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A university workload for a student or a staff can be challenging, especially in busy times when assignments, tests, teaching and other commitments are on at the same time.

It's easy to fall into the tunnel vision trap, where you focus on your university work or any other job you may have at the expense of your health and wellbeing mostly.

Other expenses include your finances or even support from your peers, bosses, and chaplaincy, in this case, at the National University of Samoa (N.U.S), addressing literacy and numeracy problems.

A sense of accomplishment in your university work is great if all those expenses - especially when students and staff are under pressure - are prioritised.  Not only it supports the learning, but it provides a more enjoyable time at N.U.S.

N.U.S. is now expanding those services through the establishment of the Student Support Services Unit, for the first time.

For years, its counselling services were only limited to providing guidance and offer advice support for students deciding on which courses or programmes to take, offering disciplinary advice on the impacts of the students’ attitude on campus as well as dealing with administrative roles.  Not to mention any other duties they may have to provide for staff and students given the low resources they have to work with.

The newly established unit will now look at not only devising awareness programmes and to address the different levels of assistance it can provide.

It is now headed by another newly appointed Manager, Faletui Valaau Toma, who has been in the education sector for years.

Speaking to N.U.S Media, Mrs Toma is optimistic that with N.U.S. taking into consideration endless problems facing students on campus, the new unit will help provide and expand those services to them.

One of those is the literacy level whereby some students enrolling at the University find it hard to express or write assessments in English at the expected level of submitting assessments.

“It is noted that most students who do not pass in our programmes and courses stem from not being able to understand and express themselves in English through their assessments in order for them to meet the standards of profiles here at the University level,” said Mrs. Toma.

The Head of the English Department, Amituana’i Vernetta Heem, has applauded such initiative for it will provide further support for students in reading and writing. 

“We appreciate more help to assist students in their study.  A lot of students can’t even express themselves in English as a second language and we have to deal with that.  I am happy now that there is an extra help,” said Amituana’i.

“It doesn’t stop here, the problems keep coming as the numeracy level was also identified as one serious issue,” added Mrs. Toma.  “We are here to offer support by liaising with the English and Maths Departments to identify those at risk students needing help.”

The new unit is also expected to provide a health service for students and staff by working hand in hand with the School of Nursing and Health Science.

With the daily services of its Health Clinic, Head of School for Nursing and Health Science also acknowledged the establishment of student services to ensure the wellbeing of staff and students on campus.

“I am fully supportive of setting up this (unit) so we can help (N.U.S.) as a community.  I am happy that we finally offer a broad range of services to students and to help them maintain their health and well-being,” said Tautaitala Poloie Lees.

To ensure that this (literacy) is seriously looked into, the Vice Chancellor and President of N.U.S, Prof. Fui Le’apai Asofou So’o gave the nod to establish this unit with someone to come at the helm of it.

“A lot of work is needed to be done in that area and we hope that having Mrs Toma on board and establishing this unit, will help towards the combined effort of the university to improve the standard of our students in English, both written and verbal,” said Prof. Fui.

Other services in which the Student Support Services is now responsible for include:

·       The Chaplaincy that provides spiritual, pastoral and practical support for Christian students and staff.

·       Provide spiritual counselling for students

·       Provide career counselling for students

·       Provide information on all scholarships and sponsorships available for students

·       Provide literacy and numeracy tuition for students.

There are also sporting activities and programmes currently being offered by the N.U.S. Gymnasium as means of attracting staff and students to use. 

The cafeteria is also housed on campus for the convenience of the N.U.S. community. 

Faletui Toma and Sopo Su'a Elia

Expanding its scope through various study disciplines has attracted international students to the National University of Samoa (NUS).

NUS has become increasingly one of the most notable and visible universities in the region where it has invested into international partnerships.

Aspired to increase its visibility of international students, employees, visitors and families to enrich the broader campus community, NUS now has an International Office.

With the new office comes the appointment of another first for the university, an International Coordinator, Iliganoa Matu’u, whose roles reflect in two major aspects.

Matu’u will administer all matters concerning international students and coordinate exchange programmes for staff and students.

As well as handling a number of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between NUS and its partners such as regional and international universities and organisations.

“The most important part of the job is making sure that the information is available and that both sides are able to benefit from these partnerships,” said Matu’u.  “It’s a challenging role and I feel excited about it.”

“NUS would like to provide top of the notch international services especially we have been hosting and sending students and staff under the many links we have created.”

Matu’u’s appointment was announced by the Vice Chancellor and President Professor Fui Le’apai Tu’ua ‘Ilaoa Asofou So’o during a press meet with the NUS Media.

“We have grown and we have now arrived at the point in our development where we are receiving students outside of Samoa,” said Prof. Fui.  “The (international) aspect has grown very fast in the last five years.  We have more students expected to travel over next year.”

“Now we have a full time Coordinator for the first time to handle that aspect of the growth of the university.”

“At the moment we have students from Easter Timor and West Indies under one of the numerous scholarship schemes being offered such as the CARPIMS.”

