A professional development course for student services staff – growing our own

Dr Joanna Peters1, Mr Brendan Mosely2

1Griffith University, Nathan, Australia, 2University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Staff, and managers who work in Student Services in the tertiary sector (universities, VET) in Australia and New Zealand generally hold professional qualifications relevant to their role (education, social work, psychology, nursing, welfare, careers etc), and apply this training in their work with domestic and international students, students from diverse backgrounds, and students at all stages of their academic journey. Many have qualifications in more than one of these disciplines, and at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. However few hold qualifications that have been specifically designed and delivered for professionals in this context, unless they have enrolled in programs offered by institutions in the US or elsewhere overseas, either as formal study (eg Graduate Certificates or Masters in Student Affairs Practice or similar) or through on-line curse offerings (MOOCs).  While the importance of professional development in the form of on-the-job coaching/mentoring; professional networks/associations; professional reading/journals and general professional development is not contested, there has been, for some time, a call for an accredited professional development program specifically designed to meet the needs of Student Services practitioners in Australia and New Zealand, or at least a course that would offer credit towards a formal program of study.

This workshop will offer participants the opportunity to hear more about how ANZSSA has been progressing the development of a 10 CP for-credit course Student Support and Development, offered as an elective in a postgraduate qualification at an Australian university. Feedback will be sought about the alignment of the Course content with current trends in the sector in both countries, and with professional standards/competencies developed in the US and elsewhere for those working in student services/student affairs, along with participants’ ideas for promoting its uptake in the sector.


Joanna is currently the Director, Student Services at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Prior to working at Griffith, Joanna worked at the University of Queensland in the student support office, and before that in the VET sector in student services. Joanna has spent 30 years working in student support and development in post-secondary education, both as a practitioner and in management, and has been in a senior leadership position since 1993.  Joanna’s doctorate analysed leadership in student support and development services in Australia. She also holds postgraduate qualifications in psychology, counselling, education and management, building on undergraduate degrees in science, education, and arts.  Joanna is a Life Member of ANZSSA (Australian and NZ Student Services Association) having been part of the association for over 28 years. She was Co-Convenor for the ANZSSA Queensland Regional Group for four years, and earlier in her career was Secretary for ANZSSA (Qld).  She has also been a member of ATEM (Association of Tertiary Education Management) for 30 years, and of APSSA (Asia Pacific Student Services Association) for 10 years.  Joanna was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Leadership (Professional Staff) at Griffith in 2016.

Brendan is Director of Campus Life at the University of Auckland. Campus Life provides a wide range of student services including Sport and Recreation, Accommodation, Health and Counselling, campus retail and many others. Some are commercial in nature but all have the aim of enabling students to have a vibrant and engaging co-curricular experience alongside their studies.


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 anzssa.com.


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 www.isana.org.au.

Conference Managers

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