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Blog Archive: GradLife - Student Experience

Mr Shaun McCarthy: On the UON Legal Centre and the move to NeW Space

We recently had the chance to sit down for a chat with Mr Shaun McCarthy on information about the UON Legal Centre, his career highlights as well as student insight into the Juris Doctor (JD) and the embedded Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice.

Shaun is the Director of University of Newcastle Legal Centre (UNLC).  He provides clinical supervision to law students at the UNLC and teaches into the Law School's Practice Program, Bachelor of Laws and Juris Doctor degrees.

GS: As a member of the UON Law School, you have achieved much in your career. Is there any single thing that stands out as a highlight?

Shaun: Being Director of the University of Newcastle’s (UON) Legal Centre has to be a career highlight for me. Having professed to champion a Juris Doctor program that would focus on “classroom to client” theory and practice, the Legal Centre has been a great platform for students’ personal and professional development of applied law. It has also provided my colleagues and I with an opportunity to cultivate the potential in our students as they engage and problem solve their way to become lawyers.

Being a lawyer is not just about text, case studies and theoretical argument. While it is those things, a great theoretical lawyer will find themselves ultimately challenged when they step into their first case if they have been a student of law in the lecture theatre only. To be a lawyer means you experience the law – at school, in observing matters in a new light and taking meaningful steps to better someone’s outlook and situation in life. Using the skills learned, the Legal Centre at UON has allowed our students to take these invaluable steps ahead of their peers studying at other institutions.

What does the UON Legal Centre do? Can anyone use it?

Shaun: Yes it is open to anyone with many clients coming from a disadvantaged background or people who don’t have the financial means to seek paid legal advice. The drop-in Legal Centre clinics have become an invaluable community resource for people for whom access to legal advice on their issues would otherwise be unavailable. Our students deal with all sorts of issues at the Centre; in areas where they might be feeling a little uncertain of their knowledge or skills for applying the law. Students are often required to assist clients in an area of legal complexity but have the benefit of close supervision of qualified legal professionals. Our clients are comforted by the knowledge that the advice they receive is of the highest quality.

Do you think the Juris Doctor Program at UON has anything in particular that sets it apart from other similar degrees?

Shaun: Our Law on the Beach outreach service is an absolute standout. Now in its 14th year, most students tell me they could think of only a few things they would rather be doing than being at work, on a beautiful Newcastle summer’s day, beachside. Law on the Beach has provided people from all walks of life a very accessible opportunity to access the law. Our students frequently talk about their many conversations with clients that start along the lines of: I didn’t know where to go or where to even begin until I saw you set up here.

Word has it your Faculty has moved to new premises?

Shaun: I haven’t heard of another institution making such an investment in providing the best legal infrastructure and practical environment for learning as UON in recent times. The moot court room is a fabulous space enabling students to undertake intensive advocacy exercises.  The facilities and technology that have been included in this space gets everyone excited. Personally, I’m blown away at the facilities. I can’t wait to bring my first group through and conduct our first mock trial in this space. It’s truly something else, and something all at UON can be proud of. Sitting a block up from the newly-built, beautiful and functional Law Courts on Hunter Street, our students are well-positioned to embrace the access to Newcastle’s best law in practice…. at their doorstep.

Do you ever think about the things your students take away from their JD program through UON Faculty of Law?

Shaun: I hope they’ll reflect on all the wonderful opportunities we shared through their learning. Pro bono and public interest law might not be to every budding lawyer’s taste. However, the experience of learning the value of making a difference, little or big, for clients who come to see us is something I know will shape any lawyer in some way at some time in their long careers. Through our program they learn that trust, well-judged guidance and wise advice are highly valued commodities to clients and to employers. They can reflect on real casework at postgraduate interviews in the ‘real world’.

Our students have had the opportunity to undertake highly meaningful work at the Legal Centre including public interest cases such as our work assisting refugees and investigating possible miscarriages of justice.

Having such experiences as these – to truly advocate for a better outcome – is such a privilege and having this experience embedded in one’s practical study of the law offers our students a distinct advantage. 

Open Course

Globalisation in China

As part of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at the University of Newcastle, each year a group of 15 students are lucky enough to partake in a two-week intensive study tour in China as part of the Globalisation course embedded in the program. Here, Scott McShane a current MBA student who is Head of Digital at Life Without Barriers, explains how this trip gave him insight into global business.

Can you tell us who you travelled to China with and the purpose of the trip?

I travelled to China with peers from my MBA course. The objective of the trip was to learn about the content normally covered within GSBS6003 Globalisation while experiencing cultural immersion in China. A great place to apply learnings from the course!

How did the opportunity come about?

