AUT’s new Vice-Chancellor: ‘The digital divide is a real thing’


Auckland University of Technology’s new Vice-Chancellor is determined to break down inequalities among students in the sector.

Professor Damon Salesa

Professor Damon Salesa is AUT’s new Vice-Chancellor. Photo: supplied by AUT

Professor Damon Salesa started in the role this week, making him the country’s first Pasifika Vice-Chancellor.

He told Nine to Noon improving the experience of student groups that haven’t previously been well-catered for would be AUT’s top priority under his leadership.

“The reason I want to be a Vice-Chancellor is because I don’t think universities have made this the priority it needs to be,” he said.

“We will measure ourselves by how our Māori students do, how our working class students do, how our Pacific students do, and how they feel, because actually a positive outcome isn’t just a qualification.”

He said the pandemic illuminated inequities in the sector, with online learning hindering many students’ ability to participate.

“That mode of teaching had an inequality in it … the digital divide is a real thing.”

Salesa said universities needed to be held to a higher standard of fair outcomes for all students.

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