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UWS Latest News Health and sports courses strengthen Campbelltown Campus
The University of Western Sydney's Campbelltown Campus is set to become the premier health and sports education precinct in Sydney, according to a new plan announced today.
From next year, sports studies will move to the Campbelltown Campus, which will also house training facilities for the planned medical school scheduled to open in 2007.
As part of this vision, UWS will review the current structure and format of its bachelor of podiatry and osteopathy degrees.
In order to explore commonalities and linkages between these programs and other UWS health-related programs, the University will suspend next year's intake of new students into podiatry and osteopathy.
This temporary suspension will have minimal impact on existing students and staff who will be involved in the review. All course components required by existing students to complete their qualifications will continue to be offered.
Already, the Campbelltown Campus offers naturopathy, occupational therapy, health science, nursing and physical education courses.
Acting Dean, College of Social and Health Sciences, Dr Michael Darcy, says the University has a long-term commitment to offer industry-relevant and sustainable degrees.
"We want to revitalise our health science degrees in keeping with the changes occurring at Campbelltown. The aim is to give students greater choice and flexibility with their studies.
"UWS will be one of the few universities in Australia that offers a medical program in conjunction with nursing, allied health and complementary medicine degrees. This provides an opportunity for exciting cross-collaboration between these areas," Dr Darcy says.
The University wants to take stock and examine issues such as staffing levels, course content, structure and mode of delivery associated with its podiatry and osteopathy degrees.
"We intend to offer podiatry and osteopathy to new students in two years' time, and we are seeking to appoint senior academics in each of these areas early in the new year to strengthen the staffing profile and to assist with the review of these programs," Dr Darcy says.
"The University is in process of consulting with its podiatry and osteopathy staff and the academic union regarding the implementation of the changes," Dr Darcy says.
Last edited by Admin : 29th November 2004 at 09:14 PM.
THE National Tertiary Education Union has passed a motion of no confidence in the executive of the University of Western Sydney after it closed the intake for osteopathy and podiatry for two years without consulting the professions, students or applicants.
There will be no intake for osteopathy and podiatry for next year and 2006. Staff, students and the professions' national peak bodies say they were not consulted.
UWS deputy vice-chancellor (academic and services) Robert Coombes said the university regretted any inconvenience but it had to review the courses and couldn't have made the decision any sooner. The courses had been suspended because the university wanted "to take stock of ... the viability, the quality of outcomes, and also our ability to attract full-time senior staff".
The review was part of a wider analysis. "We need to review so we can look at the courses where we have strength," Professor Coombes said.
UWS would spend the two years "liaising with professional bodies, getting feedback from graduates, talking with students and seeing if there are better ways of attracting staff". The osteopathy profession had been contacted in October about a review, Professor Coombes said.
Applicants, who have until January 6 in NSW to change their preferences, will be informed of the suspension in writing this week.
Australian Osteopathy Association president Stephen Robbins told the HES: "There was no consultation. It was just a snap decision." He said the association was concerned with the timing of the closures. "It's been made late in the year when students have finished their HSC [NSW Year 12 finals] and a lot of them have put in applications [for places in osteopathy]." Mr Robbins feared some mature-age students might have quit their jobs to attend summer school as a precursor to studying osteopathy.
Osteopathy at UWS took in between 50 and 80 first-year students each year. They were required to finish a three-year degree course and a two-year clinical masters. Student Sam McCarthy said he feared the course would be dropped altogether to make way for a medical school at UWS, which was due to open in 2007. Student Osteopathic Medical Association president Alexis Bahar called on UWS to commit to osteopathy beyond that year.
Professor Coombes said resurrection of the courses depended on the review. "If all of the things we have concerns about are addressed adequately, then we may have an intake in 2007," he said. He denied the move was designed to clear the decks for the medical school.
Podiatry Council of Australasia chief executive John Price said the decision to cut the field's intake for two years would worsen a nationwide shortage in the profession, reducing the number of podiatry graduates by 40percent.
The decision at UWS reflects a rationalisation in health sciences: Curtin University also shut down its podiatry intake this year.