I learned about the Globalisation in China offering through a classmate who had been on the trip in a previous year. The application process was very straight forward with applicants evaluated based on a combination of grade point average (GPA) and a written expression of interest.

What was the most interesting experience you had as part of the trip?

We visited many world famous cultural sites like the Great Wall of China and the Forbidden City, which I will cherish for the rest of my life. However, a stand-out experience for me was meeting the Chinese students in Chongqing at the Sichuan International Studies University (SISU). Over the four days we spent at SISU studying the course content for Globalisation, we were shown around the University by undergraduate students. On the last day, they hosted a morning tea where they performed traditional Chinese acts before we exchanged gifts. Getting an intimate understanding of their culture and upbringing was the sort of experience I could not manufacture myself.

What challenges and opportunities did you identify?

The biggest challenges were related to my preconceptions about what China would be like. It was far more developed and modernised than I would have believed. The Chinese people were welcoming and genuinely excited about meeting western people and willing to share their experiences. Commercially the biggest opportunity I saw was the enormous consumer market. At odds with the communist structure modern China was built upon, government-driven consumption culture represents huge opportunity for anyone brave enough to take on the socio-political complexities of operating in China.

In terms of doing business globally, what insights from the industry visits in Shanghai and Beijing impacted on you most?

Because China is a manufacturing juggernaut, one can pretty much find someone to build whatever you desire. This was made extremely clear by the visit to Schindler where their company had such tight control around its manufacturing process and supply chain, that it would make a six-sigma black belt drool.

Would you recommend that other students opt to undertake the globalisation course as an intensive?

Absolutely. In addition to the globalisation course in China being an amazing learning and cultural experience, it was a great way to build enduring relationships with great people.

If you’re a current MBA student and are interested in this opportunity, applications will be opening in the coming weeks. Details will be sent directly to your student email address.

Shared values allows young leader to thrive and grow as a professional

Teacher and head of junior school at The Essington School in Darwin, Renee Schultz, has had a slightly offbeat education journey.

When she first left school, she originally applied for a double degree in business and property.

Taking a gap year, she was visiting family when she first contemplated something different.

“…My auntie has six children and I was with her playing with one of the youngest children one day and she said ‘Renee I do not understand why you are not becoming a teacher’ so I stopped and reflected and thought ‘actually, that’s probably something I would love to do’. 

“So I enrolled into Early Childhood Education at the University of South Australia.”

“Right from the first moment I knew it was the right career for me,” she says.

That was ten years ago and Schultz has now stepped into leadership roles.

“I think it’s important for a teacher to find a school community that share the same values, and I believe in an environment where you feel that you do have that same value system, that you can really thrive and grow as a professional,” she reflects.

When Schultz was asked to consider a leadership position, she was also asked if she was interested in pursuing further study.

Beginning her Master of Leadership and Management in Education course at the University of Newcastle, Schultz recalls those early frantic days balancing school, family and study.

“I read a beautiful quote, which I have on my desk, which is ‘you can have it all, just not at the same time’ ... I thought that’s exactly how I need to balance my week. 

“I don’t necessarily have the balance every day, but over a week, I endeavour to balance my life as best as possible,” she says.

Having successfully completed her study, Schultz feels that the experience has enriched both her teaching and leadership. 

And while she’s now a school leader, she’s still very hands-on.

“I’m in the classroom every day … I relief teach, so I know what’s happening within the classroom.”

This article was written by Elizabeth Beattie and originally appreared in Australian Teacher Magazine and Education HQ Australia

UON subjects ranked amongst the best in the world

UON subjects scored big in the recent QS World University Rankings by Subject. Here is how they ranked: 

Architeture: 45th in the world

UON’s Architecture and Built Environment has a unique forward-thinking focus on managing, designing and planning for resilience in our built environments. We not only teach the art, technology, philosophy and business of architecture, we challenge our students to think laterally and explore their potential as agents for change. UON architects don’t just design and shape the physical spaces of our cities and buildings; they use architecture to stimulate the places where we live and work, find social justice, engage the community and improve our world.

Learn more about the Master of Architecture.

Education: Top 100 in the world

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia's education discipline has ranked in the top 100 in the world, confirmed by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

If you're a classroom teacher, Deputy Principal or someone with an education background who's always been curious about the connection between theory and practice, then the University of Newcastle (UON) postgraduate programs are a perfect fit.

Our aim is to take you, an engaged practitioner, and turn you into a scholar that can utilise theory and research to affect positive change in the field of education.

Our postgraduate programs are flexible, giving you the freedom to design a program that suits your lifestyle. You can study when and where you want, whether it's online or face-to-face, daytime or evening.

