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It isn’t just about producing graduates but also equipping them to be active in the real world out there and contribute to the national development of Samoa.

Even more significant is creating that distinction between being a graduate of the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) and that of an overseas higher education institution

Embedding that samoan-ness into what constitutes a holistic Graduate Profile (G.P.) of a person completing higher and technical studies at N.U.S.

For that graduate profile to complete there is a range of stakeholders involved in that process of developing a statement of general attributes expected of all N.U.S. graduates.  They include current and former students and staff as well as the industry whom are the employers.

Most have graduated in the past from overseas institutions that have gone through the Foundation Programme or known as the University Preparatory Year (U.P.Y) as the springboard.

So whether the university did well in preparing local students for higher academic and technical studies is unquestionable as most have gone on to become leaders in government, civil society, in the church as well as the business community.

Since the academic audit early this year and a senior staff retreat was held in August, the need to develop a G.P. was called for.  Coupled with the establishment of the newly set up Academic Quality Unit (A.Q.U), one of its immediate tasks now is to look at packaging the university’s G.P.

“The purpose of this process is to develop a profile of general attributes expected of a NUS graduate, which will inform programme and course development and assessment in the future,” Tea Tepora Fuimaono Wright, Director of A.Q.U said. “The development of a graduate profile which summarises the general professional, intellectual and personal attributes expected of an NUS graduate reflects the direction of higher education in the region and in the world, which is to focus on how universities will prepare graduates to engage with and contribute positively to their communities and workplaces.”

Now, the university’s G.P is open for comment from all stakeholders to better describe the attributes, or knowledge skills and attitudes, which the N.U.S community intends its students to develop throughout their period of study.

“The draft graduate profile is really a start, for all to comment on, before a final version is agreed. Faculties will then be invited to develop a model for embedding the graduate profile in their faculty programmes and courses, alongside university-wide measures for ensuring the graduate attributes are acquired,” Tea added.

The attributes reflect the general attributes needed for an NUS student to equip them for employment or further education.

“The Academic Quality Unit (AQU) of the NUS is also working together with the N.U.S Students Association to engage students in the discussion with final comments due by the end of October. Comments and feedback from employers, graduates and stakeholders will also be invited during the month of October.”

Following deliberations within the management and senior staff members of what the G.P. would present, there are always challenges as to the quality of incoming students to the university level that may infringe the specified and much needed attributes for N.U.S.

Nonetheless the university is moving towards preparing students to become more embracing of every opportunity out there.  It would be about providing the best flexible learning environment given the limited resources on how to prioritise and hone all attributes.

“At the end of the day, the NUS graduate is expected to make a positive contribution to their workplace and community, now and in the future.”

So what is the Proposed Graduate Profile?

A graduate of the N.U.S will be distinguished by their knowledge of their chosen field of study, their ability to communicate and cooperate in a bilingual environment, their readiness for the workplace and their desire for continuous learning and personal development.

The university prepares its graduates to have the following attributes:

PROFESSIONAL ATTRIBUTES

1.     Advanced knowledge and skills in their field of study

2.     Respect for the principles, values and ethics of their chosen profession

3.     Ability to effectively use information and communication technology

4.     Ability to work independently and in collaboration with others

5.     A professional global outlook grounded in the local context

6.     Understanding and respect for Samoan history and culture

INTELLECTUAL ATTRIBUTES

7.     Capacity for critical, conceptual and reflective thinking

8.     Intellectual integrity and respect for the ethics of research

9.     Ability to locate, evaluate and organise information to solve problems

10.Ability to communicate effectively in Samoan and English

11.Understanding of current issues and debates in their field of study

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES

12.Commitment to learning, inclusiveness, life and diversity

13.Integrity and awareness of what constitutes ethical behaviour

14.Self-discipline and commitment to excellence

15.A sense of social and environmental responsibility

 

The draft NUS Graduate Profile is now open for comment from staff, students and graduates, employers, and stakeholders. The closing date for comments is Friday 30th October 2015. Comments are welcomed via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or in hard copy to Tea Tepora Wright through the N.U.S Administration Building reception desk.

For more information about the Graduate Profile, visit N.U.S. website www.nus.edu.ws, Facebook www.facebook.com/TheNationalUniveristyofSamoaor twitter.com@NUSSamoa

Preparing N.U.S. graduates to be active in the real world.