The CARPIMS project is designed to facilitate the movement of Masters and PhD students and staff between selected national universities in the Caribbean and Pacific regions as a means of building capacity and encouraging socioeconomic development in each region.

Having the new International Office set up, Matu’u has been arranging international scholarship awards not just for incoming students and staff from other universities but outgoing NUS staff and students.

The latest recipients of such scholarship awards who are leaving for Belgium next week are Pauline Nafo’i-Lee Hang (Tourism Lecturer) and Victory Falevalu Utumapu-Milford (Computing Lecturer).

Both will pursue their Master’s Degrees in Education Science for two years at the Virje Universiteit Brussel (VUB) under the CARIBU Scholarship scheme.

CARIBU is an Erasmus Mundus Action 2 (EMA2) partnership program that aims at increasing academic mobility, research and capacity building opportunities between 8 EU universities (Belgium (2), Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Poland, Portugal, Romania) and countries from the ACP region (Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Gambia, Ghana, the Bahamas, Suriname, Timor-Leste, Samoa).

The program aims to benefit students, researchers and staff members who will bring an immediate impact in their home institutions through the exchange of best practices, mutual sharing of knowledge, teaching and management skills as well as a very enriching linguistic, cultural and educational experience.

“I am grateful of this opportunity through (NUS) to do something better not for myself but for my family in the end,” said Utumapu-Milford.  “I put my whole heart to it when I submitted that application.”

“I took the words of the Vice Chancellor not to look at any other obstacles but the end product,” added Utumapu-Milford.  “Opportunities at (NUS) are numerous and I grabbed it.”

Nafo’i-Lee Hang echoed similar sentiments.  “I am so humbled to have taken up this rare opportunity despite I’ll be leaving my family behind,” she said.  “But in the end, it will be an excellent experience that I cannot think twice about.”

Looking forward to the new study environment and what Beligum will bring for the duo, another recipient who was in the Caribbean for a one year study had no regrets.

Ferila Saufoi Amituanai, a Faculty of Education lecturer has completed her Master’s Degree in Education from the University of West Indies in Barbados.

“It was a wonderful cross-cultural experience for me.  I have learned to apply new technology as a platform in teaching and learning approaches,” said Amituanai.  “An experience that I have also learned about sharing views and ideas with students, paraphrasing contexts on online materials as well as the texts rather than the old classroom setting of where the teacher is deemed to be the highest,” added Amituanai.

These scholarship schemes are also open to the public pending terms and conditions. 

For more information about NUS international services, visit us on www.nus.edu.wsor visit us on Facebook - www.facebook.com/TheNationalUniversityofSamoa.

Everyone wants the same thing for our students - a quality university education leading to a decent job.

That is the philosophical view of the first Director for the newly established Academic Quality Unit (AQU) at the National University of Samoa (NUS), Tea Tepora Fuimaono Wright.

Filled with inspiration and new ideas to get the ball rolling to achieve the desired outcomes of the new AQU, Tea believes in students’ success through a combined effort of the NUS community and its stakeholders.

"There are many indicators for measuring the quality of the learning experience, however I believe the most important  is the quality of the skills, knowledge and attributes that the graduate takes with them on completion of their qualification from (NUS)," said Tea.

"The reality of course is very complex but a strategic approach to doing things ensures quality outcomes in the long run.  You just need to focus on the desired outcome and what you need to do about inputs, and processes fall into place."

Following the recommendations of the NUS 2015 Academic Quality Report prepared by the Academic Quality Agency (AQA) for New Zealand universities which was released in April, the NUS Vice Chancellor and President, Prof. Fui Le'apai Tu'ua Ilaoa Asofou So'o and management renewed their focus and commitment to improving the quality of the NUS experience.

Mainly to see qualitative and quantitative improvement in student outcomes and programmes within the next three years hence resulting in the establishment of the AQU since the establishment of the university for over 30 years.

"We continuously improve ourselves in terms of the service we give to our students, in terms of the quality of our courses and programmes," said Prof. Fui.  "English as a second language is one aspect and the newly established arm of the university will ensure that we achieve the highest so our graduates meet industry requirements and that our qualifications can also be recognized in international universities."

"We want our students to graduate from here and should they want to continue for higher qualifications overseas or elsewhere (in Samoa) that they can slide smoothly seamlessly into those higher level qualification programmes having met all the prerequisite knowledge require of them at the lower level in order for them to succeed at the higher levels," added Prof. Fui.

Which will be a challenging role for Tea under the current annual plan of activities already set out for the newest unit that includes:

⁃coordinating student feedback on courses and lecturers and using it to inform quality improvement

⁃development of an institutional graduate profile that states the generic attributes expected of an NUS graduate from the perspective of (NUS) and stakeholders including employers and embedding this in daily business

⁃external review of NUS Programmes targeted for this financial year

⁃driving implementation of action points from the academic report.

