The University of Newcastle, Australia

ODP update - the Student Journey

Friday, 1 December 2017

As the year draws to close I am conscious that many of you are wondering how we will be taking forward the learnings that have emerged from the discussions and feedback of the last few months of the second phase of the organisational design project, which has focused on the student experience.

This has been a very rich, informative and productive process, and we have identified a range of overlaps and gaps, areas of strength and also frustration. The process has also provided opportunities for many of us to develop insight into the work that happens within areas of the University – Divisions and Faculties – that contribute in less obvious ways to the success of our efforts.

The contributions that many of you have made over the last several months are helping to shape our thinking on the way in which professional services will be organised at UON into the future.

The “UON Student Future State Experience Map”, organised through the human-centred design process will guide and determine our ongoing efforts to deliver a student experience that is needs-centred, accessible, personalised, timely, flexible, scaleable, and consistent. A draft of the map was shared with the University Council and Executive Committee and they are supportive of the approach we are taking.

The actual organisation design phase is the next part of the project and it is important that we get this as right as we can, noting that all great organisations evolve, and we will refine our approach over the remainder of the year and build the design into 2018.

Feedback from staff and students has highlighted a number of opportunities for us to rethink our approach to the Student Experience. Some of our work will focus on:

  • the way we manage our portfolio of programs and ensure that we have productive and appropriate engagement with industry
  • how we reach out to and communicate with prospective students (possibly through a structure such as a Contact Centre)
  • how we can make the provision of support a more coordinated experience that adapts to the needs of our various cohorts
  • how we build the capacity within the institution to engage with the really exciting opportunities opening up to us through technology and developments in educational design.

Work has already begun on some of the areas identified above, for example a number of staff have worked with the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning and Teaching) Professor Liz Burd to develop a new design to the structure of our programs and a more streamlined approach to program and course approvals, and the work of colleagues at NeW Space is informing our understanding of how to organise professional staff services in a way that best meets student needs.

We will be including you in updates as things take shape. I know that many professional staff, particularly in my Division, are keen to know if, how and when any changes will impact their role at the University. The design aspect of this process is the last and most critical step. Given the size and importance of this endeavour, it’s my sense that a “stepped or staged” approach may give us continuity of service, while we transition to the structures that will support the delivery of our New Education Framework and a fully supported Student Journey. This will be our focus in early 2018.

I thank all of you for your contributions to date and I look forward to working with you next year as we organise ourselves for future challenges and opportunities.

Best for now

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