The University of Western Australia is moving towards a new framework for undergraduate and postgraduate study, designed to equip students with a global outlook and a community conscience.
After considering the recommendations of a two-year review, the University's governing body, Senate, has approved the new Future Framework, which encompasses exciting and wide ranging changes. The Senate approval follows last month's endorsement by the University Academic Board of the principles in the Review report, Education for Tomorrow's World.
The University will begin an implementation phase to ensure a seamless transition from the current course structure to the new framework, most of which will not come into effect until at least 2012.
The new framework will not impact directly on students who are currently enrolled or those enrolling in 2009, 2010 and 2011, nor have any effect on the outcome of any courses entered into in those years.
The simple and flexible framework for undergraduate courses has an emphasis on the development of a broader knowledge base as well as comprehensive research and communications skills, and a community service component.
The relationship between undergraduate and postgraduate degrees will be reshaped to prepare students more fully for a changing world.
UWA degrees, undergraduate and postgraduate, will have research skills development and inquiry-based learning as a hallmark, giving students the foundation for problem-solving and continuous learning throughout their lives.
UWA's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, said that the distinctive set of reforms would integrate the University's strengths as a research-intensive institution with a commitment to high-quality student-centred teaching.
"Our graduates are already highly regarded, in Australia and internationally," he said. "The changes will ensure UWA graduates are educated, enquiring, eloquent and engaged."
"Students need to be equipped for the world of tomorrow with a breadth of knowledge as well as depth. This is why we have included ‘broadening units' along with requirements to develop research skills and communications skills.
"We also recognise the benefits to our students of community engagement beyond the University, which will be an important part of the learning experience through ‘service learning' with a not-for-profit organisation.
"For almost a century, The University of Western Australia has been distinguished by the high quality of its courses. The Future Framework aims to ensure the University provides for the educational needs of future students and those of the wider community while reinforcing UWA's international reputation for excellence," he said.
Under the changes:
- Instead of what is sometimes seen as a bewildering variety of degrees currently offered, there will be five three-year undergraduate courses, with a 4th (Hons) year available - Bachelor of Arts; Bachelor of Commerce; Bachelor of Design; Bachelor of Health; Bachelor of Science. All fields of study that UWA covers at present will continue to be available, though in different forms.
- A new four-year Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours) degree will be available to outstanding students in any discipline. It will have an intensive research focus and support for a study abroad experience.
- Courses designed for professional accreditation will normally be offered only at postgraduate level.
- Combined Bachelor courses (double degrees) will be replaced by sequential undergraduate and postgraduate pathways.
The University will ensure future students, schools, professional bodies, potential employers and the broader community are advised on progress throughout the implementation phase.
Information about the new framework may be found on UWA's website at: https://www.coursestructuresreview.uwa.edu.au/
Professor Alan Robson (+61 8) 6488 2809
Professor Don Markwell (+61 8) 6488 1717
Janine MacDonald (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 5563 / (+61 4) 32 637 716