 

 

The recent appointment of Peseta Dr Desmond Mene Lee-Hang as the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) at the National University of Samoa (NUS) is a step in the right direction for NUS as Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects continue to be an area where most countries in the world are facing shortages in both teachers and qualified human resource. Having a science person in this top position would enable the university put in place appropriate strategies and make informed decisions based on empirical and reliable data to mobilise resources to ensure that the Government of Samoa's emphasis on STEM subjects is addressed at NUS.  

The DVC leads the university’s academic programmes and research as well as the institution’s overarching mission of being locally and internationally recognised. The DVC reports to the Vice-Chancellor (VC) and also provides support and advice to assist the VC in the overall running of the university, the DVC also represents the VC in official engagements to enhance the profile of the University both locally and abroad.

Peseta is a science teacher by profession, he has admitted upon confirmation of his appointment that he accepts it with the knowledge that it comes with a lot of challenges. He brings with him valuable administrative experience and skills as the former Dean of the Faculty of Science (NUS). He also admitted that this new position is a whole new ball-game with a much broader area of responsibility and a whole lot of key performance indicators to be achieved as set out in the NUS Strategic and Corporate Plans.

“I intend to assist the university in terms of putting in place measures to enhance efficiency across faculties and look into innovative ways to enable faculties to enhance the quality of their teaching, learning and assessment practices,” Peseta said.  “I intend to support the Vice Chancellor’s vision by ensuring that systems that we have in place enhances efficiency given our limited financial resources and enhances the quality and relevance of our academic programmes (including STEM) to the human resource needs of Samoa.”

The former Dean of the Faculty of Science and a senior lecturer has been a science teacher since 1996.  He is actively involved in the VEX Robotics Schools Competition in Samoa, because he believes that a lot more interventions has been done recently by our Government to improve science and maths though the training of teachers and we also need to directly target students as well. Although Peseta has moved into a more administrative role at the university, he believes that the VEX robotics programme is important in inspiring our young people to take up an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects as a career path.

“If you want the best teacher in science, you need to start with the best student,” he added.  “The aim of the VEX Robotics programme is to inspire the young generation to have a passion for science and technology.”

That same inspiration is reflected in Peseta’s further comments about his new appointment.

“It was received with a bit of apprehension on my part. Being a scientist, I am acutely aware of the laws of physics and how these can be applied even to promotions - what goes up must come down and the rate of going up is proportional to the rate of falling down.” Peseta continued, “But I pray that when that time comes, that I may come down like a feather instead of falling like a metal ball.”

Peseta was a member of the Leadership Samoa Class of 2012, he strongly believes that leadership is about serving others and being an educational leader and a parent it is about equipping the young generation with the appropriate skills to live successful, happy and fulfilling lives.  He along with other classmates authored a Student Booklet titled “Toolkit of Activities and Information for Employment Skills Development” which was printed in July this year with funds from the New Zealand High Commission Office.

For a growing university, there are more programmes that needs the support of its stakeholders in order to produce qualified and skilled graduates for the job market. Peseta’s new role also makes him the focal point of contact in managing the external stakeholders through curriculum advisory committees or industry advisory panels at NUS. “My vision is for N.U.S to enhance and maintain this relationship so that our courses and programmes are relevant and meet the needs of local Industry,” Peseta added. 

To achieve all these, Peseta believes, requires the ability to make a large university operate effectively.  “I must say, that in the busyness of our lives, we often take for granted, that we have an important role to play at the university, whether it be a receptionist, a groundsman, a secretary, a security guard, a lecturer, a manager, director or the D.V.C, we are all part of the same team that supports the aim of the university which is to provide a quality and relevant tertiary education to meet the human resource needs of Samoa.”

“To do that we must remember that we are all called to serve and we have a duty to God who has called us to use our skills and talents to the best of our ability in whatever role we are blessed with at the university.” Peseta also shared his simple philosophy: "If God did not create all men and women equal, then on that premise we should always do our very best with integrity, be humble and never take for granted the position or the office that we currently hold because there is always someone out there, that God has created with slightly more knowledge, skills and talents than us".

Taking over the helm as Acting Dean for the Faculty of Science is Dr. Patila Malua-Amosa before another new Dean is appointed.

Peseta completed his doctorate in education from the University of Waikato in 2011 in the area of assessment in science education.  He has been involved for a number of years in science curriculum reviews and assessments in Samoa.  His academic research interests which he now puts on hold in order to focus more on administration, include culturally-appropriate formative assessments; Samoan language issues in science-education; and the influence of culture on science learning, teaching and assessment.

