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Official launch of Victoria University's First Year Model

Victoria University is proud to announce the launch of First Year Model - an Australian first.

This bold and innovative approach to learning challenges the model employed by the majority of universities for more than a hundred years.

A special First Year Model event on Friday, 8 December, will see prominent University staff and guests in attendance. Renowned advocates and pioneers of the First Year Model approach will be among the guests, including:

  • Dr George Iwama - President and Vice Chancellor, Quest University, British Columbia.
  • David Helfand - Chair, Department of Astronomy, Columbia University, New York (via video link).
  • Professor Sally Kift – former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, James Cook University and internationally renowned university-education specialist.

Victoria University’s First Year Model will transform teaching and learning for Higher Education students beginning their first year of studies in 2018. It places students at the centre of the University experience and helps them navigate the transition from high school to higher education, setting them on the path to success.

“Victoria University aims to provide outstanding opportunities to any student from any background and to uplift the communities in which we operate, most especially the west of Melbourne. At VU, we have a strong tradition of providing outstanding opportunities to students from diverse backgrounds and contributing to its local communities. With the introduction of the First Year Model, we now seek to take this to the next level.”

 - Professor Peter Dawkins (AO) Vice-Chancellor and President.

From 2018, the first year of a VU bachelor degree will be delivered in single-unit 'blocks' over four weeks. This means students will complete one unit at a time, including all assessment, before moving onto the next unit. Our new block mode of teaching and learning is different to the traditional first year of university, where as many as four units are studied and assessed at the same time over 15 to 16 weeks.

The benefits of the First Year Model include:

  • Less stress - rather than juggling the deadlines and demands of multiple units, students can immerse themselves and focus on one unit at a time before starting the next unit.
  • Individual attention - smaller classes will allow students to get to know their educators, while receiving the one-on-one time required, whether that is additional help or an extra challenge.
  • Building confidence and motivation – the model provides better connections with educators and classmates and timely feedback to keep students on track.
  • Gaining desirable skills for the workforce - problem-based, interactive learning gives students the skills they need to be job-ready.

Victoria University has worked closely with the First Year Model team both in Australia and overseas, in organisations where it has been successfully implemented, to develop and deliver an enhanced undergraduate experience for VU students.

“We know that offering our students a greater chance of success and completion early on in their experience is very motivating. So the more they succeed, the more they want to succeed. It also gives them some advantages around being able to get to know other students in that block very early on and be able to study a subject in depth unhindered by other competing demands across concurrent units.”

– Professor Ian Solomonides, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning Innovation and Quality.

“The first year is critical for university students because it's where they need to focus to be successful during the longer-term educational experience. Engagement matters, particularly in the first year and particularly for time-poor students from under-prepared and under-represented groups. Our students come to us with varying levels of preparedness, with very different social and cultural capital. We need to ensure that they engage well, and form the learning habits and patterns of study that they need to be successful throughout their degree.”

– Professor Sally Kift, former Deputy Vice-Chancellor, James Cook University.

To arrange interviews with Professor George Iwama, Professor Ian Solomonides and Professor Sally Kift, please contact:

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