The NTEU's UWS branch yesterday said it would "lodge a dispute regarding the university's failure to adequately consult over proposed changes to college and school structures". It also vowed to publicise what it called "the university executive's arbitrary unilateral actions and financial incompetence".
First of all may I commiserate with all my colleagues at UWS who I know have worked very hard over the years and must find the recent news of grave concern Having lived through a similar experience, it is neither pleasant nor easy to be ‘dead men walking’. I was gratified to read the Australian article and wish the union every success with their campaign. Sadly we did not have that support here in the West otherwise podiatry might have put up a better campaign than what transpired.
As an educator it had been particularly difficult in the last twelve months to understand the complacency many clinical colleagues appear to express at the lost of another podiatric education centre of excellence. Some dream and scheme of the ideal school which will rise like the Phoenix from the fire whereas others dismissively shrug their shoulders and console themselves with "its all the more work for me". I was particularly alarmed recently with a quote "closure of a podiatry school would inevitably lead to increased fees for podiatry services". Not entirely sure how that works, but the absence of sustained podiatric research within an academic framework will assuredly lessen the credibility of a worthwhile workforce which has a major role to play in the health of a nation. It all comes down to critical mass and another school reducing its intake as it consolidates its curriculum detracts focus on research and reduces the critical mass of researchers in the Big Brown land. Peer disciplines will fill that void with erosion in the boundaries of professional autonomy likely to follow. Few podiatrists, including professional associations appear to comprehend the serious impact these closures will have. The continued absence of concerted lobbying has contributed to this erosion already and likely to continue in the future if a head in the sand attitude prevails, Rome burns while Nero plays his fiddle
However as I am now labour, considered surplus to requirements in the Big Brown Land I am about to work overseas but modesty prevents me from claiming I am part of the Australian brain drain. But brain drain there is from many Australian Centres of Higher Education with poor funding, bad management and academic bullying being cited as the primary reasons for seeking employment outside the country.
If these out of control autocracies are not help to book soon, then God help
Podiatry labour force crisis exacerbated by UWS podiatry course closure
Last week’s announced closure of the University of Western Sydney’s podiatry course to new students will exacerbate an existing crisis in podiatry, according to the Australian Podiatry Association (NSW).
On the 22nd November the association was advised that UWS would cease intake of Ist year podiatry students for 2005 and 2006, effective immediately.
According to president of the association Ms Claire Milligan, the announcement was made despite the fact there is already a major shortage of podiatrists in New South Wales.
“We are baffled by the decision,” says Ms Milligan,” as the UWS course is the only Sydney podiatry course, and this closure is likely to greatly reduce much-needed podiatry services to the community.”
The reduction in student intake levels is also likely to affect the busy public access clinic at Campbelltown, for people with foot problems including those with serious and complex problems such as diabetes, which is currently run by staff and students.
“Podiatry is the victim of the Federal Education funding system,” she says. “While the government’s own reports confirm the shortage of podiatrists, the Government has refused to increase the subsidy for health science courses such as podiatry, limiting their viability within the cash-strapped university system.”
She said that nursing received $2500 more per student from the Federal Government than podiatry and dental schools which have similar stringent infection control and clinical training requirements attracted a Commonwealth Government subsidy double that of podiatry.
According to Ms Milligan, this is the second podiatry course to close down in as many years ─ the Curtin University podiatry course, which was the only podiatry course in Western Australia, closed down in 2003.
“We are looking at a huge drop in podiatry graduates which will reduce services to people across Australia,” she says. “The health of many vulnerable members of the community, such as those with diabetes, is likely to be put at risk by this decision.”
Ms Milligan said that although UWS claimed that a lack of funding was behind the closure, the University still had funds to open a new medical course, when there were already six existing or proposed medical courses in New South Wales.
“We need urgent Federal and State Government action on this issue,” she says.
Last edited by Admin : 2nd December 2004 at 10:27 PM.
