2014 is a year that BTI will remember for quite some time to come; not only is it our coming of age, it is also the year in which NQZA gave approval for BTI to deliver two new qualifications:
* Postgraduate Diploma of Professional Practice
* Master of Professional Practice
The added significance of this approval is that, not only is this BTI's first step into postgraduate programme delivery, but that the whole approval process from submission to approval took just over 12 weeks!
In responding to the submission, the NZQA approval panel commended BTI on the following:
* The integration of research throughout the whole programme, incorporating a broad range of research methodologies.
* The level of staff qualification and research experience.
* The example provided by senior staff in combining programme development, teaching and research involvement with the leadership roles.
* The comprehensive consultation process, which was iterative, broad and meaningful, and which clearly influenced development.
* The well designed integrated approach to research supported by committee structure, strategic plan and professional development.
* The inclusion of an exegesis option for the thesis.
* The successful integration of the faith-based special character of BTI with the academic rigour required at
post-graduate level without compromising either.
BTI Dean, Dr Andrew Smith, says the qualification is specifically faith-based and is for any professional working in people-helping roles such as teaching, counselling, social work or occupational therapy and who wants to look at integrating faith and work, “This doesn’t mean postgraduate students will be working in a
Christian school or church. It just means they want to think about what it means to bring their faith to work.”
The qualification consists of 18 months’ equivalent full time study, but will be completed on a part time basis across three years allowing students to integrate study with their professional practice.
“We are going to be provoking students to look at themselves and think about who they are as professionals. They will then look at some of the principles that they bring to the workplace. Often people get involved in these sorts of roles without necessarily clearly articulating the principles that we work from.”
BTI has also woven research aspects throughout the whole qualification which is an innovative approach to postgraduate study.
The programme, which is expected to fill quickly due to a waiting list of eager would-be students, will be delivered for the first time in early 2015.
On Saturday 5th April 2014, as the glorious hot sunshine beat down on Tauranga, shoppers paused to acknowledge 125 graduands decked out in the gold and blue colours that represent BTI's Teacher Education and Counsellor Education programmes. The celebratory processsion, which commenced at the waterfront at 1.15pm, was led by a piped band and cheered on by friends, family and whanau lining Devonport Road.
Deputy Major, Kelvin Clout, joined an impressive crowd of almost 800 to celebrate BTI's 2014 Graduation ceremony at Holy Trinity Church. As always, there was a strong sense of community spirit evident, and a number of the graduands were publicly honoured with tributes from whanau and family.
This graduation was especially important for BTI, as it marked the largest number of Secondary Teaching students to graduate in one group in BTI's 21 year history. 25 students, who had studied the Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) programme by distance, from all around New Zealand, came together in celebration with 76% of this cohort already having secured jobs; 40% of which are in their 'Host School'. The national average for Secondary graduates gaining employment after graduation is closer to 30%!
Al Ronberg, pictured centre in this main photo, says of the Secondary programme, "When you study at BTI, you become a part of a family - you get the feeling that YOUR OWN personal success is something that EVERYONE on staff is working towards. They give you a long leash and continually personalise the course to your individual subject requirements and personality. The jewel in the crown is their ingenious Host-School model in Secondary Teacher training."
These photos show some of the 'behind the scenes' moments that were captured on the day.
BTI is developing a Master of Professional Practice (M Prof Prac) - an 18-month, full time equivalent, qualification designed for Christian professionals working in fields such as education sectors (ECE, Primary, Secondary, Tertiary) and social service, including Counselling.
We are delighted to confirm that the proposal has now been finalised and submitted to NZQA for approval. This can be a reasonably long process, but we hope to have approval by Term 4 of this year so that we can welcome the first cohort in 2015!
To find our more about our proposed Masters qualification, or to register your interest, CLICK HERE.
BTI is delighted to announce that we will be hosting author, Paul Young, and theologian, Baxter Kruger, in January 2014.
Experience this rare opportunity - come and linger in the love of God. Evening event and day retreat available, with prices starting at just $5!
Read more and to book online: http://www.bti.ac.nz/the-shack.html
"This simple story confirmed and validated the way in which I think and
relate to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. This book was life altering and truly wonderful. My understanding is that the author originally wrote it for his children. Love God, Love The Shack!"
BTI celebrated 20 years this weekend with a celebratory dinner at Mills Reef, attended by students, alumni, staff, VIPs and other key stakeholders, including Hon Simon Bridges, MP for Tauranga, and the Mayor of Tauranga, Stuart Crosby.
The evening was full of laughter, recognition of service, student awards and an inspirational speech by well known journalist, Rob Harley. Read more...
Everyone knows there is something special about BTI, but trying to put your finger on exactly what it is can prove tricky. Kathryn Overall takes up the challenge of exploring the relational learning culture that makes the BTI study experience so unique.
