‘Best of both worlds’ in uni education
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.