For more information about Chancellery, visit our websitewww.nus.edu.wsor on Facebook - www.facebook.com/TheNationalUniversityofSamoa

Delivering efficiency services through quality academic programmes: Newly appointed Deputy Vice Chancellor, Peseta Dr. Desmond Lee Hang.

 New appointments at N.U.S. (l-r): Dr. Patila Malua-Amosa, Acting Dean Faculty of Science, New D.V.C. Peseta Dr Desmond Lee Hang, V.C. and President, Prof. Fui Leapai AsofouSo’o and Professor of English and Applied Linguistics, Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma Kruse-Va’ai.

Learning accounting as a subject may seem difficult for those who have not taken it up as a choice of study in the early stages of their school history.

However, the opportunity to give it a second chance to learn the basics only is well worth it.

That was the testimonial from more than 20 participants of a weeklong Basic Accounting for Non Accountants week long training requested for by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce under the Samoa In Country Training Programme (S.I.C.T.P.) housed at the Oloamanu Professional Development Centre at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S).

“The SICTP was designed to offer these in country trainings in order to cater for more local participants so that they will be able to utilise the skills and knowledge straight after the trainings at their respective work places,” said S.I.C.T.P. Manager, So’oalo Sydney Faasau.  “These trainings have been invaluable to all the sectors including the Private Sector, who do not have funding allocations to provide such trainings for their employees.”

The participants felt that to benefit from the latest financial management strategies and techniques to keep their skills sharp and their financial acumen strong and focused; being part of the training was the right choice.

“This training had a huge learning impact on me as a law clerk,” Logotaeao Felise said.  “I had no background knowledge on various equations and accounting methods to compile monthly reports. Now, I can.”

A law clerk at the Clark-Ey Lawyer, Ms. Felise was so overwhelmed with the knowledge and skills such training has provided for her as a take home message.  “This learning process as well has presented me with new ideas not just to do the job but to understand how to calculate our reports.”

For Paepaetele Sefa, a receptionist at N.U.S, added that as a qualified accountant, not everything is literally applicable unless the principles are applied.  “That is where you actually learn when you get to the real world,” he said. “As a Diploma graduate (of N.U.S.), I have learned to expand my knowledge on basic accounting skills, planning a budget, differentiating accounting concepts and preparing different journals.”

“It isn’t about just taking calls and messages, but to become multi-skill when your customers walked in with various needs and concerns,” Mr. Sefa added. “I am studying again to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce, so attending this training is a big boost for my interest in this field.” 

This training requested by the Samoa Chamber of Commerce aims to increase the skills of its non-accountants staff in basic accounting.  Improving on this competency the private sector businesses remain competitive in promoting efficiency, accountability and transparency. 

Outcomes of the training included  identifying accounts and recording of cash and other assets;   implementing sample budgets and cash flow forecasts; interpreting financial reports; doing ratio analysis and use results for decision making.

Decision making of course drew the interests of mid-level managers from various business like Sky Eye Samoa.

Its VehicleTrack system has become a utility for some local business.  Given the nature of such business to deal with financing resources and highly needed technology, they have existed to provide the public with a cost effective electronic system that will manage transport fleet with minimal fuss.

Sales and Finance Manager, Tili Lafaele said this training has equipped her with the knowledge on how to prioritise finances at Skyeye.  “My ability to see different patterns has improved a lot and I gladly acknowledge such opportunities at (N.U.S) to allow us to be part of these trainings.”

“I’d like to come back for more training of this nature, as a person who lacks background knowledge on accounting, cash sales and how to decide where the money should, I am grateful to have taken new ideas with me,” Ms. Lafaele added.

“The S.I.C.T.P through the Oloamanu Centre will be able to assist SUNGO who are mandated with the Community Based Organisations, in conducting Training Needs Analysis to identify the training gaps required and to develop relevant Requests for Trainings which could be supported under this programme,” So’oalo added.

For more information about Oloamanu Professional Development Centre, visit our website www.nus.edu.wsor on Facebook - www.facebook.com/TheNationalUniversityofSamoa

For more information about S.I.C.T.P and how to submit a Request for Trainings, visit its website on www.samoaictp.ws

Participants of the Basic Accounting Training.

 

Being a professor at your respective field requires a lot of research output and publications.

