New facilities, new focus and even a new faculty. Victoria University is adapting to make itself more relevant and useful for its future students.
Three criticisms universities regularly cop are that their courses lack relevance in the modern world, many of these courses are not aligned with actual trends and that universities do not produce graduates that are work-ready. All three have been addressed in a couple of developments at Wellington’s Victoria University this year.
Creative centre at epicenter of film industry
For students interested in a career in the film, gaming, VFX, animation and creative sectors, Victoria has begun development of a new state-of-the-art facility in the heart of Wellington’s famed film area in Miramar.
Students and staff from Victoria will craft their own film, sound design/music, visual effects and multimedia projects at the new Victoria University of Wellington – Miramar Creative Centre, established through a collaboration between Victoria and Miramar Creative Ltd.
The new centre will be high-tech, with green screens, motion capture and new computer labs equipped with the same software that is being used by film production companies around the world. Staff from the Weta Group Of Companies will help teach and support students at the Centre, providing direct links with industry people and thinking.
The Centre will initially be the base for two of Victoria’s Master’s programmes, Design Technology and Fine Arts (Creative Practice). The Master of Design Technology is offered through the Wellington ICT Graduate School, and is a 12-month programme following on from a Bachelor of Design or similar programme. The Master of Fine Arts (Creative Practice) is taught collaboratively through Victoria’s School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies, School of Design and New Zealand School of Music.
With direct industry involvement in the courses and a location in the heart of a thriving creative business sector, Victoria’s future creative arts and design graduates will be ready to go to work on graduation.
Health faculty with a non-clinical focus
Victoria has also added a new Faculty of Health to its structure, and hopes to start offering a Bachelor of Health degree from next year.
What is different about this faculty and its courses is that they will focus on training for non-clinical roles which are almost 50% of the jobs in healthcare in New Zealand. Career opportunities include health promotion, health policy analysts, hospital and pharmaceutical managers, health information managers and medical charity or community group positions.
Health is certainly a growing business in New Zealand. The number of registered nurses for example has climbed 12% since 2009 to around 52,000 today, and one dollar in every five the NZ government spends is in the health sector.
Increasingly the government’s health focus is based around keeping people healthy – sunscreen promotion, anti-smoking initiatives, safety at work and in the home are examples- and on hopefully reducing demand and costs across the system. Victoria’s Faculty of Health is aiming to make a major contribution in this area.
A university that can’t adapt in today’s rapidly changing world is likely to suffer when examined by savvy school leavers. Courses prepared (and delivered) with the relevant industry, plus a new faculty to address tomorrow’s health needs, show Victoria University is continuing to refine what, how and why it teaches what it does to its future students.