New Zealand's National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence
Our vision is the best possible educational outcomes for all learners. Our work towards this vision focuses on building strong and collaborative relationships with tertiary organisations, practitioners and learners to enhance the effectiveness of tertiary teaching and learning practices.
From 2010 on, the following strategic themes guide our work towards tertiary teaching excellence:
- Enhancing service standards of tertiary organisations and aspiring to excellence
- Evidence-based enhancement of practice at the individual and organisational levels
- Strategic and sustainable support for Māori educators and learners within an Ako Framework
- Supporting Pacific Peoples’ advancement through tertiary education
- Hearing and acting on the learner voice
- Working in partnership and maximising leverage across the tertiary sector for learner benefit
- Promoting discussion and debate about the enhancement of tertiary teaching and learning.
Through a focus on enhancing the effectiveness of tertiary teaching and learning practices, Ako Aotearoa will assist educators and organisations to enable the best possible educational outcomes for all learners.
Our use of the Māori word ‘Ako’ reflects our view that teaching and learning are two interactive parts of the whole education experience:
- Learning should be active – learners have responsibilities as well as rights.
- Teachers modify and improve their practice by interacting with active learners.
Ako Aotearoa is committed to becoming a treaty-based organisation, embracing the principles of te Tiriti o Waitangi. We aspire to become a bicultural organisation and are guided by Te Tauākī Ako, our Ako Framework developed in discussion with our Māori Caucus.
Ako Aotearoa leads the drive to establish what counts as good and effective tertiary teaching in Aotearoa, New Zealand and to make it happen, so that teaching is better, is better valued and produces better outcomes for learners and the nation.
Ako Aotearoa has been established to support New Zealand’s tertiary education organisations and educators to meet these wide-ranging challenges. A key starting point for us is that because of these complexities, there is no single solution for the enhancement of tertiary teaching and learning. Good practice and tertiary teaching excellence in many forms.
With this in mind, our aims are three-fold:
- to ensure that all tertiary learners enjoy good and worthwhile experiences when they embark on tertiary study,
- to ensure that every learner has the maximum opportunity to complete their studies successfully, and
- to nurture and sustain both teaching excellence and excellent teachers.
Ako Aotearoa will ensure an inclusive approach as we proactively seek to address issues in all tertiary learning contexts.
We believe there is much that different parts of the sector can learn from each other and will work across the whole tertiary sector, involving adult and community education, institutes of technology and polytechnics, other tertiary education providers, private tertiary education providers, universities, wānanga and workplace learning.
In this way we will look to add value to organisations where initiatives to support effective teaching and learning outcomes are already underway and work to build capability for similar programmes where they may not yet be available.
To meet our commitments, Ako Aotearoa will build effective relationships with three stakeholder groups:
- organisations (including tertiary education organisations, government agencies, employers and unions)
- educators (including staff engaged in learning support, iwi development and workplaces)
- learners (through learner representative bodies).
How Ako Aotearoa can help you
At Ako Aotearoa we are guided by our values and principles. These identify who we are and how we work. In all our operations we will:
- focus on learner outcomes
- be evidence-based
- strive for excellence
- be accessible and responsive to diverse interests and perspectives
- look for and foster innovation
- be an independent voice for effective teaching and learning
- draw on international perspectives where appropriate
- take a leadership role.
Ako Aotearoa will work in partnership with those organisations and individuals already involved in researching and promoting good teaching practice and the scholarship of teaching and learning – that is, tertiary teaching excellence. We will identify and promote effective practice, and will assess ways in which demonstrably successful ideas in one learning context may be applied equally successfully in another.