7 Aug 2019





7 Aug 2019

SAE Creative Media Institute (SAE) is thrilled to be awarded the highest possible rating for a tertiary education organisation by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).  

The External Evaluation and Review (EER) checks and reports on the quality of education delivered by the provider and independently assesses the educational performance and capability of the institute. SAE Auckland secured a Category 1 rating, with NZQA indicating they are highly confident in SAE’s educational performance and highly confident in their self-assessment capability. 

“I truly couldn’t be more proud,” said Campus Director Dr Suzette Major. “Since our previous review in 2015, SAE has undergone significant changes which included rewriting our qualifications, major investment in equipment and facilities and putting a greater focus on industry connections and offering career advice for students.”

“We looked to the ever-changing future and were brave enough to make the changes necessary”, she said. “It’s so reassuring that with this result, the changes have been validated. And so affirming for our fabulous staff that all their efforts were worth it.” 

In the most recent cycle of EERs, many well-established institutions throughout New Zealand move to Category 2 or 3. SAE’s Category 1 rating sees the institute maintain the position it secured in 2015.  In awarding the Category 1 rating, the report states: 

SAE is a student-centred institute with strong connections to creative industries and an innovative approach to programme design and delivery. Highly effective leadership and self-assessment practices underpin excellent educational performance.

Dr Major said that maintaining this status was difficult in the current environment. “But we have a magnificent team who are highly dedicated and creative. They give 110% to the students at this institute and that shines through in this review.”

Being rated as a Category 1 provider gives SAE flexibility and autonomy in programme delivery, applying for statutory permissions such as programme accreditation and delivering offshore programmes. The Category 1 rating supports the 2018 Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) audit that indicated 100% compliance.  “SAE could not be in a better position with both NZQA and TEC”, Dr Major said. 

Chair of the SAE Auckland Academic Board Pieter Watson agreed. “We’re really pleased to see the evaluator’s understanding of the quality of the SAE processes and outcomes that make Academic Board members proud to serve the SAE vision”, he said.

“Our mandate is to translate the academic rigour we’re responsible for into the best possible outcomes for students and graduates. All staff and students have the same interest in seeing graduates go places that wouldn’t be possible without the work-readiness and professional attunement they achieve at SAE.”

The emphasis on practical, real-world experience is endorsed by SAE’s Creative Industry Advisory Committee (CIAC), which ensures the relevance of its curriculum to industry. 

CIAC member Jeremy McPike (manager of Parachute Studios, ex-Roundhead and York Street Studios) said he was pleased at the review outcome. “The rating is clear evidence that the integration of work experience into SAE programmes is proving effective”, said Mr McPike. “I am so impressed with the diligence of the academic staff and management. They are committed to their students and providing the most current and practical training as possible, with persistence, enthusiasm and passion.”

He sees the relationship between industry and the tertiary sector as being crucial to this outcome. “These students are the future of NZ audio, music and film production and we are invested in seeing them succeed.” The 2019 EER report corroborates McPike’s words. It reads:

Highly effective, ongoing engagement with stakeholders ensures students gain relevant skills, knowledge and personal attributes for careers in rapidly changing creative industries. 

SAE has a collaborative, reflective culture and open and inclusive communication practices. All student groups are achieving strong pass rates, supported by an engaging and student-centred learning environment, an innovative curriculum and effective teaching and assessment practices.


To view the full SAE Auckland External Evaluation and Review Report, click here.