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Unitec’s student engagement and satisfaction at an all-time high

Unitec’s key indicator of student engagement, its Student Net Promoter Score (NPS), has recorded a return to its best-ever result of 43 for new students and 23 for returning students.

Director of Student Success Annette Pitovao said that the high result for Semester 1 this year was particularly gratifying, given the challenging disruptions of COVID-19. 
 
Ms Pitovao said that despite the challenges, Unitec’s key focus had been the success and wellbeing of its students, and this was clearly demonstrated in the survey results. 
 
“This is a significant and positive outcome,” she said. “It demonstrates better outcomes for our students, who are fully engaged in their learning and experiencing a supportive and caring learning environment.” 
 
“Unitec is committed to providing an environment where all students have an equal opportunity to achieve their academic potential,” Ms Pitovao added. “Although COVID has continued to present challenges, we’ve been able to respond in a manner that ensured student outcomes were maintained at a high level.
 
“It's important that we continue to extend and promote the pastoral and academic support networks we have in place at Unitec as we transition to Te Pūkenga, and that we continue to exercise kaitiakitanga and manaakitanga in everything we do,” said Ms Pitovao.
 
The results tracked well against the Tertiary Education NPS benchmark of 20* and comparative sector levels, including other tertiary institutions. 
 
Of the 1,871 students who completed the  survey, new students gave a variety of reasons for their positive NPS scores, including saying they felt welcomed, supported and enjoyed class. Satisfaction with the range of student support services on offer at Unitec was high – including the Pacific Centre, Te Noho Kotahitanga marae and Te Puna Waiora health centre – while satisfaction with student culture and course structure also increased.  
 
For new students, both a sense of belonging and goal orientation are at their highest levels over the past three years.
 
Positivity for choosing to study at Unitec is at an all-time high, with one respondent saying:
 
“Having studied at multiple locations, I can honestly say there is no other place like Unitec. Not only is the support from lecturers and learning advisors helpful but also the overall environment and kaupapa of Unitec makes it stand out from the rest.”
 
Unitec’s School of Community Studies was the highest performing School in the biannual student survey, followed by Trades & Services. 
 
The School of Architecture recorded the highest increase in student satisfaction and engagement, with the Schools of Environmental and Animal Sciences and Applied Business also seeing large gains.
 
Most priority groups – Māori, Pasifika, Under-25s and International students – remained stable with Disability added as a priority group for the first time this semester.  The number of students identifying as having some form of disability on enrolment increased this year, and Unitec is currently working on a joint disability strategy with MIT; the first time this has been developed from an Auckland-wide perspective. 
 
As a move to drive equitable outcomes for its Māori students and communities, Unitec and MIT appointed Keith Ikin (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Apakura) as Pou Hautu earlier this year; the first tertiary education provider in Aotearoa to appoint a Māori co-leader. At the time of Mr Ikin’s appointment, Unitec’s Director of Māori Success, Toni Vaughan, said that she hoped the newly-created role and the mana it carried would become a template for vocational education and other public sector organisations throughout Aotearoa.
 

NPS scores from Semester 1, 2019 – Semester 1, 2022

 

Sem 1
2019

Sem 2
2019

Sem 1
2020

Sem 2 2020

Sem 1 2021

Sem 2 2021

Sem 1 2022

Returning student NPS

8

12

19

23

22

20

23

New student NPS

36

34

33

38

36

43

43

 
The Student NPS survey is sent via email and SMS to all students enrolled in formal programmes with Unitec in Week 6 of the semester. For data consistency, Unitec splits reporting of Student NPS into new and returning students. The NPS metric is calculated as per the industry standard for NPS whereby Unitec students rate how likely they are to recommend studying at Unitec to a friend, colleague or family member on a scale where 0=not at all likely and 10=extremely likely. 
 
The Student NPS is the proportion of students who rate 9-10 minus the proportion who rate 0-6.
 
*Tertiary Education (assumed new and returning) NPS = 20. Perceptive customer monitor, New Zealand NPS® Industry Benchmarks 2020 report.