South Island Tertiary Forum: A focus on supporting diverse learners

Follow up workshop: 10th of August 2017

The South Island Tertiary Forum was held recently at Lincoln University. The forum has a health and wellbeing focus for South Island tertiary institutions and collaboratively organised by local tertiary staff and students in conjunction with Community and Public Health, CDHB.

The focus of this May’s South Island Tertiary Forum was on supporting diverse learners, in particular Māori, Pasifika, LGBTIQ+ and students with disabilities. This is of much interest to tertiary institutions given the difficulties and lower completion rates of these student groups in tertiary education. 

Presentations included both professional and student perspectives from these communities. This was followed with discussion groups to engage participants with the challenges and opportunities in each area.

Seventy five people attended this South Island Tertiary Forum, reflecting the high level of interest in the topic. Participants came from six South Island universities, polytechnics and institutes of technology and included a wide range of staff from health, student support, teaching and management, as well as students.

The South Island Tertiary Forum is organised at no cost to participants, with support received by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and the hosting campus. Evaluations from participants have been very positive.

The forum is going to be followed by a series of free regional workshops in Christchurch to provide more in-depth training to increase awareness of and approaches to supporting diverse learners on campus. The first workshop will be a free half-day workshop on supporting LGBTIQ+ students on campus is planned for Thursday morning 10th August at the University of Canterbury. A workshop supporting students with disabilities will be organised later this year and one early in 2018 will focus on suicide awareness and prevention.