Tertiary Learning Advisors in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Part 3): Why do we stay?

Caitriona Cameron


Defining and re-defining identity is important for any profession, particularly so for tertiary learning advisors (TLAs) in the increasingly uncertain tertiary education environment in Aotearoa New Zealand.  In the past ten years, two national surveys of learning centres in tertiary institutions sketched the professional status of TLAs, based on data from managers; there has been little research, however, on individual TLAs’ perspectives of their professional status.  This special issue, ‘Identity and Opportunity’, reports on a project designed to address that gap, in three parts: building a professional profile, acknowledging learning advisors’ contribution, and rewards and challenges of the role.  The findings indicate that TLAs are highly qualified and experienced but – for many – their skills and experience are not adequately recognised by institutions.  There are significant barriers to progression within their institution, stemming mainly from organisational policies.  Despite that lack of clear career opportunities, and other frustrations, overall satisfaction with the TLA role is high.  Underpinning the findings, however, are issues of identity and recognition that should be addressed to ensure a resilient profession.



professional identity; tertiary learning advisor; higher education; career; job satisfaction

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