NEWS FROM THE DIRECTOR
Postgraduate courses in Integrated Human Studies have been available at The University of Western Australia for a couple of years, and have now been remodelled into six-point units, with a new Certificate option included. We’re excited to announce that our postgraduate courses have gone online in preparation for blended delivery mode (UWA campus) and fully online (distance learning), in 2010. The blended mode means that while students will have some face-to-face course components, like seminars, they will also be able to access materials and activities online, from home or wherever they have Internet connection. Blended learning, and fully online learning for remote or international students, are a good fit with Integrated Human Studies, where no single textbook exists, and students are required to keep up with a rapidly changing world. Students need to evaluate information available online and discover authoritative sources; our units provide such skills and resources while enabling collaborative learning through networking tools and applications in the Virtual Learning Environment (VLE – we are using Moodle). You can see course outlines at http://learning.ewfi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14&Itemid=8
Many people concerned about global issues feel at a loss about how to help. We are happy to advertise a specific opportunity for the right person below under the heading “Volunteer required in Dili, Timor-Leste”. Please feel free to send this information around to your network.
Professor Neville Bruce
Director, Centre for Integrated Human Studies
NEXT SEMINAR: FAMILY – A DEAD CONCEPT?: SEPTEMBER 23
“Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we've put it in an impossible situation.” Margaret Mead
The nuclear family is an aberration in human history, yet it has shaped our perceptions and practices for decades. How is the family faring in the 21st century, and what are its prospects?
Dr Debra Judge looks at the evolutionary origins of the family group; Julie Jackson, Solicitor-in-Charge, Family Court Services, considers legal and policy implications of family definitions; and family law practitioner Penny Keeley shares her professional experience of the effects of divorce.
The seminar is in Seminar room 1.81 at the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, UWA, at the usual time of 5:30 – 7 pm.
NOTES FROM THE LAST SEMINAR, MULTICULTURALISM
Professor Dennis Haskell introduced the topic and pointed out that multiculturalism has been a hot topic for decades, and that the policy itself, introduced in the Whitlam years, had marked a change in Australia’s sense of itself. It was recently, however, a contested policy, with some people worried that the “core” nature of Australian culture was in danger of being put aside.
Suresh Rajan, the Executive Officer of the Ethnic Communities Council of Western Australia, began by acknowledging prior ownership of the land by Indigenous Australians, and stating that migrants to WA shared the journey towards reconciliation. After the abandonment of the White Australia policy, assimilation was the government-stated goal for migrants. Language and culture were to be left at the wharf or airport. From 1975 when multiculturalism was introduced by the Whitlam government and promoted by Al Grassby, it had gone through a number of phases according to the way various governments had stamped it: “rampant” multiculturalism, where the practice of country-of-origin language, culture and religion was enthusiastically encouraged; the “inclusive” multiculturalism of the Keating era; and Howard’s “Australian multiculturalism” which stressed the primacy of Australian law (multiculturalism “within an overriding commitment to Australia and the basic structures and values of Australian democracy”).
A basic tenet of multiculturalism is retention of language. Language comprehension is enhanced by knowledge of up to three languages, and a danger of language loss is the social isolation felt by old people who experience reversion to their first language with the onset of Alzheimer’s, and who cannot communicate with their own children whom they have encouraged to learn English exclusively.