A 21st Century Tertiary Educator

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A 21st Century Tertiary Educator

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The 21st Century Tertiary Educator is a term that is now used more commonly and often refers to a tertiary educator that takes a learner-centred approach to teaching.

"High-performing tertiary educators in the 21st century are team players. They are dual professionals in their discipline, trade or profession and in the facilitation of learning. They are focused on the best possible outcomes for all learners in their care and work proactively in the context of Te Tiriti o Waitangi to ensure success for Maori, knowing that such approaches will have considerable benefit for other groups as well." (Coolbear, 2012.)

So what does this mean for you and your work context? this module will help you to explore this question.

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Compare the following two commentaries describing a 21st Century tertiary educator in New Zealand. The one from Otago Polytechnic's Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education programme document builds on Peter Coolbear's commentary.

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Consider the following:
  • What are the key characteristics of a 21st Century tertiary educator?
  • How many of these characteristics relate to you?
  • Do you consider these characteristics to be important to your current job?


  1. Coolbear. P. (2012, June). Retrieved from http://www.educationreview.co.nz/magazine/june-2012/professional-development-for-tertiary-educators-what-are-we-trying-to-achieve-2/#.VmSc7r_Lzw9
  2. Otago Polytechnic (2012).Graduate Diploma in Tertiary Education Programme Document. Dunedin, New Zealand: Otago Polytechnic.