Recently-appointed Tairāwhiti campus director Jan Mogford has picked up on ‘a real buzz’ about new programmes to become available as a result of the merger with the Eastern Institute of Technology.
A well-known and respected local, Jan is very excited about the newly-created post, heading some 118 staff at the Gisborne campus.
Starting as a tutor, she has become increasingly involved in management during her 15 years at Tairāwhiti Polytechnic – as programme coordinator, section head and then Head of School Rural and Trades.
She is currently responsible for all the programmes within the Schools of Business, Humanities, Rural and Trades.
Now, in the more comprehensive role of campus director, her vision is to ensure the newly-merged organisation focuses on common goals and aspirations – rather than those of the two separate identities of Tairāwhiti Polytechnic and EIT Hawke’s Bay.
‘I will be ensuring the integration into EIT is effective,’ she says. ‘It’s about working with the community, and using the opportunities for higher-level EIT programmes to benefit the community here.’
Jan concedes that, in a close community, there has inevitably been speculation about who might fill the role of campus director. Pleased to have been offered the position, she is positive about the challenges ahead.
‘I believe EIT’s presence and programmes will be welcomed, and we’ll be looking to the community for feedback on other study options they would like to see offered here. We will certainly be aiming to meet the needs of stakeholders and our community.’
Over the years, Tairāwhiti Polytechnic has run programmes for students living as far north as Hicks Bay and Te Kaha – ‘which is pretty much as far as you can go up the East Coast’ – to Tokomaru and Tolaga Bays, Gisborne, inland to Raupunga, and south to Wairoa and even Hawke’s Bay itself.
‘As a result of the merger, we will be able to offer degrees. People will be able to study these without leaving the district, and those who live up the coast will have access to programmes not available to them before.’
Jan clearly holds the community close to her heart and is delighted that she will have an expanded role in fostering opportunities for tertiary education in the Tairāwhiti region.
Jan’s family emigrated from Britain and settled in the South Island, where she attended Ashburton College. Since then she’s lived mainly in the North Island, including Hamilton and Turangi, where she managed supermarkets. Prior to working at the polytechnic, Jan owned her own business and managed a large business store in Gisborne.
Tairāwhiti, she has found, is a good community where everybody knows each other.
‘The weather’s great and the beaches are perfect.’
Jan sees the evolution of tertiary education in Tairāwhiti as adding yet another exciting dimension to the region.
‘We have a really good group of staff who have been waiting for this merger to take effect. They are eager to get on with it,’ she says, ‘and to do their best for the students and the community.’