After seven years at the Samoa Qualifications Authority (SQA), she brings to the table expertise in developing student outcomes and working within a quality assurance framework.

"We want success for our students in a global market and career satisfaction for our staff in being part of that success.  It is my job to work together with the NUS community to achieve that goal," added Tea.

Further underpinning her philosophy of academic quality is insights gained from 15 years of working within the education sector in Samoa and the region as a secondary school teacher, university lecturer and tutor, teacher in-service trainer, strategic and sector planning and expenditure management, technical and vocational education training development, TVET professional development, researcher and consultant.

Tea was also actively involved in other education activities namely the accreditation of Maritime programmes, TVET Support Programme, formulation of the Samoa Teacher's Bill, Samoa Qualifications and National Competency Standards, Professional Standards for Trainers and many others.

She undertook her tertiary education at NUS, Newcastle University of Australia, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW) and The University of the South Pacific (USP).  Said Tea: "All these education opportunities have helped me frame an understanding of contemporary issues facing education development in the region."

About the new AQU:

It will coordinate the following:

⁃monitoring and evaluation of student outcomes across all programmes and courses

⁃internal and external review of NUS programmes and courses to ensure continuous quality improvement aligned with international benchmarks

⁃internal quality assurance and approval of new programmes and courses; and

⁃design and implementation of needed interventions to target problem spots in academic quality

Cabinet has approved the participation by eleven staff members of the National University of Samoa for a one week training at the Manukau Institute of Technology in Auckland, New Zealand from 31 August to 4 September 2015.

The NUS staff members are lecturers in the Faculty of Applied Science, and this training will enhance their computer skills in using the latest technology, LCD displays as well as the latest version of AutoCAD.

The participants are James Ah Fook, Ainsley R Anesone, Leia T Faiumu, Papu Fala, Ratami Fatilua, Aukusitino Leo, Antonio Mamea, Vaisualua Posese Okesene, Meki Taula, Faigame Toalepai and Vaelupemaua Uatisone.

Auai o faiaoga o le Iunivesite Aoao o Samoa mo aoaoga i Niu Sila

(Ofisa Sooupu a le Malo)

Ua faamaonia e le Kapeneta le auai atu o alii ma tamaitai faiaoga e 11 o le Iunivesite Aoao a Samoa mo aoaoga i le Manukau Institute of Technology i Aukilani, Niu Sila mai le aso 31 o Aukuso i le aso 4 o Setema 2015.

O faiaoga nei o lo o galulue faafaiaoga i le Aoga Faasaienisi a le Iunivesite ma o le a aoga tele lenei aoga e siitia ai o latou tomai i le faaaogaina lea o komepiuta e aoaoina ai tama ma teine aoga i mataupu eseese.

O suafa o faiaoga o lo o auai i lenei aoaoga e aofia ai James Ah Fook, Ainsley R Anesone, Leia T Faiumu, Papu Fala, Ratami Fatilua, Aukusitino Leo, Antonio Mamea, Vaisualua Posese Okesene, Meki Taula, Faigame Toalepai ma Vaelupemaua Uatisone.

(From the Office of the Government Press Secretariat)

By Talaitupu Tialavea and Seneuefa Foetuese*

“Reviving Folklores in Communities” is the theme of this year’s annual field trip of the Media and Journalism Class at the National University of Samoa, from August 28th-August 30th, 2015.

One important part of the field trip is to research and film a folklore originated in Pu’apu’a Savaii.

The exercise exposed journalism students to writing stories on the fading culture of folklore and storytelling.

The Village of Pu’apu’a is the focus of this years’ research featuring the legend ‘Vaitilofia’ (which literally means ‘Looking through the mirror of water’).

With the assistance of chiefs from the village Peseta Leaupogaleveleve and Vasa Lui, students were able to gather information regarding the said folklores for their stories and multimedia production to be produced. 

The field trip is headed by Misa Victoria Lepou and Nora D. Tumua, both lecturers of Media and Journalism Programme, with the technical assistance of Otasilima Osasa and Oteli Oteli in filming.

“Students are expected to write a cultural story featuring evidence of engaging in interview with traditional/village leaders in isolated communities in Savaii,” said Misa Vicky Lepou, Media and Journalism Lecturer.

“One of the learning outcomes is to write stories on issues considered global and regional such as preserving cultural knowledge through media education and its relation to UNDP’s MDGs framework,” Misa continued.

“It is also a time to cover this kind of issue because students need to learn about the legends and folktale of olden times,” said Nora Tumua, Media and Journalism lecturer.

The NUS Students Association (NUSSA) is funding the students travel expenses over the duration of the trip.

The film produced out of this field trip will also support the Samoa Observer’s ongoing Tusitala Story competition.

The field trip ended on Sunday.

Talaitupu Tialavea and Seneuefa Foetuese are final year media and journalism students at the Naitonal University of Samoa.  For more photos and information on the field, visit us on www.facebook.com/NUSMediaandJournalismSchool or www.nus.edu.ws

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