Open Polytechnic Chief Executive completes tenure

Posted on 14 December 2022

Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga General Manager, Dr Caroline Seelig, completed her tenure with the specialist distance learning organisation in December 2022.

Dr Seelig has led the organisation since the start of 2009.  In her message to kaimahi (staff), Dr Seelig said she was proud of the organisation’s achievements over the last 14 years. 

Under Dr Seelig’s leadership the specialist distance learning organisation has achieved its digital transformation; maintained strong financial surpluses; and become the largest Polytechnic division in the network of Te Pūkenga business divisions, enrolling 35,000 individual ākonga (learners) a year.

“I leave knowing that Open Polytechnic |Te Pūkenga is one of the top performing business divisions in the vocational education sector and considered a world class online and distance learning organisation internationally,” said Dr Seelig.

With 30 years’ experience as a senior manager in New Zealand’s tertiary education sector, prior to joining Open Polytechnic as Chief Executive in January 2009, Dr Seelig held senior positions at Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Eastern Institute of Technology and Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.  In those roles, she led institutional strategic and investment planning; oversaw flexible learning, teaching and delivery units; academic portfolio development; quality management; and student support.

During her time at Open Polytechnic Dr Seelig oversaw the introduction of a wide range of new qualifications designed to provide ākonga with high quality flexible learning programmes which meet industry needs, including in the fields of social work, teacher education, financial services, health and wellbeing, information and communication technology, and te reo Māori. 

The development of the iQualify online learning platform in 2014, and the creation of enterprise-level business intelligence tools which offer real-time analytics to enhance educational performance were some of the high points of the ground-breaking education technology tools developed under Dr Seelig’s leadership.

Recent highlights for Dr Seelig include Open Polytechnic achieving educational performance levels that are amongst the best in the world for open and distance learning organisations and receiving the prestigious 2022 Award of Excellence for Institutional Achievement from the intergovernmental organisation the Commonwealth of Learning.

Dr Seelig became the General Manager of the Open Polytechnic business division of Te Pūkenga in November 2022, before finishing her contract in December 2022.

Well respected in the national and international education community, Dr Seelig is continuing to assist a variety of organisations through her board memberships, including as New Zealand’s representative on the intergovernmental Commonwealth of Learning’s Board of Governors, and as a Board Member of Ako Aotearoa

Alan Cadwallader, who joined the organisation as Executive Director Learning Delivery in 2015, has been appointed to the interim leadership role of the organisation as Executive Director Open Polytechnic | Te Pūkenga.