Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning Teaching and Student Services during his address at the Talanoa Session.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) engaged with regional scholarship officers for its annual Scholarship Officers and Education Attaché talanoa Session on 29 September 2017 at the University’s Laucala Campus.
The talanoa session which was organised by the Student Administrative Services (SAS), saw thirteen (13) scholarship officers from regional Government countries based in Suva participate in the session.
Mr Ruveni Gacala, acting Scholarship Officer said that the talanoa session has been going on for the last couple of years and it is a great time to update and keep the University’s partners updated of latest policy changes or processes that will assist in the effective administration of scholarships.
The session also provided an opportunity to share with the University’s partners on its progress towards the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation processes and the importance of having USP qualification recognised and accredited internationally.
Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning Teaching and Student Services highlighted that the University is a dynamic, forward-looking institution and needs to be nimble to move with the times and to ensure its programmes and services are suited to a rapidly changing environment.
Professor Coll said that it was critical that the University clearly and promptly communicates any changes to its regulations, programmes and services.
He thanked the University Scholarship Officer for organising the event and the Scholarship Officers and Education Attachés for showing such interest in understanding the changes.
“All these changes are intended to improve the student experience, from programme structure, to programme delivery and student support,” Professor Coll said.
There were presentations from key University sections including the Student Finance, Student Learning Support (SLS), First Year Experience Coordinators, Halls of Residence, Campus Life and SAS on services provided that makes students learning experiences worthwhile and meaningful.
Ms Konusi said that they had to come up with a way of continuous dialogue with the Scholarship Officers and the talanoa session effectively engaged Fiji based Scholarship Officers and Donor agencies.
“That way we get to cover everybody,” Ms Konusi commented.
SAS presentation also covered deregistration, enrolment, assessment, and other associated processes.
Ms Lorissa Hazelman, Program Manager Australia Awards said that she found the presentations very useful as it demonstrated to donors the type of support that is being offered by USP and channels of communication to support the students.
Mr Joseva Veresi, First year Experience Coordinator for the Faculty of Business and Economics noted that the session provided an opportune time for Scholarship Officers to be made aware on the importance of their role as First Year Coordinators in trying to establish a connection between students and the University during their first years.
“The session at the same time discussed ways on how they can work together though orientation and intervention programmes to promote student success,” he noted.
Mr Veresi further added that one of his key roles is to track student success and work with SLS and Course Coordinators to put in place early intervention programmes tailored to the needs of the students.
“Working in collaboration with scholarship donors will be an added advantage to address issues which can put a sponsored student at risk of not passing their courses in their first semester of studies at USP due to certain academic and social factors,” Mr Veresi said.
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