Mrs Karen Kemsley1
1Wintec, Hamilton, New Zealand
In 2018 the Centre for Languages at Wintec, catered for over 1000 international and domestic students from over 30 countries around the world, aged between 16 and 74. The range of student backgrounds and the struggles faced by sojourning students present a number of practical challenges. To support pastoral care, an Academic Counsellor (AC) role was created in 2011, and this evolved over time with the implementation of a number of processes to identify and support at-risk students. In this talk, I focus on one particular AC-led innovation: the development and outcomes of a 6-weekly teacher-student ‘check-in’ process, which has proved to be one of our most valuable tools for identifying at-risk learners. This includes a mechanism to ensure that the AC is informed of any concerns and kept appraised of developments and is then positioned to address issues through specialised and focused support. Where a student has been flagged as having an academic issue, collaborative support is put in place involving teaching staff, management and a number of support services within the Wintec and the wider community. Strong relationships have been established with student learning services, health and wellbeing practitioners and outside organisations such as the Red Cross. Several case studies are used to illustrate the strengths and limitations of the system. The session concludes with a number of recommendations around establishing an AC role and on implementing a similar check-in process.
Karen Kemsley is the Academic Counsellor at the Centre for Languages, Wintec, and provides opportunities for positive outcomes for every student. She is passionate pastoral care and ensuring all reasonable steps are taken to assist learners in achieving their goals.