Learning Skills Tutor Barbara Morris has capped off her long career at WITT Te Pūkenga with a lifetime membership award to ATLAANZ (Association of Tertiary Learning Advisors Aotearoa New Zealand), the professional body she helped grow.
“This is really monumental for me – I feel really humbled and very privileged to join those that ATLAANZ honoured in the past,” says Barbara.
Barbara’s history with ATLAANZ dates back to 1999 when she attended the second gathering of TLCANZ in Nelson. She has been an active member ever since, including seven years as National Secretary, attending conferences and regional hui, presenting papers, publishing articles, and even running a conference for members herself in Taranaki.
“I was delighted and honoured to present the Life Membership Award to Barbara on behalf of the ATLAANZ Executive. Barbara has mentored ATLAANZ members (including me) over the years and is passionate about the role we, as Learning Advisors, play in the success and retention of ākonga alongside kaiako,” says WITT Te Pūkenga Lead Te Whare Mātauranga Bridget Knuckey.
A trained primary and SPELD teacher, Barbara first worked as a learning advisor in 1986 before joining WITT Te Pūkenga, then Taranaki Polytech, in December 1990.
“I developed the WITT Learning Centre and worked on my own for approximately 10 years. I got intermittent help between 2010 and 2015 when Gary picked up maths and Bridget came on board part time. Last year we finally built our team of five,” says Barbara.
During her time at WITT she completed two post grad diplomas (Special Education and Adult Education) and her Masters.
“My educational history, where I learnt a lot about failure – failed school C English and UE twice – but then gained a first-class honours for my masters, taught me that one’s past track record does not necessarily determine your future.”
A sentiment she has shared with all her students, both past and present.
Having notched up 31 years at WITT Te Pūkenga, Barbara is retiring at the end of the year.
“We’re sorry to see Barbara go, but she always puts ākonga first and is the first to say ‘I’ll do it!’ if ākonga need additional awhi, so I am pleased she’ll be putting herself first now.”