‘Best of both worlds’ in uni ed­u­ca­tion

Pilbara News - - Pilbara News - Ali­cia Per­era

The prospect of a cen­tralised univer­sity model in the Pil­bara was elab­o­rated on last week when its back­ers vis­ited Kar­ratha to can­vass stake­holder in­ter­est.

Ger­ald­ton Uni­ver­si­ties Cen­tre se­nior staff are look­ing to ex­pand their suc­cess­ful re­gional univer­sity model into the Pil­bara af­ter achiev­ing fi­nan­cial sus­tain­abil­ity last year.

At a com­mu­nity dis­cus­sion about the pro­ject on Wed­nes­day, GUC di­rec­tor Natalie Nelmes said un­der the model peo­ple en­rolled as dis­tance stu­dents at part­ner uni­ver­si­ties while phys­i­cally study­ing at the lo­cal cen­tre, giv­ing the ben­e­fits of both course de­liv­ery styles.

“You get onto the online plat­form… so you do that work week in week out. Then you’ll come along and have your tu­to­rial at GUC,” she said.

“It’s ab­so­lutely the best of both worlds. You’re get­ting ac­cess to aca­demics from all over Aus­tralia, and then you’re also get­ting that lo­cal con­text with a pro­fes­sional in your own com­mu­nity.”

The present vi­sion for a po­ten­tial Pil­bara Univer­sity Cen­tre also in­volves ad­min­is­tra­tive and pas­toral sup­port for stu­dents, a city cen­tre lo­ca­tion, and up to 10 core cour­ses such as teach­ing and nurs­ing.

If there is suf­fi­cient in­ter­est, classes could po­ten­tially start from Se­mes­ter 2 2017.

Ms Nelmes said a Pil­bara model would have to be shaped ac­cord­ing to the spe­cific needs of its own com­mu­nity and to “in­form those quirks, those dif­fer­ent types of things that might be pos­si­ble” in a dif­fer­ent re­gion.

GUC had col­lected 130 res­i­dent responses to a vi­a­bil­ity sur­vey by late last week and Ms Nelmes said al­though the pro­ject was still un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, it was gain­ing mo­men­tum.

“We wouldn’t in­vest the time and en­ergy that we’re do­ing now if we didn’t think it had a rea­son­able prospect of going ahead, pro­vided it’s get­ting that com­mu­nity in­put and that it can get some fund­ing sup­port,” she said.

To have your say about the univer­sity model, go to www.guc.edu. au/pil­bara/sur­vey.

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