Kate Kearins has seen AUT grow from a fledgling university to a competitive centre of academic excellence.
As Dean of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Kate understands how a university’s leadership affects those that work and study there.
“From the top we’ve got very engaged leadership, and the Vice-Chancellor exemplifies that. He cares about the students’ learning experience and about interesting research being at the heart of what we offer students and other stakeholders. He cares about staff.
“Universities can be very hierarchical, but at AUT it’s more collaborative. You can get people together and socialise ideas, and work out what to do together. That in a very large organisation is pretty amazing. Everybody here is seen as important.”
Preparing students for the changing world of work
Kate emphasises that knowledge of theory and practice is essential in developing the modern graduate.
“We develop our students with strong disciplinary knowledge and a range of skills so they can work across, and solve, messy problems.
“We try to do authentic practice-based learning; what you’d do in the real world. Yet students are not losing the theoretical base of an academic education. In the end they will be more world-ready and more work-ready.”
Adaptable and capable
This agile approach to problem solving means AUT business and law graduates are ready to navigate complexity and ambiguity.
“The personal and political need to be in the classroom. AUT gives an education that addresses broader problems. We get students to think about knotty issues while they’re here. It gives our students the capability and endurance for working through challenging problems, and learning about themselves.”
A place with heart
Kate says that AUT operates with compassion and fairness, and it is this approach that has made her time here so worthwhile.
“I’ve had so many great opportunities at AUT. We have leaders who care about people, and encourage people to reach their potential.
“We’re fair, we do things with heart. It’s a large institution, but values-based. I can manage with conscience here and there’s a lot of goodwill.”