Learn more about our postgraduate education programs:

Engineering: Top 100 in the world

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia has ranked 30th in the world for mineral and mining engineering and in the top 100 for Civil and Structural Engineering discipline by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017.

Learn more about our postgraduate engineering programs:

Nursing: Top 100 in the world

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia’s nursing discipline has been ranked in the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017, thanks to experienced clinical educators and internationally renowned researchers like Professor Sally Chan, Dean of Nursing and Head of School of Nursing and Midwifery in the Faculty of Health and Medicine.

Through accessing inbound and outbound professional mobility and connection with global leaders across the nursing discipline, the School’s staff and students have an opportunity to consider health related issues in an international context and to expand their educational and research horizons ensuring nuanced and innovative solutions to global health challenges.

Consistently enjoying high employment rates, our graduates are helping to advance nursing both regionally and globally to create a new era of improved health care.

Learn more about our postgraduate nursing programs:

Medicine: Top 150 in the world

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia’s medicine discipline has ranked in the top 150 in the world by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. The School of Medicine and Public Health is renowned for its Joint Medical Program (JMP) and postgraduate programs in population health. The School also has a strong research focus and pioneered the integration of multi-campus university and hospital based-research through the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI).

Learn more about our postgraduate medicine programs:

Psychology: Top 150 in the world

The University of Newcastle (UON) Australia's psychology discipline has ranked in the top 150 in the world, confirmed by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017. The excellent work of UON’s Pyschology researchers and staff is attributed to the ranking improving over 50 places from the top 200 in 2016.

Psychology academics at UON provide world-class mentorship to the discipline’s forthcoming generation of researchers, which aids the continuation of advanced research practices, whilst ensuring academic potential is achieved. An example of this is Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) student, Fatima Azam, receiving the 2016 Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) Peace prize at the 2016 International APS Congress in Melbourne, in recognition of her exploration into the social psychological factors affecting people’s view of societal diversity.

Learn more about our postgraduate psychology programs:

Nelson Burand-Hicks: On sustainability through community empowerment

We recently had the chance to sit down for a chat with Nelson Burand-Hicks, a passionate and engaging sustainability driver with a mission to connect his community with nature. 

Nelson currently serves as a Sustainability Officer at Muswellbrook Shire Council, where he is passionate about engaging with the community and helping them connect and fall in love with the environment they live in. 

GS: Thanks for coming in Nelson. Let's start with why you decided to pursue a career in environmental management? 

Most people go to uni with an idea of what they want to do. I went in knowing I loved the environment and I loved science. I had an idea of where I could see myself working, I first thought I wanted to do research, but then I realised it wasn't for me. So I thought I would go into consultancy, because that was the only other career option I was aware of at the time. I did end up consulting for a while, but due to the economic downturn I lost my job. In hindsight, I am glad that happened, because it drove me to do my postgraduate degree.

It wasn't until I embarked on the Master of Environmental Management and Sustainability that the management aspect really got instilled in me. My eyes were opened to all of the innovative and exciting ways to approach problems or issues and I began to understand what a huge impact one can have when approaching these issues with a positive mindset.

The masters program was a really good opportunity for me to for me develop my skills beyond my bachelors degree and I don't think I would be where I am today without it. I now work at Muswellbrook Shire Council where my focus is on sustainability. A big part of my job is to engage with the local community and listen to their ideas, so we are developing community programs that invite them to participate in the decision-making process. I am really excited to be working in a supportive environment where I have the freedom to develop these programs and collaborate with the community.  

GS: What were some major differences between your undergrad and postgrad degree?

NBH: I had an amazing undergraduate experience, but it was a time of lots of different thoughts. It was during my postgrad experience, that my idea of what I wanted to do shifted.

My postgraduate degree essentially added another layer or dimension to my undergraduate study. It made it more contemporary and I had a lot of scope and opportunity to tackle some complex problems and issues. The format enables you to really grasp an issue and run as far as you want with it, which is really cool because you're at the point in your career where you can apply your study to your practice. You also have a good idea of where you want to be in the future. And for me, I began to realise that my passion lied with linking community and the environment.

GS: What was your favourite course in the program?

NBH: My favourite course was Implementing Environmental Resilience and Addressing Complexity taught by Dr Bonnie McBain. 

Teachers do make or break a course, and for me, Dr Bonnie McBain, even in an online course, was extremely supportive and inspiring. She changed my mindset and gave my an excited and refreshed approach to working. She taught me the impact that we, as individuals, can have. The coursework was novel, exciting and progressive and I can definitely see the positive influence my studies are having in my career. I started thinking about science in a less traditional sense and seeing the contemporary imapct science has made in our society. In doing so, I've learned the importance of involving the community in science and the correlations that has to environmental resilience and social resilience.

