Q + A series: Celebrating 35 years of NZTC
As New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) celebrates 35 years, we talk to some of the people who have shaped the college into what it is today.
After nearly 20 years at NZTC, Chief Executive Selena Fox has a wealth of college knowledge. She shares below how the college has evolved over the years, the initiatives she is proudest of, and what makes NZTC special in her eyes.
How has NZTC changed since you began working here in 1998?
In 1998 we had an awesome staff team of around 25 people that was focused on delivering our Diploma of Teaching (ECE) via face-to-face and field based learning with beginning distance learning steps. In those days, distance learning was a large envelope arriving on your doorstep full of paper for learning. We did our best to build community and keep connected with our students in times of a landline phone, a fax machine, and assessments posted in the mail.
Today we have a staff team that is four times the size of awesomeness, we have study that is offered face-to-face, in blended ways, and creatively online with the same clear focus of community building, and we have a commitment beyond New Zealand to support learning offshore with students studying with us from around the world.
What is it about NZTC that drives you every day?
The vision that our team members can turn people’s dreams into reality and our ability to hear the voices of our community sharing their thoughts and needs, as well as our graduates and their loved ones’ faces when they achieve their NZTC goals.
And after 20 years still waking each day to know we have fresh opportunity together at every turn.
What initiative are you most proud of implementing during your time at NZTC?
After nearly 20 years it’s impossible to pick one. Here are just a few...
- Being the first private college in New Zealand to progress our teaching diploma to a degree for our early childhood community.
- Dreaming, being bold enough to create, and launching ecelearn/NZTC Online - our online learning environment that changed the access to learning for students throughout NZ and overseas overnight. I will always remember these days as the days Chip Donohue and I believed we needed to create a learning environment uniquely designed for our early childhood teachers and learners that was simple yet robust, effective and flexible, yet not full of marketing ads, bells and whistles, and, above all else, helped to create a community online for our learners. I will always be grateful for the incredible, ahead-of-their-time development team that brought this crazy idea together from the very first line of code written and our first online students and lecturers who moved forward with us. Ten years ago this was rather radical and it was definitely not what was known, comfortable and expected as it is today.
- Supporting our NZTC team to identify and establish our four NZTC values of Vision, Heart, Competence and Spirit in 2006.
- Reaching out across the world in 2007 to establish NZTC India in support of teachers who care and educate young children in Mumbai, and now throughout India.
- Establishing formally our Jagriti Children’s Home in the same year – taking our support of children in India to new places.
- Establishing our annual Global Leadership Summit days for our NZTC team members as our annual commitment to leadership development for our team members.
- The hundreds of initiatives that have come out of following the gifts and talents of our team members, seeing incredible members of our NZTC staff team over the years grow and develop to achieve their own personal and professional goals, and constantly learning from listening to our student voices.
Why is Values Month so important for NZTC and what is it that you love about it?
Because year after year, initiative after initiative, these four NZTC values continue to speak clearly in real and everyday ways to us as our guiding lights.
Our Values Month is a tradition now on our NZTC calendar that gives us permission to take time in our days together to reflect on how they make a difference to the work we do and the people we are blessed to share time with.
Our four values were defined by our NZTC team in 2006 and to this day they walk with us through our teaching and learning, our college highlights and our challenges. They have been my guiding lights from an everyday college conversation, to the launch of some of our history-making projects, to establishing traditions and creating memories.
I love not just that we have four values that hold the bar high, but that they also work together in their specific order to lead us forward.
First with VISION… we look ahead and in doing so we know where to go (and where not to go).
Followed so closely by HEART… we hold our relationships with each other dear - our students, our clients and the children we serve.
Then comes the needed COMPETENCE... we dig deeper and strive higher.
And all surrounded by SPIRIT... we are reminded who we are, why we are committed to our purpose each day and prompted to reach our full potential.
Today they are woven throughout all we do. They have guided the establishment of initiatives and NZTC commitments over the years that include the establishment of our Pastoral Support Team.
What’s your favourite NZTC value?
A hard one for me as I have a different close affinity to each value, but if I had to choose one I would have to say VISION. Without it leading the way with thoughts, ideas and dreams, we may not reach to Heart, Competence and Spirit to really make the difference needed and achieve our fullest potential.
What makes NZTC special?
That to this day, 35 years after the vision of NZTC was inspired into reality, we still have the gift of our visionary founders and Board continuing to lead the way through their commitment to our mission, our values, our special characteristics and to ultimately providing outstanding education.
Where do you think NZTC will be in another 35 years?
Being known globally as the instigator, the enabler, the launch opportunity for our graduates and their families, for our team members and their loved ones, and the communities in which we are gifted the opportunity to serve through our focus on globally recognised NZ quality teaching and learning opportunities made accessible, flexible and relevant to students wherever in the world they call home.
Touching lives in all corners of the world through sharing Vision, Heart, Competence and Spirit in the ways we do best - through education initiatives, relationships and inspiring life outcomes for those we do life with.