Change often seems slow in coming but then happens all at once. Arcadia Australia, after more than two decades of being based in Melbourne, is shifting to Sydney. This makes sense given that Eric Meadows (our wonderful former Resident Director based in Melbourne) has retired, the majority of our students are studying at partner institutions in the Sydney area, and our internship programs there are so popular. Sydney geographically also makes sense because of its location between Brisbane and Melbourne and the city is only an hour from Wollongong.
So the Melbourne student residence/office in St Kilda has been sold, and we have a new Resident Director, Gavin Turner, who lives in central Sydney. Gavin’s background is in developing and leading experiential education programs throughout Asia for various North American schools and institutions, which has seen him spend extended periods of time in India, Nepal, Tibet and SE Asia. More recently he was the Head of Training and Business Development for an organization that delivers personal leadership programs in schools throughout Australia. Prior to that, he was Himalayan Operations Manager for World Expeditions, one of Australia's largest travel groups and he also developed a crisis intervention training program for the 24-hour Crisis Clinic in Seattle, Washington. He has lived in the United States, Asia, and Australia for extended periods of time, is an avid team builder, outdoorsman, and engaged student leader. Gavin began at the start of July and has already been put to great use orienting our Fall semester students with much energy and enthusiasm.
Another major change in the staffing in Australia is that Marion (Mazz) Finlay has been promoted to Associate Director of Australia Programs and now oversees all the student support staff in Australia.
New Zealand, always eager to have its moment in the sun, has also made some staff changes. With Eric leaving Australia, I am the new Regional Director for Australia & NZ, helping the team in Australia negotiate change, develop new programs, strengthen the programs in place, and continue to promote Arcadia’s values of always placing student growth and well-being at the forefront of all we do.
With some of my focus shifting to Australia and continued growth in NZ student numbers, we decided it was time to get a full-time Assistant Director NZ Programs. After scouring NZ far and wide, it turned out that the best candidate was our very own Caitlin Barnett. Caitlin has more than four years’ experience working as our NZ Program Manager in Philadelphia, knows where we need to improve, knows the key staff at NZ universities, and is a CRM and digital native (Kate and I never mastered Instagram 101). She is calm and professional, and we are very excited that Caitlin will be starting her new role on 1 August. Kate is still very much a part of the Arcadia NZ family and will still be involved in our orientations and small projects.
So yes we are changing but as always our core Australia/NZ staff have decades of experience working for Arcadia - I'm enjoying my 35th semester on the job and some of the rest of the team aren't far behind. With hundreds of semesters between us, it’s fair to say that working for Arcadia seems to be not so much a job but more a way of life.