Case studies in university excellence

Flinders University has joined a national program of innovation in university teaching.

The Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham launched the National Innovation Case Study Collection at Flinders University in Adelaide today (21 September).

Senator Birmingham congratulated the Innovative Research Universities (IRU) initiative, saying the case study collection from the seven IRU members will add to the high quality of tertiary education in Australia.

“The beauty of something like the case studies is that they share the knowledge, experience, success and failure of others to inspire and help students, researchers and teachers to learn to follow,” he said.

“I would like to pay credit to the IRU for supporting this project which provides examples of innovation for others to build upon.

“It will help to strengthen our education system, to support students of today and the future, and to support new breakthroughs in the future.”

He said the case studies also will help students to excel and carry out outstanding research while giving graduates additional skills, such as work-integrated learning.

With this, Senator Birmingham visited several working research laboratories at Flinders at Tonsley, including a medical device and the 3D printing innovation lab.

Senator Birmingham and David Hobbs in the Rehabilitation and Motion Analysis Laboratory at Flinders at Tonsley.
Senator Birmingham and Rehabilitation Engineer David Hobbs in the Rehabilitation and Motion Analysis Laboratory at Flinders at Tonsley earlier today.

The network of Australian Innovative Research Universities online collection shares the  seven universities’ respective expertise in supporting student and graduate success with more than 110 digital case studies.

The resources, which will be publicly available, have been developed to encourage broader collaborations across the sector.

“The National Innovation Case Study Collection is the first digital repository of its kind,” says IRU Executive Director Conor King.

“It shows the extraordinary ingenuity and extremely hard work ongoing at our member universities to equip more than 200,000 current students – and many more graduates – with the skills and abilities to meet the challenges of life in the world of work in our time.”

The case studies, covering 20 high-level themes, enable best practice and cross-sector collaboration. They include Enhancing Employability (focusing on career action plans), Increasing Cultural Understanding (for basic understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural literacy) and a work-integrated learning program developed at Flinders University.

2016 University Teacher of the Year, Flinders Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva, left, with Senator Birmingham, Flinders Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Students) Professor Clare Pollock, Associate Professor Jessica Vanderlelie and the IRU’s Conor King.

The National Innovation Case Study Collection was driven by the inaugural IRU Vice-Chancellor Fellow, Associate Professor Jessica Vanderlelie.

“The IRU National Innovation Case Study Collection create an open-source repository to share best practice across all Australian universities,” says Associate Professor Vanderlelie.

She says the Case Study Collection will help to improve student and graduate success from the day of enrolment through to finding the best graduate job.

Along with the launch, Senator Birmingham also celebrated the achievements of the  Australian University Teacher of the Year, Flinders University Associate Professor Karen Burke da Silva.

Four of the past five Australian University Teachers of the Year hail from IRU member unis.

The Flinders case studies include:

  • Developing innovation skills through work integrated learning (developed by David Hobbs, Giselle Rampersad and Vlatka Zivotic-Kukolj)
  • Emotional Intelligence Module (Verity Kingsmill)
  • Flinders Legal Advice Clinic (Tania Leiman)
  • Flinders University Student Association (FUSA) Development Grants (Kate Walsh)
  • Flinders Law Practical Legal Training (Lucy Evans)
  • First Year Support Strategies Portal (Ann Luzeckyj and Andrea Rankin)
  • Australian Foreign Policy Subject (Maryanne Kelton and Verity Kingsmill)
  • Corporate Law – Connecting with the Legal Profession (Vivienne Brand and Sulette Lombard)
  • Early Intervention Clustering Algorithm (Richard Price)
  • Community Voices Program (Tom Young)

The 20 themes of the 115 case studies cover: Alumni, Career Development Learning, Co-Curricular, Community engagement, Curriculum, e-Portfolio, Employability, Entrepreneurship, Industry Engagement, Indigenous,  International, Leadership, Learning analytics, Mentor, Post-Graduate, Professional Experience, Student Support, Technology, Volunteer and Work Integrated Learning.

Follow @IRUAustralia, @JessVanderlelie on Twitter using #InnovationCases

The IRU network includes Flinders University, Charles Darwin, Griffith University, James Cook, La Trobe, Murdoch and Western Sydney University.

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