Message from Professor Joe Chicharo, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Welcome to the second edition of the Academic Portfolio Update. I’m pleased to share with you another selection of stories demonstrating the continuous academic and professional achievements of our staff and students.

At the recent Strategic Course Development Committee planning day, work began on how to support micro-credentials, beginning with scoping supporting policy and governance around the development of micro-credentials. These are smaller and more flexible short courses, MOOCs and other units of study.

We are responding to a strong appetite from industry and our academics to introduce micro-credentials for personalised professional development and as credit towards more formal qualifications, addressing the desire for greater flexibility in learning.

The work will involve many staff across the University. The Academic Quality and Standards Unit is currently reviewing existing processes and policies to facilitate the introduction of micro-credentials. This will be alongside development of a strategy which will look primarily at post graduate course work opportunities. UOW will look to make recognition of these bite-sized qualifications easier to recognise and use for credit from 2019.

I also want to draw your attention to the recent national Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) results. The QILT website was updated in May with the latest survey results from the Student Experience Survey (the 2017 round). As a sector we have experienced a drop in both the quality of educational experience reported and in response rates, which UOW was not immune to. In some areas UOW’s drop was significant, indicating areas of challenge, however due to the two-year rolling average used by QILT, there was minimal impact on the May update thanks to UOW’s excellent results in the 2016 round.

The good news is that UOW continues to maintain its position as the highest ranked university in NSW overall on QILT, and is the highest ranked university for eight undergraduate study areas including Business and Management, Communications, Creative Arts, Humanities, Culture and Social Sciences, Law and Paralegal Studies, Medicine, Science and Mathematics and Teacher Education.

The great strength of UOW is its consistency across the 13 indicators reported on QILT, with all indicators except median graduate salary being in the top 3 to 15 institutions. For learner engagement and generic skills, UOW is currently rated third amongst the public universities.

For the 2018 round of the Student Experience Survey, UOW has successfully addressed the low response rate issue with the assistance of the faculties and Strategic Marketing and Communications, who have played a key role in engaging students through targeted communication strategies to participate in the survey. The impact on results and therefore QILT will be known later this year.

And finally, UOW has added a prestigious global award to its collection, after being named as a finalist for the second year running in the Global Teaching Excellence Awards. The University received a Spotlight Award, which recognises and celebrates institution-wide commitment to the pursuit of teaching and learning excellence.

I hope you enjoy this edition of the Academic newsletter.

Professor Joe Chicharo