GS: Tell us a bit about your personal project, Snorkelling Lake & Sea.

NBH: I think that anything you do as a job, you've got to like. Personally, I am really passionate about the idea of valuing the environment in which you live and having a pride of place. I was living near Lake Macquarie and I was thinking that when most people think of Australian sea life they immediately think of the Great Barrier Reef. And don't get my wrong, the Great Barrier Reef is an amazing place but I also thought about how I could instill a pride of place in my community and, as a result, I created Snorkelling Lake & Sea

I have underwater cameras and I often snorkel there to show people what amazing aquatic animals are within arms reach of our homes. I hope that by providing a snapshot of aquatic wildlife on NSW's east coast, through a variety of educational mediums, I will encourage a wider appreciation of aquatic life in the community.

GS: Any advice for other pursuing a career in environmental management? 

NBH: Each person will know in their mind what they love doing. If you love the environment, take time to have a chat with a lecturer or someone who works in the field and tell them what you hope to get out of a degree and your career. They can give you advice and guidance that will help get you to where you want to go. But essentially, if you enjoy it and can see yourself making a difference, than I would advise you to just go for it! 

GS: What environmental changes would you like to see be made in Australia?

NBH: Empowering the community is absolutely paramount to me. Even as environmental professionals, we have our own knowledge and skills, but it's not effective without having buy-in from the community or society at large.

I would also like to see the mindset of nature being outside of cities and outside of communities change. It's important to have green space in cities and engage people in urban wildlife. These initatives have a positive impact on both nature and the happiness of the people in the community.

For example, I just recently had a story in the Muswellbrook Chronicle about Magpie season and why they swoop. They are amazing and absolutely beautiful creatures, but we often hate or fear them for a few weeks each year. When you look at the numbers, only 12% swoop, and of that 12%, only half swoop pedestrians and cyclists, so it's only a minority. And that minority is only trying to look after their kids when they feel threatened. Magpies live for up to 20 years and they can recognise faces, so if you leave them in peace and establish a good relationship with a Magpie, they'll remember you and leave you alone. Plus, Magpies are a great natural pest control, they'll take care of you lawn grubs!

It's education initatives like this that can change people's mindset. I will continue to educate the community and collaborate with them to instill a sense of pride and appreciation for our local environment.

Nelson left us with an inspiring quote from a textbook he used in the program:
The story is told of a young emperor in ancient China who was exploring the labyrinthine interior of his palace. In his wanderings he came upon a room in which the palace butcher was carving carcasses. He watched the butcher at work for some time and was surprised to find that he didn’t stop to sharpen his carving knife. The emperor inquired: ‘My good man. I am surprised to see that you do not sharpen your knife. Surely with such work, it must frequently become blunt?’ The butcher replied : ‘Your Highness is correct in perceiving that for this work the sharpest of knives is necessary. However, I seldom need to sharpen my knife as I cut where there is least resistance.’ As change agents, we too need to learn how to work with the grain rather than against it, to act with skill and sure timing to ensure that our limited energy has maximum impact in bringing about movement towards the fully sustainable organisation.
  - From ‘Organizational Change for Corporate Sustainability’ by Benn, Dunphy &Griffiths

If you think you've got what it taked to be a change agent and you're interested in the Master of Environmental Management in Sustainability or the 4-course Graduate Certificate in Environmental Management in Sustainability, visit the program pages or contact us to learn more! 

Chaos and culture in Hong Kong

Last month thirteen UON students studying architecture and construction management got the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong and China to study urban living environments in the fourth densest populated city in the world. Here, Chris Hanlon a recent Bachelor of Design (architecture) graduate who’s now working in industry explains how it gave him a whole new perspective on architecture and how he is now drawn to the Pearl of the Orient.

1. What was the purpose behind the recent student field trip to Hong Kong and China and who was involved? 

The overriding premise behind the trip was to expose us to different urban environments and how they adapt to meet the needs of local people. As well as Hong Kong, we also spent two days in mainland China visiting (our lecturer and trip leader) Derren’s ancestral village in Shunde, in the Guangzhou province. Here we were introduced to courtyard houses and village style living that is typical of the area. 

2. What was the most interesting experience you had as part of the trip? 

Definitely, the way that Hong Kong plans its expansion and how they utilise every parcel of land that they can. Planning regulations in Hong Kong require all services and amenities (subway lines, telephone connections, schools, parks, hospitals, etc.) to be in place before the construction of housing and businesses even commences. This planning procedure ensures that each new area of Hong Kong is set up in a way that ensures its success – something I think Australian cities can learn from. 

