The Graduate Certificate in Community Leadership and Resilience is a new ‘product’ that will be offered for the first time in 202038. The course was developed through co-creation with industry and a market orientation lens and uses innovative 2 and 4 point micro-subjects offered over 8 week sessions collaboratively developed and delivered by staff from all three Faculties.

Background to co-creation

In 2017, following a significant decline in load across our regional campuses, the University had a strategic focus on increasing on-campus student numbers. The decline affected not only the financial position of the University but also potentially our regional communities through lower participation rates and skills shortages.

Analysis of the national university sector identified areas of opportunity within the prospective student market. To leverage these opportunities, it was critical for Charles Sturt’s on-campus offerings to be strongly aligned with market needs – both the regional industry and prospective student market.

A new course development approach was initially piloted in 2018 with a focus on the business profession. The process was a collaboration between the Faculty, the Division of Marketing and Communication and Strategic Planning and Information. The resulting product, the Bachelor of Business (Industry Professional Practice) was introduced for the first time in 201930 with new curriculum components, a condensed timetable over three days, the ability for short stays in student residences to align with the timetable, and career development opportunities embedded and aligned with the curriculum.

Following a reframing of the University Strategy, the pilot was extended to focus on the broad Health & Human Services sector in a cross-Faculty collaboration which was to co-create with industry to develop new market-oriented products.

What is the process?

The new course development approach

The key drivers of this pilot approach were market-orientation, co-creation, innovation and a whole-of-University approach. The concept of market-orientation is integral to the current University Strategy, To be a market-oriented University, the following characteristics will be integral to decision-making at Charles Sturt:

  • Evidence-based decision-making and insight
  • Student-centric thinking and engagement
  • Sector benchmarking
  • Brand driving behaviour
  • Strategic clarity for future investment
  • Culture of innovation and agility
  • Clear performance metrics (knowing what good/great looks like).

Market-orientation has been a key driver for all steps within the course development pilots.

The market opportunity we were asked to explore in late 2018 was Health and Human Services. We focused the scope of our explorations on two areas: broad Health and Human Services and Community Resilience.  Once these market opportunities were identified, the next step was to understand the market need and design the best product to meet that need. To achieve this, a co-creation approach was adopted, which involved working directly with industry and community stakeholders to understand the emerging industry needs and co-create the graduates of the future. A series of 6 workshops were held across our regional campuses (Bathurst, Dubbo, Orange, Wagga Wagga, Albury, Port Macquarie). Approximately 230 people attended. Participants were asked to identify knowledge, skills and attitudes of future graduates for the profession.

The clear gap in the Health and Human Services area was in Case Management and Coordinated Care and a Graduate Certificate was developed to meet this market need. This is a cross-Faculty collaboration led by the Faculty of Arts and Education. 

There was a great deal of interest in the topic of Community Resilience. Apart from core knowledge areas, participants identified other factors they felt were important considerations for the target market: content delivered in small chunks; affordability; and flexibility with opportunities for face to face engagement highly valued. Although a cross-Faculty collaboration, the Faculty of Business, Justice and Behavioural Sciences is the lead Faculty for this program.

What does the Graduate Certificate in Community Leadership and Resilience look like?

In response to the request for more affordable, smaller chunks of knowledge and skills, the Graduate Certificate comprises 28 micro-subjects, primarily 2 point subjects requiring 35 – 40 hours of student work; with a handful of 4 point subjects where the desired content areas could not be appropriately covered in a smaller 2 point subject. The subjects will be taught from the three Faculties in new 8 week sessions commencing in 202038 (commencing 9th March 2020).

There was a strong appetite from our regions for subjects to be available for Professional Development purposes. Students therefore have the option of: enrolling in the Graduate Certificate; enrolling in Single Subject Study with an option of later stacking micro-subjects to the Grad Cert; or enrolling through an Employer arrangement for Professional Development.

The subjects are being developed in 2 phases with Phase 1 subjects to be ready for delivery in 202038. Subjects are drawn from the three Faculties. They are delivered mostly online, with high-value F2F engagements where appropriate. The subject fee is $600 per 2 point subject.

The process of engaging with regional stakeholders has been valuable and is the most effective way to understand the regional needs of a professional area. The process has also helped the Faculty and Schools to build valuable connections with industry stakeholders.