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- Student transition planning
- Teaching spaces
- Communication channels
- Student cohort experience
- Risk management
Student transition planning
During the next few months a good deal of further work needs to be done on transitioning arrangements. For much of this work the main responsibility now lies within faculties. In November 2010 Academic Council endorsed all recommendations of the consultation-based Student Transition Working Party report, which (among other things) specified what faculties will need to manage during the year ahead. The Director Student Services then sent a follow-up memo to Faculty Managers with detailed guidelines, support information, and a request for faculty transition plans. Some faculties have so far supplied their plans, and others have promised theirs soon.
Meanwhile consultation has been taking place with faculty representatives on various administrative matters that will need to change in the months ahead, but the focus of those discussions is on decision-making and student advising in relation to the new courses. The management of students in current courses is primarily, and necessarily, a faculty responsibility. Any specific queries may be directed to the Director Student Services.
Some staff members have been asking whether the demand for student places in particular disciplines may exceed the capacity of the buildings and specialist facilities such as laboratories.
Facilities Management has revised its preliminary modelling of the impact of NC2012 on space and timetabling requirements in the light of further analysis and trend data provided by Planning Services. Final numbers will be rechecked in July, after the approval of all unit details is complete.
The modelling predicts that enrolments in some units will increase, but that existing venues can accommodate the additional numbers - in a few cases through the use of repeat lectures, recorded lectures, video-linked classrooms, more flexible scheduling, and/or (in a few special cases) capped numbers for certain units.
The University will not need to create more teaching space in the short term. A new large-capacity lecture theatre is likely to be required within five years.
This year we plan to intensify and widen our efforts to communicate information externally and internally about the new course arrangements.
External publicity will include an expanded range of print and new media channels as well as further meetings with secondary school representatives and other stakeholder groups. Among other things there will be a television advertising campaign promoting UWA generally (not confined to new courses), further enhancement of the New Courses 2012 website, and the usual range of publications and events including prospectuses, Open Day, sessions with career advisers, and numerous faculty-based initiatives. The NC2012 website has been averaging around 2000 visits a week, and site traffic from external visitors is increasing. The Prospective Students Office is giving careful attention to the way in which course details are presented through TISC, particularly to ensure that all majors are clearly visible. Various planning documents have been prepared to guide external and internal publicity work on specific aspects of NC2012, such as a marketing and communications strategy for the B.Phil(Hons). The Marketing and Communications Working Party continues to work closely with Public Affairs on such matters.
Internal communication will include further Information Workshops for staff members nominated by Deans as faculty conduits of information on implementation developments and strategy updates. One such workshop will take place in early April on the topic of teaching venues and timetables, another in early June on student advising (‘hub and spokes') issues. Other internal channels of communication continue to be regular reports (such as the present document) to various committees and groups around the University, updates through the News link in the staff section of the NC2012 website, presentations to Heads of Schools arranged through Organisational and Staff Development Services, sessions at events such as the recent Leadership Day, and various ad hoc meetings by invitation. It is anticipated that there will be at least one open Vice-Chancellor's Forum this year on new courses implementation, and consultations arranged in partnership with the Guild, such as a meeting with the Guild Education Council and an open Student Forum.
Student cohort experience
In moving to fewer and broader undergraduate degrees, it will be important for the University to minimise any possible loss of students' sense of belonging to a relevant cohort of peers - a community of interest. In partnership with the Guild, a working party is currently being formed to explore the issues and remedies, and develop consultatively a report and recommendations.
From time to time, staff members raise questions about particular perceived risks associated with the introduction of New Courses 2012.
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