In recently published Government league tables, highlighting student performance across the tertiary sector, local Tauranga provider Bethlehem Tertiary Institute has proven that it can punch above its weight by out-performing all 18 institutes of technology /polytechnics and holding its own against the university sector.
Locally, BTI topped both the Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and the University of Waikato in two of the four categories measured; course completions (89%) and qualification completions (87%), and matched the course completion outcome of the best performing university, Otago.
BTI’s dean, Dr Andrew Smith, attributes the successful results to dedicated staff and the institute’s
commitment to quality education, “These results affirm our quality teaching, which is informed by recognised research and supported by a staff dedicated to student success. Over the past few years, BTI has seen an increasing number of students studying some or all of their papers at a distance, as they balance work and home commitments with study, and so we are particularly encouraged by our student retention results when compared to other providers of distance learning.”
The Tertiary Education Commission releases these figures each year to help students make informed
decisions when choosing a tertiary provider. Tertiary Education Minister, Steven Joyce, said the data showed that New Zealand tertiary institutes were performing well, with qualification completion rates improving across all sectors.
BTI offers qualifications in early childhood education, primary and secondary teaching, and counselling and
social work. A Master of Professional Practice qualification is currently under development for delivery
in 2014, subject to NZQA approval.
To read more about these results, visit the TEC website.
** Hot Off The Press **
We are delighted to bring you this year's Forward Magazine. Filled with a potpouri of articles, this third edition includes:
Hayden Reid: Bringing His Game To The Classroom
Charter Schools: Why Are They So Controversial?
How Do You Thrive As A New Secondary Teacher?
The DNA of BTI's Relational Learning Culture
Strengths Based Leadership
A Week In The Life Of A Third Year Counselling Student
2014 Programmes and Key Dates
Ever wondered why BTI graduates make such an impact? Check this out....
Kathryn Overall met up with Chris Thomas recently to find out about Chris’s role in the writing and development of BTI’s Bachelor of Social Work, and to hear about her perspective on how this unique degree fits within the broader social work context in New Zealand.
Creating a Social Work degree from scratch is no small feat - especially one with a special Christian character. Unsurprisingly, it took Associate Dean Richard Cook and his team, a number of years of researching, planning, developing and writing to bring BTI’s Bachelor of Social Work from initial concept into reality. An important part of that process included gathering a team of external experts, consultants and writers who could add great value to the degree development.
When it came to approaching writers in 2010, Chris Thomas was a natural choice. She is passionate about social work and has been part of the progression of social work in New Zealand since she trained in the 1980s. The early years of her career included working with the Department of Social Welfare in Southland for two years and with Catholic Social Services in Christchurch for 13 years - both places providing diverse and interesting work. Following those roles, Chris worked primarily as a professional supervisor and educator for the next 17 years at both the University of Canterbury and Massey University in Palmerston North.
Since 2008, Chris has developed her own training company called ‘The Project Team’ which provides training primarily in the area of strengths-based practice and supervision. She also continues to act as a professional supervisor to a wide range of outstanding social work practitioners.
With her vast professional experience and her capacity to engage with a Christian worldview in robust and meaningful ways, Chris has been a true asset to the social work programme at BTI.
Chris, why do you think this unique Christian social work degree was needed?
When considering my involvement in this degree development, I guess I had to resolve that question for myself, because there was some discussion from people around me about ‘doesn’t this already get covered, isn’t this part of the curriculum that’s offered in other programmes?’ I think that’s true to a degree, however I think there has been some challenges for a Christian worldview to be held at the centre or the basis for the work – even though a lot of social workers would profess to have a faith-based framework that’s underpinning their work. So, I think the explicit nature of the BTI approach is really, really important because it is explicit – it’s saying ‘this is where we come from’, but in a very clear way which links incredibly well with the Code of Ethics and our professional framework for the social work profession. I think it provides a place for people to explore this in a very coherent way which isn’t I think available necessarily in other programmes.
When writing the degree how did you, as a team, ensure you stayed true to the unique Christian character?
I think what was really important in this whole process, was that we held a Christian faith-based perspective at the heart of whatever we did. So for us as a team it was about thinking ‘what does this mean, and how does this connect with the social work literature and profession’, so that it was a very unifying thing.
It was as a huge process! There were lots of debates and rigour around how we would actually be doing that and a very full conceptual framework was developed which held us to our core beliefs. Micah 6:8 (do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God) became the touchstone for what it was all about…. we held that as a key to whatever we did in the programme… and then linking that with a strength based approach and seeing how those two fit very well together. It’s just really exciting to see a degree that’s kind of built from the inside out in a very coherent way.
What employment opportunities do you see for graduates of this programme?
I think there is always a shortage of social workers. The Memorandums of Understanding between BTI and The Open Home Foundation, Salvation Army and Te Aroha Noa – they are saying that there is a need for this degree.
I suspect that BTI graduates will be snapped up. I also see that in the broader context of social work though, in terms of what this degree offers…there will be lots of opportunities for social workers inside faith-based organisations and also outside.