Nearly 180,000 students in Australia graduate with a bachelor’s degree every year, 113,000 students graduate from postgraduate coursework degrees, and 10,000 from postgraduate research degrees. These graduates are moving on to a world characterised by rapid and complex change, globalisation and lower graduate employment rates than that experienced by their predecessors. Most will experience multiple occupations over the life of their careers in a degree of discipline mobility not seen in previous generations.
The complexity and uncertainty inherent in graduate futures presents particular challenges for contemporary students. As they near the completion of their course, they are navigating the high stakes assessment that will dictate their degree outcome, and impending major life decisions.
For many students, this is a period of their lives imbued with some anxiety and many questions. Has the course in which they have invested so much time, effort, money and hope provided them with the capabilities they need in the next stage of their lives? What does the world expect of them? What options are available? How big is the step to the next rung on the ladder? How will they manage without the networks and structures that have supported them through their studies?
For universities, too, the pressure to demonstrate the value of higher education and graduate employability in a time of rapid growth is presenting significant challenges. How is graduate employability and value to be defined, measured and recorded? How might the efforts of departments across an institution be marshalled to achieve greater impact? What roles do curriculum, co-curricular activities and support departments play, and how do these interact to effect positive outcomes for large numbers of students?
The focus of this network is on this critical ‘transition out’ stage of the student career and the journey that follows. It will provide an opportunity to extend the debate regarding strategic and practical approaches to enhancing the ‘transition-out’ experience and long term outcomes for students at all levels of the higher education experience. Convened by two Australian Government Learning and Teaching Fellows with contributions from international experts in the field, participants will have opportunities to share critical insights, practical evidence-based approaches to improving curricula and co-curricula transition experiences, and to develop research partnerships and programs of national and international importance.
Professor Trevor Cullen
Associate Dean – Design Media and Communications
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan Unniversity
Trevor is Professor of Journalism and Associate Dean for Design, Media and Communications in the School of Arts and Humanities at Edith Cowan University in Perth, Western Australia. He has received several university and national teaching and research awards. In July 2015, he was awarded an Australian Learning and Teaching Fellowship to design and develop journalism capstone units for tertiary journalism programs throughout Australia – https://journalismcapstoneunits.org He is the first journalism educator in Australia to become a National Teaching Fellow, and also, to receive an Australian Award for University Teaching (AAUT). For more information about his research and publications, please click on – http://www.trevorcullen.id.au
Associate Professor Jessica Vanderlelie
IRU Vice Chancellors’ Fellow
Innovative Research Universities
As the Innovative Research Universities Vice-Chancellors’ Fellow, Jessica leads a collaborative approach to research, design, innovate and disseminate scalable, practices to improve student outcomes across all demographics. Jessica is a passionate academic that has demonstrated sustained leadership in learning and teaching in Australian Higher Education with a key focus on supporting student and graduate success. Jessica’s achievements in the development and implementation of practice-based curriculum have been recognised nationally through a series of prestigious awards, including the Australian Award for Excellence in Teaching (early career) in 2012 and an OLT citation for her work in innovative assessment design in biochemistry. In 2015, Jessica was awarded an Australian Office of Learning and Teaching Fellowship for a project entitled ‘Engaging Alumni forGraduate Employability’ and her recent work engages academics in the development of authentic, discipline-specific employability curriculum across the student lifecycle.