclusively positive, the Whitireia chairman says.
Roger Sowry, who is chairman of the board of both Whitireia polytechnic and Petone-based WelTec, recently announced both tertiary providers have begun consultation on a ‘‘strategic partnership’’ that was likely to include a combined academic board and allow staff and resources to be shared.
But a staff member at the Porirua campus, who asked not to be named, said management were not addressing practical concerns raised by staff, and students could find their classes relocated across the region.
Courses shifted between Porirua and Petone would seriously disadvantage students who had to travel between the two, since transport between the cities was problematic, he said.
‘‘You can do the first year of the [IT] degree at two campuses, but after that . . . the implication is that you can do your first year degree at Whitireia, but you have to go to WelTec to do the second year.
‘‘People [from Porirua] are not going to go over to Petone.’’
Mr Sowry said staff and students were being fully consulted about the proposal and there were no plans to shift any courses between Porirua and Petone.
‘‘No one has talked about that at all, and we can’t put any more students on the Petone site, it’s just full. You can’t just move funding places from one institution to another – it’s impossible, we are not allowed to.
‘‘We are much more interested in the staff movement between campuses and teaching on each other’s campuses, so the students don’t have to move. That makes more sense than moving whole classes of students.’’
However, he alluded to the potential for courses to be shifted to or from the Whitireia Wellington campus, saying the partnership allowed the potential to strengthen and develop on Whitireia’s Centres of Excellence – sites which house courses of a similar focus, such as the strong group of health courses at Whitireia Porirua, creative arts and media subjects at Whitireia Wellington, and trades at WelTec.
Courses such as WelTec’s certificate in special effects and makeup artistry could be shifted to the creative Wellington site so they could benefit from staff and students housed at one centre to ‘‘ share ideas’’, he said.
Kapi-Mana News has been told of concerns among some students that fewer places will be available for Whitireia and WelTec students progressing to consecutive years of study in the same course.
But Mr Sowry said no courses, or places on courses, would be lost as a direct result of the partnership.
Students who attended meetings about the partnership have been very positive, he said. He was not aware of any concerns.
Students had indicated a combined academic board, which would allow qualifications and achievements to be cross-credited between institutions, was important to them, and were excited about having access to resources on other campuses such as libraries, computers and the ability to submit assignments, Mr Sowry said.
Whitireia provided a discounted bus service between Petone and Porirua and the polytech was looking into ways to strengthen students’ access to public transport, he said.
Whitireia Independent Students’ Association president Mahia Fuimaono said students had been positive about having further access to resources, and she was not aware of any concerns.
Submissions on the partnership close on July 31.