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Coral Hanna

Student Success Senior Manager

Student Success Senior Manager Coral Hanna

Not many people love their workplace enough to choose it as their wedding venue, but after over 20 years helping ākonga at Whanganui UCOL navigate the twists and turns of life, it was the perfect choice for Student Success Senior Manager Coral Hanna.

A professionally registered librarian with qualifications in library studies, adult learning and e-learning, Coral says she had always wanted to work for a tertiary library.

"When the User Education Librarian role came up at UCOL Whanganui in 2002, it was the perfect fit, so I had to go for it!

"I've had some really wonderful opportunities here. I've been able to progress professionally, and test the transferability of my skills."

Throughout the years, Coral's passion for helping people has shaped her career direction. Her current role is overseeing the Student Success Team who provide a comprehensive and effective network of support to ākonga at UCOL Whanganui.

"The team is amazing and they all have a high level of expertise. Whether staff are working in the library or as part of the Student Success Team - it's all about helping people succeed academically."

Student Success Whanganui are committed to an inclusive, integrated and holistic approach that develops capability and employability, encourages independence, and removes barriers that may affect engagement, learning and achievement.

"We work closely with Raukura Māori & Pasifika Pastoral Care team and we partner with local organisations including a local health provider for free counselling, nurse and doctor services. We are part of the Whanganui Social Services Network group, which includes community support services in Whanganui. We have a voice in this wider network for our ākonga.

"Because UCOL Whanganui is a smaller campus, we're able to meet one-on-one with most ākonga before they start their courses. This has been a great way for ākonga to get to know us, to establish connections and ease the transition to tertiary study."

Coral says these meetings can help identify areas where extra support may be needed.

"If we identify a disability, academic writing concerns, anxiety, or any barrier to learning, we can create a personalised support plan right from the start. Our support staff are committed to ensuring a positive learning experience for ākonga from the beginning of their journey through to graduation."

In 2023, UCOL Whanganui was approached by the New Zealand International Commercial Pilot Academy for assistance in building study skills.

"We worked in partnership with the pilot academy to teach their trainee pilots some important study skills and how to cope with exam stress. It's worked really well and the agreement has been extended for another year!"

During her time at UCOL, Coral was supported to take part in a job exchange programme in Canada.

"It was great! I worked with students to build capability and skills in research and referencing, and I provided training workshops for teaching and IT staff to embed library resources into their online learning platform. I was able to use my experience as a librarian, as well as do what I love doing - helping people."

Before she left for Canada, Coral wanted to tie the knot with her now husband.

"I never thought I'd get married at work," she laughed, "UCOL's accountant was a Justice of the Peace and my husband and I signed the paperwork in his office before we left. I'll never forget that."

Coral has enjoyed her career at UCOL Whanganui and would encourage anyone who is looking to further their education to enrol.

"For me, building confidence and showing people they absolutely belong here is one of the most rewarding things about my role. It's a great place to work and study - there's a real family-like culture here. We know everyone's names, they know ours. UCOL has been a big part of my career journey, and it's such a privilege to be part of the learning journey for ākonga in return."

Discover more about courses starting soon at UCOL Whanganui.

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