University of South Australia unveils new academic restructure

The university has unveiled a new academic structure comprised of seven units including UniSA Creative, but what does this mean for future and prospective students? (Image Source: Study Ingram)

By Meika Bottrill | @meikabottrill

On April 6, the University of South Australia announced an academic restructure of their programs into seven new academic units.

It is the direct result of Enterprise25, UniSA’s new strategic plan, which aims to increase focus on academic programs and resources, improving the quality of teaching delivery and the overall student experience.

Professor Joanne Cys, recently appointed Executive Dean of the new academic unit UniSA Creative, believes the university’s realignment is a positive change.

“For students, the optimisation of our coursework programs leads to a more outstanding student experience. For staff, [the restructure] increases the ability to focus upon our core business of teaching and research,” she said.

“[It] will provide the necessary foundation for the University to deliver on our key Enterprise25 strategic initiatives.

The University of South Australia [is a] preeminent destination for creative degrees, in an academic setting distinguished by the depth and quality of its creative programs, supported by outstanding teaching and research staff and facilities,” Professor Cys said.

Having previously been the creative director of numerous other major practice-led design campaigns, Professor Cys will now be overseeing UniSA Creative’s strategic direction, through the delivery of high-quality teaching and learning, along with impactful research and research education.

[The new unit] incorporates research centres and concentrations, including the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments, UniSA’s node of the Australian Research Centre for Urban Housing and Research and the Creative People, Places and Products research concentration.”

Despite an ever-changing global climate due to COVID-19, the restructure has not been impacted by their decision to move all study online and will not affect current students drastically.

The organisational changes themselves won’t affect current students’ day-to-day experience as teaching staff will remain the same and there won’t be any changes to program curriculum,” Professor Cys said.

The programs within UniSA Creative include Design, Planning, Architecture, Contemporary Art, Communication, Journalism, Media Arts and Creative Industries.

“UniSA Creative brings together the previous Schools of Creative Industries and Art, Architecture and Design and spans the Magill and City West Campuses,” Professor Cys said.

“In total, [the unit] is home to almost 4000 students and more than 150 academic and professional staff.”

Current students will be presented with the opportunity to enrol in interdisciplinary courses within their academic division that will provide them with specialised integrated learning opportunities.

As for future students, UniSA Creative aims to correlate all creative pathways in one school to promote multidisciplinary learning, offering flexibility that allows students to make changes to their minors throughout their studies if need be.

One specified degree that allows students to do this is the Bachelor of Creative Industries, which combines both creative and business skills in one degree.

The degree was designed due to growing demand in the industry for graduates with a pre-existing skill set that was both creative and business-oriented, and who wanted to combine these in the workforce.

Overall, the new academic units sit under seven categories:

  • UniSA Clinical & Health Sciences
  • UniSA Allied Health & Human Performance
  • UniSA STEM
  • UniSA Creative
  • UniSA Education Futures
  • UniSA Justice & Society
  • UniSA Business

“Our new academic structure has been co-created following extensive consultation with staff, students and the wider University community,” the university said in a statement.

The university is currently in a transition period until the end of June to give time for students and faculty to adapt to the new academic structure.

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