That is the reaction of the newly appointed Professor of English and Applied Linguistics for the Faculty of Education (F.O.E.) at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S).

Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma Kruse-Va’ai is the first professorial appointment in that Faculty.

It is a fact that almost every successful professorial appointment has a long story behind it.  For Letuimanu’asina, it is an inspiring one given her wealth of knowledge as a writer and poet who has published many of her short stories and poems internationally and are part of the English curriculum for secondary schools.

Her early readers using Samoan based stories and illustrations have also been significant in promoting and encouraging reading for primary school children.

To get the children prepared at that early stage of their education development should be encouraged to address literacy challenges at the later stage, in this context, the tertiary level which is N.U.S. for instance.

“Being a professor in a faculty requires a greater research output and publications because that means we are addressing the issues that need research,” Letuimanu’asina said.  “Addressing national problems like literacy is something we will be working together on the national literacy rates and how we can provide solutions; bring about improvements in the abilities and competencies of the children in the classroom both primary and secondary.”

Appointing her professorial support at the F.O.E. is a huge advantage to further enhance the skills, knowledge and attitudes of the training teachers so they are more accommodating to the national problems.

“Literacy is not the only challenge there is but it’s one of the issues that we have to address because it has been identified currently and we are also witnessing the fact that some of our students that come into our level really don’t have the language abilities that they should have post-secondary.”

“Then we think what is happening in primary and secondary, why aren’t the children coming out after Year 13 with a better competency in English and Samoan and that’s a question we have to ask and research to find the answers.”

“It’s very easy to generalize answers that teachers are bad but that isn’t true, there are many good teachers out there but there are also teachers who need support. It’s about trying to take away the generalized answers going into factual answers and situations where you need research to uncover,” she added.

“If you look at things in context you find out how many teachers in school who are struggling with English and explain why.”

“There is another question of do you really need to improve the English of Mathematic teachers and to see how they are faring whether they need to have English classes as well because our textbooks are often especially in the secondary level are in English,”

“So English plays a pivotal role in enabling the teaching of subjects especially in the secondary level because most of the textbooks and most of the content is in English, but it doesn’t mean to say that we are neglecting our Samoan.  It’s just that we have to get our competencies in English that enable us to go further in education and also the language of commerce, business, and language of the world.”

With her professorial appointment now as an expert in Applied Linguistics, a lot of work needs to be justified as to how the language plays a pivotal in the teaching and learning approach at F.O.E.

Not just within the classrooms but how it is being used and understood by the industry.

For those who are not familiar with Applied Linguistics, it is concerned with practical issues involving language in the life of the community.  The most important of these is the learning of second or foreign languages – and in this case it is English.  Others include language policy, multilingualism, language education, the preservation and revival of endangered languages, and the assessment and treatment of language difficulties. 

Other areas of interest include professional communication, for example, between doctors and their patients, between lawyers and their clients and in courtrooms, as well as other areas of institutional and cross-cultural communication ranging from the boardroom to the routines on an answer phone.

“There are new learning spaces now also; it’s not just in the classroom.  Other learning spaces available are now in the technology; internet and we also have to teach our children in the classroom how to use those learning spaces safely and effectively for their development and in the training of our teachers.”

“It’s not that it’s not done yet, am not going to come in and bring in all these new things, they are current.  Other faculty members are already working on it and I’ll just come in to support and enhance whatever way I can,” said Letuimanu’asina.

However, Samoan as a language is not being neglected.  “It plays a very important role and that’s where my own interest extends via the applied linguistics because applied linguistics also enables me to look at the role and importance of Samoan in the development of the child, in the development of our graduates and it’s all very well to say that English is important but as you go the workplace and we’re not able to address people properly in Samoan and we are in Samoa.”

“Then we have to say that we have to know how to do the faatulima and address people properly in the Samoan way because those things are important in Samoa and we must acknowledge that they are important.”

“We don’t just say good morning sir, good morning madam, we don’t say that, we say faatalofa atu , malo le soifua lau afioga, they’re just greetings but they are also part of our own identity and environment.”

Letuimanu’asina has held both senior academic and management positions at N.U.S and the then Samoa Polytechnic. In 2005, both institutions merged and she has been Deputy Vice Chancellor since.

She holds a Phd in English from the University of New South Wales Sydney and BA Hons Dip TESL from Victoria University Wellington.  She is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government Executive Programme for Leaders in Development, Harvard University and Management of Higher Education Institutes Programme, Galilee International Management Institute –Israel.

