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Tairāwhiti flavour woven into new degree

July 1, 2015
Florrie Brooking, lecturer of the new Bachelor of Social Work

Florrie Brooking, lecturer of the new Bachelor of Social Work

An opportunity for EIT Tairāwhiti to “completely rethink” how and what is delivered in its Bachelor of Social Work has been a breath of fresh air, according to EIT’s head of school for education and social science, Gwenda Kevern.

New Social Worker’s Registration Board policy requires degrees for social workers to be four years long from 2017.

EIT Tairāwhiti’s first four year degree will start in 2016.

“It’s not often you get the opportunity to completely redevelop your degree from scratch.”

EIT Tairāwhiti has been offering a Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree with a major in Social Work since 2004, and during that time it has been reviewed, changed and adjusted over the years.

“In redeveloping the degree, we consulted with people working in social services in Hawke’s Bay and Tairāwhiti, current students and graduates and academics.”

Teaching methods have been moved to more interactive and inquiry-based learning, and a new honours year will be offered in the fourth year of the degree.

“We also became aware of a real interest in post graduate qualifications in the social work area, particularly for our practitioners who are here and those who are working in the industry.”

A post graduate certificate will be developed later this year, with both a diploma and masters of social work option also likely in the future.

Florrie Brooking, EIT Tairāwhiti site coordinator for the Bachelor of Applied Social Sciences, has been involved with the diploma and degree for six years now.

“One of the benefits for us is that we have had a role in the creation and development of the programme,” says Ms Brooking. “Historically we have taught other degrees with limited input, but this is a first –it gives us the opportunity to add a Tairāwhiti flavour and ensure what is important to our community is part of the programme.”

Tairāwhiti is a very unique region.

“What we have is a huge cultural difference to many other cosmopolitan centres, and that bi-cultural strategy is now embedded in the programme. That is a real key for us.”

This is the last year EIT Tairāwhiti will offer the current degree, with 2016 heralding the first year of the new four year degree. Students who are part way through the old degree have the option of cross-crediting to the new one.

“It’s an incredibly exciting time for our whole community.”