Aoraki Polytechnic's chief executive Kay Nelson has
resigned as the institution faces falling student numbers and
two years of deficits.
Ms Nelson informed staff of her resignation in an email
yesterday, thanking them for their "work and input" over the
almost four years she had been in the role.
The resignation comes as the polytechnic, which has campuses
in Timaru, Ashburton, Oamaru, Christchurch and Dunedin,
recorded a loss of $1.6 million last year and faced a
projected loss of $2.1 million this year. It was forecasting
328 fewer equivalent full-time students than budgeted for
It also comes after Tertiary Education Union (TEU) members
last year participated in a vote of no-confidence in her
The vote was prompted by course reforms which threatened the
jobs of up to 20 staff members.
Ms Nelson told the Otago Daily Times that she felt, with a
new investment plan about to be approved by the polytechnic's
council, the time was right to move on.
"After almost four years of change and growth in core
students, I'm proud of the achievements of the polytechnic,
but feel it's time to move on to new challenges.
"I have had tremendous support from council and staff since
2009 and wish the entire polytechnic all the very best for
the future," Ms Nelson said.
TEU southern region organiser Kris Smith said Ms Nelson's
resignation presented the polytechnic with an opportunity to
make a "fresh start" as it faced tough times.
"I think it's an opportunity for the polytechnic to move on
and it opens a range of opportunities for the polytechnic to
look at in terms of moving forward," she said.
Ms Smith said she was confident the polytechnic could get
through its financial difficulties.
Aoraki chairman Kevin Cosgrove said last month the
institution had appointed independent adviser Malcolm Inglis
to look at its business options.
"Aoraki Polytechnic is responding to changes in tertiary
education that require us to focus more on our core
Mr Cosgrove said.