She was a recipient of the NZ Prime Minister Helen Clarke award for Emerging Women Leaders from the Pacific; and was also the 2014 Ian Gordon Fellow in Linguistics – Victoria University Wellington.

She represents the Pacific Region as a member of the Board of Governors and Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Learning. She is also on the Executive of the Samoa Association of Women Graduates and is a founding member of The Association of Teachers of English in Samoa.

“I think where ever you go you still have to do a bit of admin so I take some of the experience I’ve had here back to the academic environment.  People still have to manage time, certain outputs, keep to the annual plans, achieve the goals for our strategic plan and all that work even though it’s still academic actually inputs into overall work of the university which is to become a premiere research university of Samoa to cater for the needs of the industry and work place, cater for the professions and that’s what we’re here for.”

 First Professor in English and Applied Linguistics for Faculty of Education: Letuimanu’asina Dr. Emma Kruse-Vaai

The newly appointed Dean of the Faculty of Education (F.O.E.) at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S) has encouraged staff and teacher students to do more research within classrooms.

The need to contextualise what is being taught within the classrooms especially in the fields of science is increasingly encouraged.

Tofilau Dr. Faguele Suaali’i’s mission is to ensure that the faculty staff and students receive the best learning and teaching environment at N.U.S.

“There are strategies in place to look at the challenges such as how the teaching and learning are going on,” said Tofilau.  “We’re looking at the staff in various ways in equipping the new teachers that will be going out to the schools.”

Tofilau, who also lectures is the author of a research paper titled, “Support and barriers to achievement in secondary school chemistry: exploring the teaching and learning of year 12 chemistry in Samoa” that revealed the importance of using local resources to teach and learn more about chemistry as a subject.

“We encourage them to look at contextual examples and learning strategies that will help students become familiar with what’s going on and when they graduate, they will be able to take that to schools to teach.”

It was the same research paper presented in March this year, that Tofilau also highlighted concerns from most students who participated in the research, who complained about the lecturing style of teachers that provides an imbalance of knowledge on students to understand.

“The students from the urban area want teaching and learning strategies that are familiar to them in the Samoan way in which they are able to connect with,” he said.

With a strong emphasis from Tofilau that it is time to look into incorporating cultural practices and application of available local resources to teach chemistry.

“The teaching of chemistry/sciences in Samoa school is facing problems and one problem is the lack of acknowledgement in our culture and practice,” he said.

“If we include the faa-samoa in the teaching of chemistry, learning becomes more meaningful. Students would be able to relate to what is locally available.”

Tofilau is the author of the new chemistry textbook for Year 12 level. It has been published and distributed to colleges for the teachers and students to use.

It is that experience of Tofilau that he wishes to share with one of the biggest faculties in the university over the next three years.

His appointment was well received by the Vice Chancellor and President, Prof. Fui Le’apai Asofou So’o.

“We are constantly improving and train our prospective teachers so that when they go out teaching, they do their task effectively,” said Prof. Fui.  “In that way, every child (in primary and secondary) gets enough knowledge and skills required of them in order for them to slide smoothly into our university programmes whether it’d be here or elsewhere.”

About the Faculty of Education (F.O.E)

F.O.E. aims to provide quality pre-service education programmes that produce effective teachers, as well as quality professional development courses and programmes for in-service teachers.

The Faculty has three Departments:

·        The Department of Education (offers a wide range of courses that build the necessary building blocks for teaching such as learning and teaching theories, evaluation and assessment,       values and ethics, and curriculum studies to name a few).

·        The Department of Expressive and Practical Arts (offers courses in Food & Textile Technology, Music, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Visual Art) and

·        The Department of Teacher Education (offers courses in curriculum and pedagogy, as well as overseeing teaching practice).

In addition to the Foundation Certificate Education, the Faculty offers a four-year Bachelor of Education programme for pre-and in-service students, a one-year Graduate Diploma in Education programme for those with a first degree who wish to gain a professional qualification for teaching and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education for those who wish to pursue further studies for a higher qualification.

The Post Graduate Diploma in Education can later staircase into a Master of Education. Current and future Science teachers also have the option of taking the Bachelor of Science (Secondary Teaching) programme in the Faculty of Science.

For more information about F.O.E., visit www.nus.edu.ws/FacultyofEducationor Facebook - www.facebook.com/TheNationalUniversityofSamoa

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