We live in interesting times here in Australia. I recently attended a joint forum between the university (specifically, the Faculty of Health Sciences) and a local health care network which is a major provider of aged care & rehabilitation as well as sub-acute and acute services in metropolitan Melbourne to stimulate discussion around the future health workforce and increasing shortages of health professionals.
Some interesting themes to come from these discussions:
1. It is clear that health service management, with respect to allied health, is acutely aware of the future difficulties in recruiting health care professionals, particularly as our 'baby boom' generation ages in coming years.
2. This identified shortage is paving the way for industry and universities to consider how the education and nature of the workforce may need to change. For example, the use of multi-skilled workers who can work in an interdisciplinary way beyond their originally acquired discipline-specific skills base to perform more generic health care roles.
3. Adding to the shortage of health professionals, which not only occurs through lack of university places, is the fact that many leave their professions following a relative short period working in that discipline. I think someone mentioned that OTs have a lifespan of 7 years before giving it away and I'm guessing that Podiatrists are possibly similar as other other health professions.
This appears to strengthen the argument for multi-skilling as a means of passing more 'menial' or less difficult components of a profession (eg. routine nail cutting & callus debridement) to professionals lower on the food chain such as an Allied Health Assistant?
These themes are obviously intrinsically linked to some of the other discussion forums here at Podiatry Arena (eg. Foot Care Assistants,Undergraduate Education) but thought I would pass on this to those here present in this great forum.
Food for thought.
Lecturer & Curriculum Coordinator
Department of Podiatry
Division of Allied Health
La Trobe University
Bundoora Victoria 3086 email@example.com
Last edited by Admin : 3rd December 2004 at 12:15 AM.
THE National Tertiary Education Union is taking the University of Western Sydney to court over its snap decision to scrap for two years, possibly indefinitely, its intake to osteopathy and podiatry degree courses.
NTEU industrial officer Chris Holley said the matter was listed for hearing next Monday in the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.
"They made that decision without going through the consultancy process required under the enterprise agreement," Mr Holley said.
"Management told us 'we've made the decision so do your worst', so we're off to the industrial commission to ask the AIRC to order them not to implement [the intake cuts] until they have done what they're required to do under the enterprise agreement."
The union last week called for the university's senior executive to be removed and for auditors to be called in. Mr Holley described the situation at UWS, which is restructuring its schools and colleges and its undergraduate courses, as chaotic.
"They are going through this apparently unco-ordinated series of restructures, they have over 20 formal change proposals and people don't know what campus they're going to be on next year, what they're going to be teaching," he said.
"It is a very chaotic position and the financial position is not very good."
Mr Holley said UWS had a deficit of $13million this year and that "it was looking much worse next year".
Cost-cutting had led to the reduction of tutorials in favour of mass lectures, he said.
After five years of "continuous restructure" morale was "pretty close to rock bottom".
Many academic staff were expected to look for jobs elsewhere.
The cuts to osteopathy and podiatry would cost a number of casual academic jobs, Mr Holley said.
A UWS spokesman said the reforms were designed to "further improve teaching and research, boost student support services, renew older courses, enable the university to develop new courses in high demand areas and reduce costs".
There will be an extra 1000 HECS places at UWS for new students in 2005.
Deputy vice-chancellor (academic and services) Robert Coombes said the university had "a mission to offer students contemporary degrees needed for tomorrow's job market".
"Federal funding arrangements have made it even more important for the university to streamline its academic program," Professor Coombes said.
The HES understands UWS wants to reduce its four colleges to three and its 21 schools to 16.
The four existing colleges are arts, education and social sciences; law and business; science, technology and environment; and social and health sciences.
It is understood that social and health sciences and science, technology and engineering are to be amalgamated.
NTEU branch president Robyn Moroney said the changes reflected a "shoot from the hip" mentality.
"We're over it. We're sick of it. We have no confidence. I'm absolutely gutted ... heartsick about what's happening."
I know this thread is two years old, but this appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today:
The accusations followed bans on government funding for research projects by the former education minister Brendan Nelson and a directive to the University of Western Sydney not to drop a podiatry course.
