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Source: Massey University

Tina Rowland at her graduation on 3 May 2021.

A familiar face to many Massey students and staff, Tina Rowland added an academic achievement to her record at the Manawatū graduation, graduating with a Master of Management with Distinction in Management.

Currently Manager Advising and Communications and a staff member at Massey (on and off) since 2000, and a distance student since 1998, Tina’s two decades of experience as a student and staff member inspired the topic of her paper for the Professional Practice course.

The course, attended by other working professionals, allows candidates to undertake a professional action investigation “on your work, in your work”, says Tina. Her paper Strategic aspirations and operational reality: Giving the silent customer a voice investigated the experience and data of Massey’s lifelong learner customer, or the “silent customer”.

Her paper details Massey’s student numbers and academic rankings over the years and explores issues such as “summer melt” and student retention. 

Tina, who leads a national shared service team of 60, says she is an example of the “lifelong learner” that Massey is known for. “That’s the Massey student, we’re distance, we’re mature, middle-aged professionals, lifelong learners, most of whom were of that age on the course.”

She hopes the data collected in her paper can be used to enable positive change to the student experience. “I am passionate about Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University, both as a student and a staff member.”

Tina with her mother and son at her graduation on 3 May 2021.

A varied and awarded career

Originally from Dargaville, Tina has had a varied career, beginning in local government and then the meat and dairy industry, and was a driver in the New Zealand Army Territorial Force (licence classes 1-6 plus Firearms Licence).

She began distance study in 1992 and completed a New Zealand Diploma in Business with The Open Polytechnic of New Zealand in 1997. She cross-credited papers to Massey in 1998 to commence a Bachelor of Business Studies degree, which she studied part-time on and off over 20 years interrupted by working for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Coordination Authority, starting a family, working for Massey, and eventually graduating with the degree. 

She began her Master’s in 2018 and says her lecturer Dr James Lockhart was a great source of help on the course. “James was amazing with his students – if he did not know much about a particular industry he would spend nights and weekends investigating and putting all his effort into helping students wanting to engage and succeed.”

Tina has achieved much in her career, including being named Manawatū Contact Centre Manager of the Year in both 2006 and 2008. She worked with Massey’s IT team to procure and implement the contact centre management technology, which has been in place for 15 years and still meets the global leading needs of our team and customers. This became the topic of many external case studies on the Massey University Contact Centre, gifted its Māori name, Te Paepoto in 2019.

In 2009 she was selected as a general staff participant in the New Zealand Women in Leadership Programme and in 2011, created the inaugural W@M Leadership Seminar. In 2019, she received the Australia/New Zealand Heads of Student Administration Future Leaders Scholarship.

For Tina, her period of study is not over, as she continues her learning journey with two Te Reo Māori courses at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi. “I’m a leader who wants to walk the talk. As Tertiary Education leaders we need to understand and align with the Tertiary Education Strategy 2020, to ‘meaningfully incorporate Te Reo Māori and tikanga Māori into the everyday life of the place of learning’”.

She says crossing the stage to gain her Master’s was wonderful. “I had Mum and my whanau there, colleagues, some of whom have worked with me for more than 20 years and my fabulous leadership team – my team and supporters filled up a whole row. It was the first time for some of myprofessional team to attend a Massey graduation ceremony.”

“Achieving my Master’s in three years, after such a long time gaining my Bachelor degree, is a great feeling and to celebrate with my fellow life-long learners, my whānau and closest colleagues was incredible.”