Deakin University Australia had three of its top faculty heads visit Sri Lanka recently to discuss new education prospects available for local private universities and institutes in the country.
Professor Gael McDonald, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Law said that with Sri Lanka's advent into peace there was considerable potential for more opportunities in the field of education opening up. At Deakin University, situated in Melbourne, opportunities are endless as they maintain continuous and close links with the government, leading corporations and professional associations to keep their courses up-to-date.
|Prof. Mardie Townsend, Associate Professor & Associate Dean of International Development
||Ms. Robin Buckham, Deputy Vice Chancellor, International & Development
"We want to ensure that our courses are relevant, practical and deliver the skills in demand, making it possible for our graduates to be practically ready for what they are to meet in the field," Prof. McDonald said adding that with job requirements constantly changing it was necessary to provide students with degrees that are of real value.
Thus an interdisciplinary approach is key at the University, where an arts degree could easily be connected with a management degree, and some courses and programmes are designed exclusively to fit a specific set of needs.
"We focus on three aspects when it comes to our courses," Ms McDonald pointed out. "One is that it is responsive to our students and to the market, the other is flexibility and then relevance." Deakin staff design their courses on existing trends in the market and according to what their students' needs are. Combinations of certain subjects like Sports and Management, and Entrepreneurship in regional development are some of these instances. An arts degree student can easily combine subjects with the Marketing department.
Robin Buckham, Deputy Vice-Chancellor International and Development said that at certain times they have been approached by industries and organizations to design a specific course for them. "We have been approached by the Police to design courses such as Forensic Accounting to deal with issues like money laundering and the Retail Industry has approached us to provide the building blocks for insurance and risk management related issues in our courses," she pointed out.
At the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences students can combine Nutrition and sports management to complete a rounded degree. "Today there is a need for management skills to be sharpened in any field along with a rounded approach to what they are learning and Deakin realising this provides opportunities for students from every sphere to combine with other degrees as well," said Associate Dean International and Development, Mardie Townsend.Deakin's courses are flexible so that a student can tailor their degree to match career goals. Off-campus, online or part-time study options are given where a student can choose to attend face-to-face lectures or work from home.
Deakin is one of Australia's largest universities, with more than 32 000 students and has campuses in Melbourne, Geelong and Warrnambool with a large number of international students as well. Established in the 1970s as one of the new generations of Australian universities, Deakin combines a university's traditional focus on excellent teaching and research with a desire to seek new ways of developing and delivering courses. Deakin has won the prestigious Australian University of the Year award twice and was also commended with six Citations for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning at the 2009 Australian Learning and Teaching Council Awards.