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The primary attributes below help ensure students graduate from the University of Otago with the expertise, social attitudes and principles that allow them to advance in their chosen careers and grow as morally responsible people, while retaining a passion for lifelong learning.

The University of Otago's Mission is to create, advance, preserve, promote and apply knowledge, critical thinking, and intellectual independence to enhance the understanding, development and well-being of individuals, society and the environment. It will achieve these goals by building on foundations of broad research and teaching capabilities, unique campus learning environments, its nationwide presence and mana, and international links.

Graduate attributes

All University of Otago graduates will possess a deep, coherent and extensive knowledge of at least one discipline, coupled with knowledge of the fundamental contribution of research to that discipline. In addition, all Otago graduates will possess, to varying degrees, the following sets of attributes:

These attributes involve substantial affective elements:

Global perspective
Appreciation of global perspectives in the chosen discipline(s) and the nature of global citizenship
Interdisciplinary perspective
Commitment to intellectual openness and curiosity, and the awareness of the limits of current knowledge and of the links amongst disciplines
Lifelong learning
Commitment to the on-going acquisition of new knowledge and new skills, and an ability to apply these to an ever-changing environment
Commitment to the fundamental importance of the acquisition and development of knowledge and understanding

These attributes include those most often sought by employers:

Ability to communicate information, arguments and analyses effectively, both orally and in writing
Critical thinking
Ability to analyse issues logically, to challenge conventional assumptions, to consider different options and viewpoints, make informed decisions and act with flexibility, adaptability and creativity
Cultural understanding
Knowledge and appreciation of biculturalism within the framework of the Treaty of Waitangi; knowledge and appreciation of multiculturalism; and an ability to apply such knowledge in a culturally appropriate manner.
Knowledge of ethics and ethical standards and an ability to apply these with a sense of responsibility within the workplace and community
Environmental literacy
Basic understanding of the principles that govern natural systems, the effects of human activity on these systems, and the cultures and economies that interact with those systems
Information literacy
Ability to apply specific skills in acquiring, organising, analysing, evaluating and presenting information, in particular recognising the increasing prominence of digital-based activity
Ability to conduct research by recognising when information is needed, and locating, retrieving, evaluating and using it effectively
Capacity for self-directed activity and the ability to work independently
Ability to work effectively as both a team leader and a team member

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