3. Which city or town did you find most interesting and why? 

Not specifically any part of Hong Kong, but the way they live. The lifestyle in the city is this peculiar mix of Eastern and Western cultures that seems to hold on to some of its more ancient traditions, all the while embracing many new and modern norms from Western countries. 

4. Was it all just about looking at flashy new high rises? 

Not entirely. We did look at many of the new high-rises, but in more of a lets-critique-and-evaluate-them kind of way. The main purpose was to demonstrate that high-density living with a large population in condensed location is feasible. Personally, I would say we – as a country – need to be expanding our urban centres vertically – rather than horizontally – with attention being given to the provision of public amenities and infrastructure before people move in and occupy the area. 

5. What was it like travelling with your fellow students and lecturers, was it a good group? 

We ranged in age from 19 through to 27, all with different backgrounds, life experiences, and personalities. Working in close quarters in the Architecture Design Studio on campus means that we have all seen each other around, but not necessarily had contact with one another. So the trip kind of became a bridge between the different years and degrees that we may not have individually taken the time to put in if it wasn’t for the trip. 

6. Did the trip change your perspective on architecture, how? 

I have travelled quite a lot previously, but I have never experienced the sheer density and organised chaos that is Hong Kong. I can remember looking at photos of Hong Kong city before the trip and thinking “how the hell does anyone live comfortably in that environment?” But, having spent time there I can see myself living and working there for at least 12 months. It’s a city that thrives on challenges and is constantly working to make itself more efficient. 

7. What would you say to students thinking about studying architecture at UON? 

Do it. I applied to three different universities to study architecture – UNSW, QUT, and UON – I was offered a spot at all three, but took my first preference of UON. I don’t regret my choice. The lifestyle that Newcastle city offers is amazing and the facilities that we have access to at uni are fantastic. If I didn’t have access to the Architecture Design Studio I would not be as successful in my studies as I have been. Having 30 or 40 other students in the same boat as you, around you each day makes it more enjoyable. Each project is different, but you always have 40 opinions on hand to tell you where to go to move forward– which isn’t always helpful, but it’s nice that the option is there! 

8. You’ve just finished your third and final year of your undergraduate degree, what’s next for you? 

I’ve just started working full time at Webber Architects. So far it has been great because they have me using the skills and knowledge that I have gained over the last three years of study. It’s challenging because these are real-world projects that can fail if something isn’t correctly implemented – which is also terrifying! Next year I’ll go into the Master of Architecture degree at UON, which is a further two years of study, while working part time. 

9. Would you recommend other students get involved in the field trips to Indonesia, Nepal, Hong Kong and Alice Springs next year?

Absolutely! From what I heard the Alice Springs and Indonesia trips were awesome. Everyone had a great time and experienced so much more than they thought they would and more than they would if they just spent their mid-semester break at home. 

Connect with archilife at UON:

Facebook: @uonarchitecture

Instagram: @uonarch

Innovation Champion: An interview with Dr Anton Kriz, Program Convenor

Business innovation and entrepreneurship are at the forefront of economic growth around the world across every single industry.
Dr Anton Kriz, program convenor and senior lecturer chats to GradSchool about his own impressive resume of global business achievements as well as leading the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs to disrupt, challenge and change Australia’s economic future for the better.
GS: Hi Anton, thanks for talking to us today! Can you tell us a little about your professional background and how you came to lead the postgraduate Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program?

AK: I have had a varied working background across a number of different fields including the tourism and manufacturing sector, Australian government departments and in business at CEO and consultant level. I have a PhD on Chinese business perceptions on interpersonal trust and I have worked all over Asia but specifically in China on numerous projects, including assisting HunterNet Co-operative help its members and a 10 year Tourism Australia study on the inbound tourist market from China.

While I have been a lecturer at the university now for 15 years, I have continued to engage nationally and with local industry on strategic innovation projects designed to grow strong businesses and encourage future investment in our region.

My experience with strategic development and innovation management gives me the perfect skill set to guide students on this new and exciting masters program for 2017.

GS: Can you tell us a little about the Master of Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship program at the University of Newcastle and what students can expect to learn during the course?

AK: Many people consider themselves ‘entrepreneurs’ when they have a great idea but they may not have thought deeply about the execution of that idea and what happens next. This course will equip students with theoretical knowledge and real-world scenarios that they can apply to their own start-up or existing business.

The course will also help them to think creatively and yet be smart and strategic about developing and championing creative projects and ideas over time.

GS: Can you describe what you mean by disruptive innovation?

AK: Disruptive innovation is a very overused term we hear and see a lot in 2016! A disruptive innovator is usually a business that has a low-cost base that might break into a market without incumbent organisations seeing it coming. By the time they creep up it is too late.

