Annual report

Education

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The University of Western Australia aspires to be recognised as a global leader in university education.

To achieve this purpose, it is important that the University attracts students of the highest potential, locally and internationally, and delivers our students an excellent educational experience—by offering highly sought after educational courses, delivered with leading contemporary educational methods, and an outstanding holistic student experience; and achieving high levels of student satisfaction.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) leads the University's academic programs and the institution's education mission. He oversees the use of information technology, course structures, international activities, student recruitment and engagement, and relationships with key education partners. Following the strategic realignment of responsibilities at the start of 2014 and the subsequent re-establishment of the University Library and IT Services as separate divisions, the Education portfolio now comprises all central units directly responsible for education and the student experience.

The Education portfolio group was further strengthened following the appointment of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Innovation), the Chief Information Officer, and the University Librarian.

The Education Futures vision (articulated in 2013) moved into implementation in 2014 with the identification of three key projects—Carpe Diem (the transformation of campus-based units into digital, blended and mobile formats); Black Swan (migration of the Learning Management System to a future-focused platform that can underpin large scale learning and teaching via flexible formats); and Orientation (exploration of academic aspects of transition to university). This key initiative was a major focus for the portfolio and is seen as an important complement and subsequent step to the New Courses curriculum project. The Education Futures project will continue to develop under the leadership of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education Innovation) with the establishment of the Centre for Education Futures. This team of staff will be based in renovated premises on campus and will be home to purpose-built teaching and demonstration laboratories. Having our key staff supporting our Education Futures activities located on the main campus with purpose-designed facilities, demonstrates and implements the University's key commitment to quality education and the student experience.

It has been widely recognised across the University that Information Technology (IT) and Information Management (IM) are key enablers for the institution's strategic goals of leadership in education, internationally-renowned research and community and global engagement. The responsibility for central information technology (and information management) lies within the Education portfolio and IT governance, overseen via the UWA Strategic IT and IM Committee, is also the responsibility of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education). It has therefore been a key priority for the portfolio to design, develop and disseminate the University's first comprehensive IT and IM Strategic Plan (2014–2017). This plan, in combination with the appointment of the Chief Information Officer, will enable the University to continue to ensure close alignment of strategic information technology and information management with the University's overall mission, strategies and operational needs through a whole of institution approach; develop the University's IT and IM budget strategy; optimise service provision and delivery through an integrated, one university IT and IM environment; oversee the development of an IT/IM policy framework and set priorities for major IT and IM projects.

Student recruitment strategies and initiatives in 2014 have focused both on preparing for shifts in demand in undergraduate places arising from the half cohort and (potential) fee deregulation and on developing and promoting Cycle 2 courses in readiness for 2015, when UWA students who enrolled in New Courses degrees in 2012 will have completed their Cycle 1 degrees. In addition, continued efforts in internationalisation and equity programs have resulted in continued partnerships with colleagues in Marketing and Communications and a portfolio-wide commitment to recruitment as the earliest aspect of the UWA student experience. Innovations in 2014 included the University's first 'Postgrad Week' (a week dedicated to promoting the postgraduate coursework experience and course offerings), 'Careers Week' to highlight post Cycle 1 options for enrolled students and the development of online resources that target enrolled students to promote postgraduate coursework degrees. The funding approval for a market-leading UWA Future Students online presence will see an overhaul of the University's main enquiry and recruitment website.

As a global leader in university education, UWA places a high priority on the student experience. Measurement of student satisfaction is achieved via internal and external surveys and via ongoing relationships with student groups, in particular the UWA Student Guild. As part of our strategic goal of building institution-wide and ongoing commitment to the student experience, a series of initiatives were implemented in 2014 including the establishment of the Student Consultative meeting (monthly meetings of Education Portfolio and Student Guild leadership groups), the publishing of unit feedback (SURF results) and a proactive approach to encouraging participation in externally hosted surveys. A major asset in delivering a world-class student experience was the completion and successful opening of 'Student Central' in December 2014. These new and refurbished facilities at the heart of the campus enable future and current students to access admissions, international, administrative and support services in a single location.