Teacher, Food Technology & Hospitality Department, Onehunga High School
Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching
Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts
Diploma in Culinary Arts
As a teacher, Karen Coleman hopes to inspire her students as much as her lecturers inspired her.
“I’ve gained great inspiration from the commitment and intelligence of my culinary arts lecturers, particularly Dr Lindsay Neill, Suzanne Bliss and Glenn Dentice. The incredible depth of knowledge they possessed within their specialised areas and their enthusiasm in conveying that knowledge to us, as students, was very inspirational. I hope to be as inspiring as they were to me with my students in the future.”
After completing a Diploma in Culinary Arts in 2009, Karen successfully worked as a chef for several years, but felt she wanted to do more; she wanted to share her passion for food with others by becoming a culinary arts teacher.
“I chose to study the Bachelor of Culinary Arts as I wanted to work as a secondary school teacher. I had previously studied the Diploma in Culinary Arts at AUT, including a City & Guilds Diploma, and thoroughly enjoyed that experience. I knew the quality of the teaching and tutoring made AUT the best choice for me to further my education.”
After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in March 2021, Karen enrolled in AUT’s Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching and is now working as a secondary school teacher at Onehunga High School.
The skills to succeed
The variety of courses is what she enjoyed most about studying the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts, Karen says.
“The degree has a diverse range of courses that cover relevant issues affecting the culinary and hospitality world, and society overall. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to investigate areas like sustainability, food ethics, food history, and the social role of food and hospitality within society; all taught by interesting and talented lecturers. That was the highlight of my university career.”
She would highly recommend the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts to other students.
“AUT is a world leader in providing the Bachelor of Arts in Culinary Arts. This degree is not only great for those wanting to go into cheffing or hospitality; the diverse range of courses means that you could move into many different careers.”
Advice for other students
Karen has some great advice for other students.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class and take advantage of all the extra support that AUT provides like the library sessions, peer mentors, and workshops on academic writing skills or referencing. These extra information sessions as well as the support of your lecturers will make studying much more enjoyable, and you’ll achieve better marks.”
Having access to great student support services made it much easier for Karen to return to study after a decade in the workplace.
“The biggest challenge I faced during my bachelor’s degree was returning to study after many years in the workplace. At the start, this was a big concern for me, however, the academic writing skills courses, along with the library support staff, gave me much greater confidence in my writing and researching skills.”