For example, the new ‘sharing economy’ is huge and global businesses like Airbnb are turning over enormous profits in the accommodation industry yet Airbnb owns no property. Traditional hotel groups are having trouble understanding how to compete in this changed environment. This is a different style of disruption and is redefining entire industries.

GS: Is there a typical student for this course?

AK: I think this course will suit professionals already working as part of a research and development team or who are responsible for championing innovation through the enterprise as well as those who are working in the early stages of their own start up. We will definitely be extending concepts like innovation well beyond just products to processes and business models.

On the undergraduate innovation management and entrepreneurship program that began in 2016, we have a lot of passionate and highly engaged students who can’t wait to apply what they are learning to the real world. I don’t think there is a typical student but entrepreneurs are often naturally creative people who need help to manage and improve their ideas and how to execute them practically.

GS: How can businesses remain innovative in today’s fiercely competitive world?

AK: To remain innovative businesses should constantly be examining the technology they use, the way they train their staff, their human resources policies, their logistics department and marketing strategies as well as what they actually produce or the service they create for their customers.

I believe that innovative companies understand their own industry back to front, can predict what will work for their target market and are always spending time and money on research and development. They simply never stop learning about who they are and what customers want.

GS: What makes for a successful entrepreneur/innovator do you think?

AK: Having a creative thought process is certainly important as is a curious nature with an ability to plan and think strategically.

Think of someone like Steve Jobs of Apple who was clearly a creative thinker but he also worked incredibly hard to explore and exploit aspects of his company and the products they were producing. I also think that much like a successful company, a good innovator and entrepreneur needs to keep on learning and adapting.

GS: Who do you see as some of the best entrepreneurs in Australia and around the world today?

AK: Elon Musk the entrepreneur behind Tesla Motors, PayPal and Solar City is a very inspiring and wealthy inventor who wants to change the world. His goals are all about reducing energy consumption and global warming through manufacturing electric motors, solar power plants and producing cutting edge battery powered products.

We have some amazing entrepreneurs as well as innovative organisations here in Australia and plenty in the Hunter! Professor Ian Frazer is the Scottish-born Australian creator of the HPV vaccine for cervical cancer prevention that is now available around the world.

Hunter based business Hedweld has proved to be successful at diversifying from pure manufacturing and mining into areas like agribusiness. From working with them I know how hard they have strived to manage their systems while enhancing their technology and championing innovation.

GS: How can the university work with local industry to be an innovative organisation?

AK: I think it is really important that a university works with local industry so that it can match talented graduates to existing capabilities. In Newcastle that includes the engineering, manufacturing and medical industries as well as an emerging creative scene.

For Newcastle to remain vibrant it needs to offer a strong mix of top-level jobs and the university must keep building on this by encouraging research, innovation and investment locally. I think the new campus opening in the city in 2018 will be hugely important for strengthening and diversifying industry and university collaboration.

GS: Entrepreneurs and innovators are going to be a huge and important part of Australia’s future economic growth. How can graduates of this program remain competitive and ensure they ‘future proof’ themselves?

AK: It is always important that students keep on learning, even after they complete a university course like this one, they need to make learning a lifelong commitment. Being engaged and connected within their own industry is important as well as practicing their skills as much as possible and seeking out appropriate mentors to help guide their career development.

Thank you Anton!

To find out more about the postgraduate qualification available in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship visit the GradSchool website or call 1800 882 121

An Alternative Pathway to Postgraduate Study

Have you pondered the idea of pursuing a university degree but stopped short because you did not meet the direct entry requirements for an undergraduate degree? We wanted to let you know that skipping undergrad and moving straight into postgraduate study is an option for you if you have the relevant professional work experience.

For example, our Graduate Certificate in Business Administration is available to applicants who can demonstrate between 1-5 years relevant work experience, coupled with previous non-university studies. See the table below for a summary:

Educational Qualification Number of years relevant industry experience
No previous educational qualifications Five
3 Year Diploma (in a related field of study) Zero
3 Year Diploma (in a non-related field of study) One
2 Year Diploma (in a related field of study) Two
2 Year Diploma (in a non-related field of study) Three
Bachelor Degree Zero

Postgraduate study is a great way to prepare yourself to move into a management or leadership role. The Graduate Certificate in Business Administration will improve your foundation skills in managerial decision making, understand effective organisational structures, study human behaviour and learn to expertly manage people. It creates a whole new dynamic and confidence, which will help you excel in the workplace as a professional, rather than a graduate or intern.

