Hitting the high notes: Cool new quals for 2017

October 2016


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Education Review highlights a number of exciting new courses on offer for New Zealand postgrads next year, ranging from opera studies to disruptive technologies to community leadership.


Hitting the high notesUniversity of Waikato: Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies

Singers keen to have an international career in opera will be able to refine their vocal skills and learn techniques for career survival in a new course being offered at the University of Waikato’s Conservatorium of Music.

Led by Dame Malvina Major, the Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies is the first and only one of its kind in the New Zealand university system. It involves a 12-week intensive programme, designed to engage students who are interested in developing a career on the international opera circuit, to prepare them for competitions and auditions, emerging artists’ programmes and performance – a bit like a finishing school for would-be opera singers.

“We’ve brought together a group of high-calibre musicians and teachers to lead the course and who’ll work with the students on language, acting and stagecraft and recitative – all the essential elements needed to be an opera singer,” says Dame Malvina.

Some of those visiting teachers are Stuart Maunder, head of Opera New Zealand, tenor Simon O’Neill, mezzo sopranos Helen Medlyn and Isabel Cunningham, sopranos Catrin Johnsson and Anna Pierard, musical director Jose Aparicio, and vocal coach Michael Blake.

The students are required to perform oratorio excerpts for the public  after six weeks and at the end of the programme they’ll stage part of an opera.

The next intake for the Dame Malvina Major Postgraduate Certificate in Opera Studies is in A Semester 2017, running March to June.


Unitec: Master of Applied Practice (Technological Futures)

From early 2017 (subject to approval) professionals, leaders and entrepreneurs working in the technology and business sectors will be able to study for an innovative new Master of Applied Practice – Technological Futures, through Tech Futures Lab.

Participants will gain an in-depth understanding of relevant emerging technologies, their impacts, and how to forecast disruption and lead through unprecedented change. The specialisation is designed for those who want to harness the opportunities emerging technology presents, including those who want to re-engineer their careers.

Tech Futures Lab and its partner Unitec Institute of Technology co-designed the flexible and intensive specialisation that allows participants to tailor study to individual professional aspirations and the needs of their workplace. They’ll be able to develop specialist knowledge in new and emerging disruptive technologies such as automation and robotics, data science, machine learning, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

Unitec and Tech Futures Lab engaged with a range of iwi, as well as community and industry stakeholders, including Orion Health, Datacom Limited, Callaghan Innovation and ASB Bank, during the specialisation’s development.   

Masterate candidates will customise for approval their own assessment criteria and then map how they’ll meet it over an intensive one-year master’s work-based research project.

“It’ll be an intensive year for professionals and leaders who will bring their work context and understanding of their profession or business and in a research environment design, complete and evaluate a project that contributes both to their professional development and the development of their workplace, business or profession,” says Dr Craig Hilton, associate professor in Unitec’s Te Miro transdisciplinary network.


Massey University: Te Aho Paerewa, new Māori-medium teaching degree

One of the country’s first postgraduate qualifications in Māori-medium initial teacher training is being launched by Massey University. Te Aho Paerewa will help provide kura kaupapa Māori with highly qualified teachers and give people with degrees the opportunity to move into teaching.

Programme coordinator Professor Huia Jahnke says Te Aho Paerewa builds on the success of the university’s refreshed undergraduate programme Te Aho Tātairangi, which delivered its first graduates this year.

“We’ve seen how a collaboration between the university and the kura kaupapa community has worked for Te Aho Tātairangi and we feel excited to extend the options and offer a postgraduate qualification.” says Professor Jahnke.

The programme, which is delivered entirely in te reo, is field based. Students are hosted by a kura hāpai or community that provides them with support and practical experience. Study is done through Massey’s distance portal, with students coming together to attend on-campus wānanga or block courses throughout the year.

The programme is delivered in partnership with Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, giving the students access to many of the key experts and leading architects of kura kaupapa Māori.

The programme is currently recruiting students and is set to start in 2017.


University of Auckland: Master of Social and Community Leadership

The University of Auckland has two proposed new qualifications for 2017, the Postgraduate Certificate and Master of Social and Community Leadership (subject to approval).  

Both programmes connect to provide those working in the sector with the opportunity to grow their knowledge and expertise and have been developed to meet changing needs across the sector. These changes include the need for more innovative solutions to complex social problems and the idea of working creatively alongside other sectors such as politics, business and social services to make a difference.

As well, there is increasing demand from government for more accountability from the sector and organisations are monitoring and evaluating the impact of social and community programmes to ensure they are actually working. Strong leadership is intrinsic to meeting these changes and making them work.

The master’s programme spans 18 months and has been designed for flexibility with
part-time options. Lectures and block courses
will be held at the university’s Faculty of Education and Social Work based at the Epsom Campus
and supported by online resources and independent study.

It will include a 90-point supervised research thesis – from field work settings for many students, and from home organisations for others. Core components of the course will include learning by doing, case studies and external guest lectures from those who are leading the way in social innovation and entrepreneurship.

Students will learn leadership skills across a broad range of key areas and gain a critical understanding of social change and innovation within a social justice and human rights framework. They will develop advanced skills and approaches in applied social research, sector leadership, programme design, implementation and evaluation.


Victoria University: Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice)

A new arts degree, launching at Victoria University of Wellington in 2017, will enable graduates to hone their design, film making, film scoring, sound design or theatre skills for a career in the creative industries.

The Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) has a unique focus on developing professional skills alongside practice-based research. As well as completing a major self-directed creative project over the summer, students in the intensive one-year degree study arts management and marketing, and are given an internship at one of Victoria’s creative industry partners.

Open to both domestic and international students, the interdisciplinary degree will be taught across the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies, Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music and the School of Design. Each year there will be at least 20 prestigious scholarships available, 10 for international students ($24,000 each) and 10 for domestic students ($6,000 each).

Professor John Psathas, professor of composition at Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, says the Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) will give students a high level of professional mastery, as well as critical, collaborative, craft and practical skills. The intensive nature of the qualification also adds to its appeal.

“Students will undertake a creative project where they will be mentored to showcase their abilities and push boundaries. The internship will provide invaluable workplace experience and contacts, helping students find their feet in the world of the arts.”

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