ANZSSA e-Newsletter - March 2020

In this Edition     

Welcome from ANZSSA President
Introducing ANZSSA Executive 2019/21
2019 ANZSSA Conference reflection 
2020 Newsletter themes and submission deadlines
2020 ANZSSA Conference - Save the Date
JANZSSA Update                                                                                             

Happy New Year ANZSSA Members!

I hope that the academic year has started successfully on all of your campuses. This newsletter is a reflection on the 2019 conference held in Dunedin, New Zealand. This is an opportunity to hear from our colleagues who attended and to review some of the papers submitted. You will also get to learn more about the new members who have joined the ANZSSA Executive.

I would also like to use this opportunity, on behalf of the ANZSSA Executive, to acknowledge and pay our respects to anyone affected by a number of major catastrophic events occurring globally such as drought, bushfires, COVID-19 (coronavirus), flooding and, unfortunately, this list can go on.  I am very mindful that many of us have been affected personally but am also mindful that our profession puts us at the epicentre of providing support to students whose lives have been disrupted in some way.  Your efforts and contributions to the sector’s response to such crisis are invaluable.  Continue to look after yourselves and look out for your colleagues.  You are welcome to contribute content to the newsletter that shares how you are providing supports to students through these difficult times as I suspect many student services colleagues are navigating this area and the more we can learn from each other, the better.


Dr Christie White 

ANZSSA Executive 2019/21

ANZSSA’s Executive group is a committed and passionate group of professionals working in post-secondary education student services’ teams. The Executive are democratically elected positions by the Association’s membership. They are committed to driving a professional, inclusive and fair Association and as such members of the Executive have engaged in professional training in Association governance, disability awareness, Indigenous history and culture, cultural competency training, and LBGTIQ awareness training, with some members being identified ALLY members at their respective organisations, sexual violence awareness and intervention, and health and safety.  The ANZSSA Executive members for 2019/21, as elected at the 2019 AGM are as follows:

Dr Christie White, President

Stephanie Taylor, Vice-President (Australia)

Karen Davis, Director (Professional Development)

Amy Heise, Vice-President (New Zealand)

Tony Reed, Director (Engagement)

Caroline Spotswood, Director (Indigenous)

2019 ANZSSA Conference Reflection

Thank you to all who attended the 2019 ANZSSA Conference and contributed to the success of another outstanding annual event. 

The Conference Organising Committee is delighted to share with you below, the final product of live illustrations by Mark O'Brien during the 4 keynote presentations at the conference. 

Presentations from the Conference program, where the speaker has given permission to share, are available here

The Conference Dinner, held at the sepctacular Larnach Castle, was a highlight for all who attended.  In keeping with the conference theme, the dinner theme of Once upon a time..... meant plenty of fantastic costumes.  Check out the photos from the dinner here.



Lesley D'Souza - Storytelling as a path to change 

Dr Hana O'Regan - Aka atu ōku whatu ki te manuhaea, e pōkaitia ana e kā kupu ā ōna tīpuna: Raise my eyes to the torn bird, encircled by the words of her ancestors 

Laura O'Connell Rapira - Mobilising and harnessing people power and stories to bring about change 

Josiah Tualamali' -The maanaki that shifted it all 

Reflections from some 2019 Conference attendees:

Lesley O’Keeffe, Deputy Director Academic and Student Services, Brunel University London

 “Amazingly it’s been nearly three months since I travelled to the other side of the world to network with and learn from my new ANZSSA colleagues. I’m not sure what I expected from the trip, but I know that at the end I was not left disappointed! The idea of storytelling to enhance our work in Student Services was new to me. By listening to the sessions throughout the conference I found myself more intrigued by the idea and how it may benefit students back in the UK too. While our contexts can be slightly different from those in Australia and NZ, we still provide education to students and aspire to support students to achieve the best outcomes that they can from their time at University. I can’t count the amount of times that I’ve said ‘when I was in NZ I went to a session that explained about’ something or another! The little bits of information that I am using in my day to day work without even realising the impact of attending the conference has had on me. Just this week I was relaying a conversation that I had with one of the University of Otago students while I was sat in the coffee space in between sessions! I look back on my time with ANZSSA and know that I have grown as a professional, and that I got the chance to see part of a beautiful country. Thank you!”

Holly Lean, 1st Time attendee, Resident Manager, University of Auckland 

“I chose to attend ANZSSA after coming back from parental leave, I was excited to attend and re-gather my focus and to see what new practises and the direction of where student support was heading. ANZSSA is at the for front of student support and innovation and I constantly want to grow, develop and challenge myself and my thinking to ensure we a delivering the best possible practise and service to our students. I thoroughly enjoyed the diverse content of speakers and sessions from both Aotearoa and around the world. Learning and understanding practises from different institutions and providers not only challenged and inspired new ways of thinking but also reaffirmed systems in place that currently sit as best practise. The student panels brought real lived experience and created an open positive conversation, a session from which I felt many took away a lot of learning. Through the networking and connections made during this conference I have been able to strengthen and develop new working relationships with peers in and outside of my institution. With these peers we are working to develop a more pro-active approach to student support services and currently working on collaborative events focusing on student health and wellbeing and implementing those events in our first-year halls.  I think others should know that whether you are an experienced conference goer or a newbie there really is something for everyone at ANZSSA. I would challenge you to meet you new people, create open discussions and ask questions. The more you engage, interact and network the more you will get out of the ANZSSA conference experience!”

