Connectivity through sharing of culture: The Global Communicators Program

Ms Melissa Zaccagnini1, Ms Sharon Twyford1

1University Of Wollongong, , Australia

The Global Communicators Program (GCP) is a community of University of Wollongong students who are passionate about being global citizens. This centralised model is facilitated by senior students and provides connections among students who are interested in exploring diverse cultures, transiting to/ from a new country and developing global networks. By endeavoring to foster an environment of mutual gain for both domestic and international students, it is an exceptional non – remedial environment in which International and non- English speaking background students can practice their English conversation skills. Each GCP session involves peer-facilitated conversation around topics that allow cultural sharing by students – capitalising on the diverse backgrounds represented in the UOW community. All activities have been designed by the student leaders since the commencement of the program. GCP also aims to complement students’ formal studies, by enhancing understanding of other cultures and experiences in cross-cultural communication. Since 2012, the program has delivered over 10, 000 contact hours to more than 1,500 students representing 63 countries.

In this workshop, the presenters will offer a brief snapshot of the history and growth of GCP at UOW. They will then facilitate an interactive GCP session, in order to practically demonstrate some of the successful strategies and activities that have been designed by the GCP Facilitator teams. Finally, the presenters will offer insights into how to manage an institution wide peer based program to support cultural learning and connection among students from diverse cultures.


Sharon Twyford is the Coordinator of the Global Communicators Program team at the University of Wollongong.


Beyond University – strategies to engage your students in real world experiences

Rachel Howard1, Tempe Archer1

1Student Experience and Career Development, ANU

Abstract for ISANA Conference- Non-Refereed Workshop

The Student Experience and Career Development Team work closely with students and student societies to build links between students and the wider community. At this workshop we will demonstrate how we help students build links between them and the wider community through developing their networking skills. You will have the opportunity to engage in activities we run with students which enable them to reflect on and then articulate the skills they gain from the volunteering opportunities they have participated in as part of the ANU+ program.


Tempe Archer works is the Acting Manager of the Student Experience and Career Development Team and works as a Careers Consultant at ANU. She is currently completing a Masters Philosophy focused on social policy issues.
Working in Strategic HR in the Australian Public Service and Local Government in addition to working as a Human Capital Consultant with Deloitte.
Tempe is passionate about helping to foster the capabilities of students regarding their career development and employability throughout university and following graduation. Tempe has been enthusiastically involved in programs for disadvantaged students ensuring equal access to students from all backgrounds and in developing and delivering tailored initiatives for colleges and residences.

Rachel Howard is the new Industry and Employer Relationships Consultant with Student Experience and Career Development at ANU. She recently lead the successful launch of a ANU+, a new program to increase graduate employability and develop students’ skills through volunteering. Rachel previously worked with ASPIRE@UNSW, a program to raise awareness and aspiration for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to higher education and in student experience and engagement at the University of Wollongong. She has also been a performer and facilitator of education programs, and a laughter yoga practitioner with Camp Quality.

Spinning the web: How we foster successful connections among internal and external stakeholders

Ms Jieyan (Mera) Tan1, Dr Chelsea Blickem2

1The University Of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, 2The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

The University of Waikato in Hamilton, Waikato, New Zealand, is well-resourced to offer a unique university education experience through its connections within the region, the local community, the local iwi and through its many and extensive international relationships. The university motto ‘Ko  Te Tangata’, translates as ‘For the People’, which reflects our philosophy that we are in, of, and for the community.

Waikato Pathways College within the University provides a number of pre-degree programmes for both international and domestic students. Our focus within our local communities is balanced and enhanced  by our commitment to internationalisation. We celebrate the diversity of our students and staff, take pride in our reputation and commitment to pastoral care, and the measures we take through programme design and global networks to develop students as global citizens while enhancing their cultural competence.

This presentation will report on a number of case studies which showcase our multiple local and international connections and exemplifies our dealings with students from different backgrounds, cultures and study goals. Te Ara Ki Angitu: Pathways to Excellence is a new high school transition programme designed to make University study more accessible for students in the Waikato region. The Game On English programme combines English language with rugby. Programmes funded by government agencies combine English with management studies. The NZ Aid Scholarship scheme is a successful example of international connections and partnerships. Within each of these case studies we will consider student feedback on experiences and outcomes. We will examine and define what success means for these cohorts and from an institutional perspective. We will conclude with key recommendations that we believe are critical in building, maintaining and enhancing local and international connections with the key goal being enhanced learning experience and success.