The best part? You can gain a postgraduate qualification in just 4 courses. The Graduate Certificate in Business Administration can be studied part-time or full-time and online or face-to-face, so you can study in a way that is convenient for your lifestyle and work schedule. It's also a pathway into several of our business masters programs

iSelect CEO Scott Wilson, did it! In a recent 'Meet the Boss' feature in the Sydney Morning Herald he told his story of how he moved up the career ladder from pushing trolleys at Woolworths to becoming CEO of a large corporation. He started with the Graduate Certificate in Business Administration and continued on to complete his Master of Business Administration. You can read his inspiring story here

If you think a graduate certificate might be the right next step for your career, contact us and someone from our postgraduate support team would be happy to discuss your options with you.

A once in a lifetime Indonesian adventure

Second-year architecture student Alexandra Dangaard joined a select group of 7 UON undergrad and masters students who travelled to Yogyakarta, Indonesia recently with UON Associate Professor Michael Chapman to learn a centuries-old craft – how to build with bamboo. Taught by bamboo masters, they worked with locals and other architecture students from Indonesia, Germany and Australia all under the guidance of six Indonesian and seven Australian architects. This was a true cross-cultural collaboration and a practical, hands-on architecture experience like no other.

What was the purpose of the AusIndoArch project?

We had two days to design a range of small bamboo structures and installations and present them to our client, to be used in an annual arts and culture festival. Each group was assigned a project to design and build. The projects varied from entry and exit gates to seating and bamboo housing proposals.

You partnered with Indonesian students and locals. What did you learn about the Indonesian way of life?

I was already reasonably familiar with Indonesian culture and language, having studied there briefly and previously majoring in Indonesian studies and language. My experience on this trip highlighted the differences between their way of life and western culture and values and how everyone can learn from each other. When we all arrived for the opening night, so many locals from nearby came and shared dinner with us. Not too many could speak English, or even Indonesian, but would rather converse in Javanese. Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world - Eid Al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) was just the week before that, so the locals were extra joyous and kind to us during our time there.

Why is it important for architecture students to learn how to work with bamboo?

Bamboo is quite economic and sustainable – however, it is rarely able to be utilised  in Indonesia and other countries in South East Asia in such diverse ways - from weaving and making musical instruments; to plumbing, scaffolding, and building entire structures with it. The more interest there is in bamboo as a construction material, the more innovatively we can implement it in design and construction.

What was the most interesting experience you had as part of the trip?

A bizarre experience for me and I’m sure for the other Australian students too… one day our site became completely filled with people coming to be part of a local singing competition. The birds were judged on how loud, how melodic, or how long they could sing for. Other stand-out experiences included our nightly ‘open air’ lectures given by the master architects right next to a river – it’s so different from being in a lecture theatre that typically doesn’t have windows. Locals would sometimes sit by a fire on the other side of the river listening on. The concluding night was a party by the river – loud music, lots of people and lots of dancing, which was quite a contrast to the typical calmness of the area.

You and the students worked with bamboo masters, what does this mean?

All of the master architects that attended this trip are passionate about sustainable design. Quite a few had extensive experience with designing with bamboo in different ways, others with experience in designing in tropical climates or remote communities. I also consider the local labourers who helped construct our projects with us as bamboo masters – they had extensive experience constructing with bamboo. Their skills and knowledge were admirable and fundamental for our practical learning, especially since bamboo was a completely new material for the Australian students. I don’t think our projects would have gotten very far without them!

Is getting ‘hands-on’ vital to the architecture process?

I think it’s an absolutely integral part of studying architecture. There are so many things that you can’t simply learn in a classroom or from a textbook. Having had barely any experience building anything in my life, this practical hands-on experience was invaluable to me.

Did the trip change your perspective on architecture?

It reminded me how challenging comparatively simple design and construction can be compared to what western architecture students might be used to. It also very much demonstrated that simplicity in both technique and space can have just as much of a profound effect as the complex and modern.

What would you say to students thinking about studying architecture at UON?

We are lucky to have a design studio that is completely our own and that encourages collaboration and sharing between year groups – no other student cohorts have something like this. The teachers enable students to learn how to incorporate other interests and disciplines into their designs, encourage individuality and provide them with the tools to achieve a diverse range of career goals within architecture.

Connect with Archilife at UON.

Note: this project was a collaboration which involved students from University of Newcastle, Charles Darwin University, the University of Melbourne, Universitas 


A Passionate Educator: An interview with Jean-Marc Yameogo, Master of Human Resource Management

After a life-threatening childhood illness, Jean-Marc defied the odds, returned to school and embarked on a lifelong love affair with education. Today he holds four masters qualifications and is Head of Partnerships and Online Training at the Open and Distance Learning Institute at The University of Ouaga II in Burkina Faso. 

Jean-Marc chats to GradSchool about his formative years at school, his love of travel and education as well as his hopes and dreams for the next generation of students in Burkina Faso.