Noho Marae 

On 7 Dec 2019, the pre-conference activity of the Noho Marae began in Ōtautahi, Christchurch. The group gathered at the University of Canterbury’s Te Ao Mārama and then headed to the Ngā Hau e Whā National Marae. The group included attendees from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the United States, Singapore, and Aotearoa New Zealand. Activities at the marae included observing a pōwhiri and learning about how introductions are structured in Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view) starting with where you are from, who your family is, and then who you are. The group also shared kai (food) and enjoyed getting to know the other attendees. After a visit to New Brighton Beach, the group also experienced sleeping in Aoraki, the wharenui, and all that group sleeping has to offer. Due to the heavy rains and flooding that affected the Canterbury and Otago areas, the group’s travel plans were changed from driving to Dunedin to flying. Sincere appreciation for the quick response of the conference organisers and Karen Davis for ensuring all attendees made it to Dunedin with the least amount of delay. Much gratitude is also sent to Jamie Hape and Pauline Luafutu-Simpson for organising the marae stay and quickly arranging for daytime activities in Christchurch whilst the attendees waited on flights to Dunedin.

Introduction of the 2020 Newsletter Themes

April: Supporting Students Through Transitions

  • We are seeking articles that highlight the work done to support students (and their support people) as they navigate through transitions, such as starting university, exploring university possibilities and/or career interests, wrapping up their studies, etc. We are hopeful that all institutions will have recent examples of how they supported their students as the recent academic year kicked off.

  • Submissions due: 26 March 2020

May: Supporting Students’ Health and Well-being

  • We are wanting article submissions that discuss health and counselling initiatives, service support stories, sexuality, sexual health, consent, resilience, wellbeing achievements, student stories around health and well-being, promotional activities focused on health and well-being, available programmes, and/or journal articles on this theme.

  • Submissions due: 24 April 2020

June: Reducing Barriers to Student Participation and Achievement

  • We are accepting articles for about initiatives and successes related to disability services, financial services, LGBTIQ services and support, distance/commuter students, advocacy campaigns, widening participation programmes, etc. How does your campus or institution reduce barriers and increase achievement?

  • Submissions due: 24 May 2020

July: Peer mentoring and student leadership programmes

  • We are in search of article submissions that address the successes, challenges, and opportunities presented with peer mentoring and student leadership programmes. These could include peer assisted student session (PASS) mentors, FYE mentors, mentor/mentee stories, etc.

  • Submissions due: 24 June 2020

August: Supporting Indigenous Students

  • We are requesting articles highlighting how your institution supports indigenous students. We hope to hear from many of you regarding the programmes, initiatives, and successes that we know are present on campuses across Australia and New Zealand that make the environments more supportive for indigenous students. These could be articles about student groups, student support specific programs or institutional programs that promote indigenous frameworks, decolonisation, honouring the treaties, etc.

  • Submissions due: 24 July 2020

September: Supporting Employability and Careers of Students

  • Please send us your examples of how you and your colleagues are supporting students as they prepare for their future careers, including developing key employability skills and helping students to discover their future career paths.

  • Submissions due: 24 August 2020

October: Safe and Healthy Campuses

  • We are looking for articles that discuss and highlight the initiatives and programmes that help create safe and healthy campuses across Australia and New Zealand. These can be articles that discuss student involvement with ensuring health, safety, and well-being on campuses, initiatives that equip students with skills to lead healthy lives, crisis or disaster response systems, etc.

  • Submissions due: 24 September 2020

November: Communication and Engagement with Students

  • We are soliciting articles that address effective channels of communication with students, social media for learning and engagement, and the student perspective on communication within their university.

  • Submissions due: 23 October 2020

2020 ANZSSA Conference - Save the Date! 

The 25th ANZSSA Conference will be held from Sunday 6 to Wednesday 9 December 2020 at Crown Events and Conference Centre, Perth, Western Australia.  Lock the dates in your diary now!


The JANZSSA Editors invite submissions from ANZSSA members and student services and affairs workers for inclusion in JANZSSA Vol 28 Issue 1 (April 2020).  JANZSSA publishes peer reviewed articles, professional papers, best practice examples, book reviews and reports. Along with seasoned contributors, new authors are encouraged  to submit articles on their work for publication. Support for authors is provided by the JANZSSA Editorial team to assist with readiness for publication.  Information and Submission Guidelines for authors are available at: 

Remember, as a publication your work in Student Services and Affairs supports not only your professional development but also encourages your colleagues and supports them in the important work that they do in student support and services in higher education.

The JANZSSA editors also invite members of the ANZSSA community to nomination to be involved in JANZSSA and would be delighted to accept expressions of interest from ANZSSA members who would like to:

a) review as a peer articles submitted for consideration for publication;
b) take on an associate editorial role.

JANZSSA relies on ANZSSA members to provide support for the production of each publication and both these roles are important to ensure that JANZSSA continues as a professional journal.

Please contact the JANZSSA editors at