Review endorses professional focus for School of Communication

16 JULY 2005

The review of Charles Sturt University’s School of Communication general staffing levels has been finalised, the results strongly endorsing the School’s practical teaching model used for communication courses.

The review of Charles Sturt University’s School of Communication general staffing levels has been finalised, the results strongly endorsing the School’s practical teaching model used for communication courses.

The review was announced in April, in order to reduce the School’s ongoing budget deficit. Submissions to the review, which have been considered in determining the final outcome, closed last month. 

Announcing the review outcome CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Goulter said the University’s strengths in the communication profession are a direct result of the distinctive professional teaching model that has been developed by the School. 

“CSU’s leadership in communication education and in the industry comes from the way we teach, with a strong professional and practical work focus. The CSU model comprises academic staff who have strong professional links, skilled technical support staff and industry standard equipment and it is the employability of our graduates that gives CSU the edge in the industry. 

“The results of the review support and maintain our commitment to this exemplary teaching model. My decision with regard to this review looks to a greater integration of resources, that is, a team of technical staff working alongside academic staff in the school. The technical support to be maintained in the School is the highest within the Faculty of Arts, and, at a level higher than in comparable areas of the University,” Professor Goulter said. 

He further emphasised that the review focussed on strengthening the School and ensuring it maintains its industry position in producing highly skilled graduates at a time of funding cuts and change. 

“We have to accept we are working in a time of change. The reality is that all universities are working with reduced funding. CSU’s funding has fallen by 25 per cent and we have to manage our resources appropriately,” he said.

Key points following from the review decisions are as follows:

  • A team of five technical staff to be developed as an integral part of the School to support communication course requirements, newsroom supervision and management of the Ponton Theatre. This equates to one technical staff member per 3.8 academic staff, the highest level of technical support in the Faculty of Arts. 
    This will effectively see a reduction of 1.5 technical support staff. Revised management practices will ensure better integration of technical support and practice within the School.
  • Two academic staff positions to be dedicated to working in the production areas of new media and broadcast journalism.
  • Embed in the University’s funding arrangements additional allocation provided to the School to support technical and production subjects. 
  • Administrative staffing support to be retained at 1.5 staffing positions.
  • Better integrate technical expertise and teaching practice in the School in line with course requirements, and
  • Implement a business plan to increase external income for the School.
Professor Goulter thanked everyone who had input to the review, saying responses about the School had been extremely positive and gave a clear indication of its high regard and standing in the industry. 

“I believe that this outcome is the best solution to what is a difficult situation given the funding constraints,” he said.

The decisions will be implemented to take effect in the beginning of 2003.

In related developments, Professor Goulter said the University is also instituting a number of other measures to further strengthen the School. Expert industry input from across the communication professions will be sought in a review of the Communication School’s courses and curricula, currently underway, with the aim of ensuring ongoing, high quality, competitive graduate standards. An external recruitment process working with industry representatives has also commenced to appoint a new Professor as Head of School.

“I am confident that together - these measures will work to invigorate the teaching profile of the School - to the benefit of our students,” Professor Goulter said.

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