Mera Tan is the Academic Student Advisor at Pathways College, the University of Waikato. Pathways College offers Academic English Language programmes and they are designed to improve the language skills of international students and prepare them for university study. Mera has more than 10 years experience in working directly with international students, providing enrolment, academic learning support and pastoral care. Her work at the University has been an exciting and rewarding blend of intercultural communication, administration and advocacy.

Mera holds a  Postgraduate Diploma in International Communication and has been an active ISANA member since 2008, and recently completed a course at Victoria University, Wellington in International Education.

Transforming education spaces for Pasifika – implementing a Pasifika Resource Kit within 3 tertiary institutions in Canterbury

Pauline Luafutu-Simpson1,  Ashalyna Noa1, Sam Uta’I2

1University of Canterbury
2ARA Institute

‘O le upega e fili i le po, ’ae talatala i le ao’ (The net that became entangled in the night will be disentangled in the light of day).

According to the NZ Tertiary Education Commission (2017: 7), Pasifika tertiary course completion rates have improved overall, but continue to be below that of non-Māori and non-Pasifika. From 2006-2015, the Pasifika course completion rate at Level 7 and above increased from 68% to 75%, while non-Māori and non-Pasifika completion rates increased from 85% to 89%. From 2006-2014, we see similar disparities in qualification completion rates. The Pasifika qualification completion rate at Level 7 and above (60%) was 23 percentage points below the non-Māori and non-Pasifika completion rate (83%). The understanding of effective teaching and learning strategies as well as effective culturally responsive pastoral care to support Pasifika students at tertiary institutions is critical if educational institutions are to aim for increased Pasifika success within their institutions.

A Pasifika Resource Kit was developed as a result of the findings from the main research project and the ensuing report – (Change Strategies in enhancing Pasifika Success in 3 Tertiary Institutions in Canterbury). The collective Pasifika student voice from the three institutions were the building blocks in the development of this resource kit.

Three areas recommended for transformative change to support Pasifika success were identified in the AKO research project – Transforming academic spaces, improving student services and Pasifika visibility. Recommendations around these areas formed the basis for this particular Pasifika Success Resource kit. The team successfully responded to an Ako Aotearoa RFP for funding from the National Project Fund and are currently engaged in the implementation and evaluation process of the toolkit.

This workshop will be interactive and an opportunity to unpack this particular Pasifika resource kit with the hopes that this will add to, build on, encourage and/or affirm current practices in the transformation of learning spaces within tertiary institutions for Pasifika students. Feedback and discussion is welcomed.


Ashalyna Noa- Kaiārahi Pasifika (Ako Project) University of Canterbury
Ashalyna is a New Zealand born Samoan, raised in Auckland and Christchurch. Ashalyna is currently working as Kaiārahi Pasifika (Ako Project) with the UC Pacific Development Team and studying towards her PhD at the Macmillan Brown Centre for Pacific Studies. Ashalyna is an executive member of P.A.C.I.F.I.C.A Inc and Christchurch Branch and has a passion to work with Pacific communities. She is also a proud foundation member of the Pacific Youth Leadership and Transformation (PYLAT) Council who support Pasifika youth to participate in democracy and access leadership opportunities.

Sam Uta’i – Senior Academic Ara Institute of Canterbury
Sam is descendant of Sā Tu’u’ū & Sā Vaeafē. Born in Auckland, Sam finally settled in Otautahi/Christchurch and has been working at Ara for the last 20 years.
An advocate for Pacific peoples’ and Sam has been active in Pasefika development & education and her work with women.

Pauline Luafutu-Simpson – Acting Director Pasifika Development University of Canterbury
Pauline is a Samoan Kiwi (SAKI) born in Grey Lynn Auckland. Her family moved to Christchurch when she was 9 years old. Pauline was sent to attend school in Samoa as a teenager for three and a half years and attributes that as being a significant ‘game changer’ for her.
As well as working at the University of Canterbury, Pauline has a small company -G.R.A.C.E Unlimited Ltd and together with her husband develops and delivers cultural responsive training for staff and professionals from Education, Health and Community services. Pauline has always had an active interest in Education for Pasifika learners and Pasifika Community Development initiatives. Pauline is also currently enrolled as a PhD Candidate with MBC.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.