The Student Development and Engagement team

The Student Engagement team provides support to students in the Faculty of Arts. Our Student Support Advisers provide support to the diverse range of students from under-represented groups at university such as Māori and Pacific students to first year students transitioning into their first year of tertiary study. Our aim is to support students studying in the Faculty of Arts to achieve their academic goals.

We look after programmes like First Year Experience, Tuākana Arts and the Targeted Admission Scheme, and offer support services for international students.

Meet the team

Vandana Minhas-Taneja

Vandana Minhas-Taneja
Student Development and Engagement Manager

“The Student Development and Engagement Team is here to enhance the student experience for all Arts students. Our role is ensure that all students have a successful journey from the point of Orientation through to graduation and employment.

Our offerings include Tuākana and First Year Experience (FYE) mentoring programmes, support for students who come through the Targeted or Conditional admission schemes, postgraduate student support and student wellbeing. We also collaborate and work closely with Equity groups such as Hidden Perspective (LGBTI), students with disabilities, refugee and international students. We also connect the wider student body with the various Arts student groups to enhance the social experience for all students.

We are invested in ensuring that all students who come through Arts succeed. Make use of our various offerings and services and let us know how we can help.”

Tessa Sefton

Tessa Sefton
Student Experience Advisor

“I am the Student Experience Advisor for the Faculty of Arts. I coordinate the First Year Experience mentoring programme that helps new students settle into University life and navigate their way through their first year of study. I also help co-ordinate and facilitate student engagement events within the Faculty and work closely with our various student groups/societies.

I am originally from Christchurch and completed school there before I moved to Wellington to complete my BSc in Psychology and Management. I worked for Victoria University of Wellington in Student Accommodation before I moved to the big smoke and jumped ship to University of Auckland.”

Zoë Henry

Zoë Henry
Student Support Adviser

 “I am of Niuean, Māori (Ngāti Kahu/Ngāpuhi) and European descent. Although I was born and bred in South Auckland, I spent some of my childhood on a farm in Kaikohe and in Opononi.”

“The best part of my job is being able to work alongside a supportive team and being allowed a front seat to our tauira’s academic and personal success during their time at the University of Auckland. There is nothing more rewarding than meeting our tauira on day one and then seeing them and their whanau march down Queen St, qualification in hand.”

Chip Matthews

Chip Matthews
Student Support Adviser

“I see my role as being in two separate yet interconnected areas. Firstly, we help with transition into the university. We are here to help ease the transition as new students find their feet within the University.

Secondly, we work with students who are currently studying to help them achieve their academic goals. This is where we can take an holistic approach. Essentially, if anything is affecting a student with their studies, whether internal or external to the university, we work with students to overcome barriers to success.

My portfolio includes Maori, Pacific and Equity. I coordinate the Tuakana programme and in addition, I help run the Arts LGBTI student/staff group, Hidden Perspectives, liaise with multiple Faculty of Arts student groups, and sit on various committees throughout the university.”

Nicole Duran

Nicole Duran
Student Support Adviser – International

n.duran@auckland.ac.nz

"I am the Student Support Adviser for international students in The Faculty of Arts. As part of the Student Development and Engagement team, I am here to support our international students with their academic and non-academic university experience.

"I am from Auckland and completed by Bachelor of Arts here at the University of Auckland. After completing my degree I went off to try some new things and have spent time living in France, Australia and America. I've worked in a few roles at the University and I’m really enjoying being back in Arts as a part of the engagement team and working directly with our students."