If you recall Curtin University, Perth closed its doors at about the same time. (Being in the West of Australia not considered as so politically important but a symptom of the same disease, none the less). Podiatry programs are expensive to upkeep, and not all are mainstream academic, (its a vocational degree, after all). Four year programs added costs for the institutions (and the students) and the lure of Graduate Entry Masters (GEMs) programs was all to evident at the time to university administrators. This was seen by many academic institutes as a licence to print money with full fee paying students on a program half the duration of traditional undergraduate courses. The misguided belief is /was graduates did not need to be introduced to scientific method, would have a foundation in related sciences and had a proven record of processing information quickly. In essence the same content (as per undergraduate course) was delivered in half the time. Apologies to program designers who did the hard miles and included accelerated learning techniques but most had no such infrastructure.
A further problem facing podiatry was the clinical training component which still revolves around a 1000 hours of exposure (in Australia). This is a myth but remains a valued judgement by many 'gatekeepers to the profession' (no criticism intended on my part) keen to ensure a profession competence. There is not enough weeks in a two year program to comply with the 1000 edict and development of GEMs met with genuine resistance. Further concerns of academic creep were well reported in the academic press, with many academics concerned at the real potetnial to 'water down' vocational degrees under the guise of a 'smart generation.' All this came at a time when the podiatry educators (in both institutes) were 'overworked, ' and under serious threat of redundency.
To universities (and politicians), podiatry has two sides. A high profile program which meets the need of community (especially older and iller demographics - lets call it Australia); and a very expensive program (compared to other low cost courses) which does not attract large numbers of students compared to more high profile programs. The catch 22 is the facilities on campus and restricted podiatric curriculum options prevent accommodation of larger number of students. Unlike elsewhere Australian students prefer to study at a local university and therefore the attraction of opening other courses in other institutes is very strong, but the problem comes with sustaining these programs after seeding money has dried. They then need to compete with better positioned programs on their own campus. Acceptance of a four year model of training has increased costs expotetially. Reseach grants when available to podiatry are poor (by comparison to other disciplines) and the demands of clinical training in a vocational degree are complex, expensive and all too often non negociable.
At the time (of closure) it was certainly common knowledge that discussion had taken place in Australia by various vested authorities there were plans to develop three or four centres of podiatric education in Australia. Small and expensive programs (not necessarily running at a loss) would be shed in this bold move.
The reason and timing of the article is (I believe) because there is a luming election and the government (according to the report) have consistently sat on the fence and allowed univeristies to become out of control autocracies. Empty threats to restirct there autonomy by Federal means has allowed 'a toe cutting culture' in the Australian centres of higher education which resulted in many quality programs being constrained or axed.
Well they closed, now they reopening and advertising for staff:
Professor/Associate Professor in Podiatry (SBHS) - University of Western Sydney
Join the University of Western Sydney and be part of the expansion of our health science offerings. We are seeking to appoint a Professor or Associate Professor of Podiatry as part of our new and contemporary Podiatric Medicine program. You will be innovative, dynamic, and enthusiastic, and willing to share in the future of the University of Western Sydney. You will hold a recognised podiatry qualification and a PhD in a relevant area. You will have innovative curriculum development skills, higher degree supervision experience, a strong publication record, success in attracting external research funds, as well as academic leadership experience.
Remuneration Package: Academic Level E $164,978 p.a.; Academic Level D $129,012 to $141,704 p.a. (comprising Salary Academic Level E $140,091 p.a.; Academic Level D $109,350 to $120,198 p.a., 17% Superannuation and Leave Loading)
One can only feel a little upset for the University of Newcastle and other Podiatry programs around Australia in this whole UWS created shenanigans.
UWS closed a program under the guise of "cost" only to re-structure and re-open.
There is already a lack of Academic staff around Australia/World and at the pointy end of the stick where UWS is recruiting (Ass.Prof or Prof) there is even fewer people! The staff have to come from somewhere - so is a Uni position reshuffle on the cards - I wonder which Australian or international Uni might be losing their current head of program?
Hold on and fasten your seat belts under grad Podiatrists in Australia - it's about to get a little bumpy for a while...or is it?