New Ara council chairwoman after Jenn Bestwick resigns

Aoraki Polytechnic merged with Christchurch's CPIT at the end of 2015.
JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAX NZ

Aoraki Polytechnic merged with Christchurch's CPIT at the end of 2015.

South Canterbury's polytechnic will have a new woman at the helm following the resignation of Ara Institute of Canterbury council chairwoman Jenn Bestwick.

She will be replaced by political commentator, academic and government advisor Dr Thérèse Arseneau, Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith announced on Monday.

Ara chief executive Kay Giles thanked Bestwick for an "eventful" seven years as chairwoman, during which she saw the South Island's largest polytechnic through earthquakes, a merger between CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic, and the creation of Ara Institute of Canterbury.

Dr Therese Arseneau.
Craig Simcox

Dr Therese Arseneau.

Bestwick served on the council for nearly 12 years in total.

"We have enjoyed an excellent working relationship through an interesting period of the history of the institute," Giles said.

"Jenn brought significant skills to the council and she leaves Ara in excellent shape. The institution is in excellent health in terms of its educational delivery; student outcomes; relationships with the employers, schools and wider Canterbury community; and financial performance."

Last year Ara underwent its External Education Review (EER) with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), achieving the highest possible rating of "Highly Confident/Highly Confident".

Bestwick's term as chairwoman was scheduled to finish in April 2018, but Giles' retirement on June 30 influenced her decision to resign before then, so that the incoming chairperson could be involved in the chief executive appointment process.

"I am extremely appreciative of having had the opportunity to provide governance leadership to CPIT and subsequently Ara over this period and very proud of all the institution has achieved and contributed to the Canterbury and New Zealand vocational education and training landscape in recent years," Bestwick said.

Giles said Arseneau would bring "impressive business, political  and educational acumen" to the role.

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"Her expertise and experience will no doubt lead Ara to more success in the future."

Bestwick said the remaining council members were "as committed as ever" to serving the institute and providing continuity and stability.

 - Stuff

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