Research collaborations: What are the benefits for Learning Advisors?

Mervyn Protheroe, Fiona Gail Breen, Cath Fraser, Victor Fester


Since its inception in 2008, Ako Aotearoa (Ako), the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, has funded numerous research and development projects, nationally and within the three Regional Hubs: Northern, Central and Southern. Many of the Association of Tertiary Learning Advisors of Aotearoa New Zealand (ATLAANZ) members have been involved at some level: as team leaders, members, participants and reviewers.  Their experience and learnings have been the subject of a number of conference presentations and papers. There is a natural link here, given that both organisations are focussed on improving outcomes for students and fostering excellence in tertiary teaching and learning. A further endorsement of this close alignment of purpose can be seen in Ako Aotearoa’s sponsorship of the annual conference over the last few years.

The research we are engaged on at present represents a first for Regional Hub projects, with a national evaluation of the strength and sustainability of inter-institutional collaborations receiving support from all three centres. Using our amendments to an established inventory tool for measuring effectiveness in teamwork, we have completed a survey of over 40 projects where members of multiple organisations cooperated to reach a successful, published completion of their work. This will be followed up with interviews to extend the data and allow us to research characteristics of collaborative teams. Above all we want to document and promote the benefits of involvement for team members during and after the initial project – and then to produce a good practice publication to assist future Regional Hub funding recipients. We believe the conference would be an excellent avenue for promoting the opportunities for inter-institutional research to the Learning Advisor fraternity and sharing strategies for effective interactive practice with internal and external colleagues.


Education, collaboration, research, tertiary

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