2019/2020 learning centre practice in Aotearoa New Zealand






Learning centre practice, tertiary learning advisors, professional status, Covid-19


Data on the services and staffing in tertiary learning centres are necessary for providing professional support for tertiary learning advisors (TLAs). Full scale surveys of Aotearoa New Zealand centres were conducted in 2008 and 2013, and in 2019, a third survey was conducted to explore whether the identified trends were continuing and whether there were any changes.  This survey was sent to managers and team leaders at 26 tertiary learning institutions in Aotearoa New Zealand. Four topics were investigated: 1) the professional status of TLAs; 2) learning centre organisation; 3) the services provided by TLAs; and 4) trends and changes since 2013. In 2020, when the lockdown resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic meant all centres had to cease operating face-to-face services for an extended period, some follow-up questions about the impact of Covid-19 were sent to the respondents of the 2019 survey. This report presents the five main findings of the 2019/2020 surveys, and provides comparisons with the previous surveys. First, more TLAs had postgraduate qualifications, and more TLAs were given general/professional contracts than academic contracts. Second, fewer learning centres were part of libraries or teaching and learning development units. Third, centres provided a similar range of services, with an increase in pastoral and wellbeing support. Fourth, services were more embedded, and more were delivered in online/blended modes, particularly since Covid-19. Lastly, changes in learning centres’ structures and service delivery were due to institutional financial pressure and student needs. We make some recommendations, including changing some questions in future surveys, updating the ATLAANZ professional practice document regularly, and implementing a TLA accreditation scheme in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Author Biographies

  • Dr Xiaodan Gao, Victoria University of Wellington

    Manager, Te Taiako Student Learning

  • Dr Julia Tanner, Massey University

    Pre-Reading Coordinator, Centre for Learner Success


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