GS: Hello Jean-Marc, thanks for speaking to us today! Please, can you tell me a little about your most recent roles and describe what you enjoy most about your work?

JMY: The University of Ouaga II recruited me to help set up the open and distance learning institute as Head of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) after I completed my studies at GradSchool. In this role that lasted for two years, I was responsible for choosing ICT tools and learning management systems that fit the university’s mission. It was very challenging, first because there are so many learning management systems, and also because we are limited by means and connectivity. 

The University Ouaga II is a young university with lots of challenges such as dealing with large numbers of students within the context of lack of infrastructure (classrooms etc.), human resources, poor Internet links and a low rate of computer literacy. How do you design ICT-based learning systems for people living in this condition? What is rewarding about my work, however, is when you see that by the magic of the web, you can build a learning system that can reach students everywhere.

I still work in a technology role as part of the open and distance learning institute but now I am in charge of partnerships and designing training packages and online tutorials for students.

GS: Can you (briefly) describe the career path that took you to this leadership role as Head of ICT at the University of Ouaga II?

JMY: My background is in linguistics and literature. When I started working as a French teacher at a high school, I was given the opportunity to study multimedia in order to reinforce my way of teaching. I enjoyed this training so much that I decided to deepen my knowledge in the use of these new teaching tools so I completed a Masters degree in Education, with an ICT component. Following my graduation, the Distance Learning Centre of Ouagadougou, a World Bank and the Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) project, recruited me as a project training coordinator.

When the project ended, I had the opportunity to study Human Resource Management at GradSchool. I was interested in strategies, tips and policies for human resources development. It was after completing this Masters that I was recruited by the University of Ouaga II to set up e-learning programs through the newly established open and distance learning institute.

GS: Have you always been interested in ICT and if so why?

JMY: Not always! I heard about computer science in the 1990s when at school we were studying the impact of colonisation in Africa. I thought the computer was another means for European countries to colonise Africa again. Therefore, I tried to avoid all the courses organised by the university to provide students with computer literacy. When I was chosen among colleagues to attend training in the use of multimedia in education, I did not know that it was all about the use of ICT. As French people say, “appetite comes by eating”, and it really came for me with ICT. Now, I have become a champion in helping people use these ICT tools to facilitate their job, particularly in learning.

GS: Do you have any advice for others looking to pursue a career in this industry?

JMY: I encourage those who are interested in computing to do their best to learn about how to design and use ICT tools to help facilitate work and life. Particularly for Africans and poor countries; computer science and ICT represent a chance to make change. We have no means to build heavy industries, but it is easy to design software and ICT facilities. I’m really encouraged by the emergence of many software and utility start-up organisations set up by young Africans.

GS: Has learning played an important part in your life and if so can you tell me why? 

JMY: Learning really played an important role in my life. I was born in a small village in the Cote d’Ivoire. My parents were farmers. Early in my childhood, during the first year of school, I was stricken by hemiplegia and lost the use of my right hand and leg. After months in a hospital, my parents were not expecting me to return to school, but I insisted I go back, and I performed well. Now, I have four Master’s degrees in literature, linguistics, education and human resource management, respectively, as well as a number of vocational diplomas in pedagogy, multimedia and communication. I have travelled the world sharing best practice techniques for using ICT in training and I am considered a key expert on education in my country. So yes, learning has had a huge and continued impact on my life!

GS: What did you study at the University of Newcastle and how has your masters helped your career? 

JMY: I studied Human Resource Management at GradSchool, which really helped me in my current role designing training materials, learning packages and online tutorials for students and workers. I am also now tutoring students in modules that relate to human resource management. More generally, my Masters qualification has helped me resolve people’s issues related to work and their relationships with family and others.

GS: Can you tell us a little about the award you won in 2014 for ‘Best Practitioner’ organised by the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union. How did you feel?

JMY: One of our partners, the Francophone Universities Agency on behalf of the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union, organised a workshop that gathered teachers from the public universities and institutes of Ouagadougou. During this workshop, we were trained in how to design training materials. We were asked at the end of the workshop to put what we learned into practice. The materials I designed were seen by trainers and trainees to be the best and therefore I won! For me it was the result of many years of hard work and I was pleased that my efforts were recognised by experienced colleagues.  

GS: What career goals are you yet to achieve? What is next for you?

JMY: My dream now is to complete a PhD in order to become a full academic.  What is challenging is how to balance my job, family and research to achieve it! I have also just launched my own private school named “The Educative Society”. So far, we've built three classrooms with just 32 students in their fourth year of secondary school. I want to raise funds to build and equip further classrooms to help more young Africans achieve their educational dreams. 

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