AWARDS FOR PROGRAMS THAT ENHANCE LEARNING 2009

Category 6 : Postgraduate Education

Preparing Postgraduate Students for Careers in Writing, Editing, and Publishing
School of English, Media Studies, and Art History

Project Team: Dr Roslyn Petelin and Dr Kim Wilkins

Click here to view video  Click here to view video of Dr Roslyn Petelin.

The postgraduate coursework program in Writing, Editing, and Publishing (WEP), initiated in 2001, has addressed the dearth of excellent, ‘work-ready’ wordsmiths and the desire of many students to gain a postgraduate qualification and a career in the writing, editing, and publishing industries. Predicated on a holistic approach to publishing in the contemporary ‘new’ media, the program’s distinctiveness in the Australian context lies in the way that it encompasses writing and editing in academic, corporate, creative, and journalistic genres within a strongly vocational yet intellectually rich, challenging, and rigorous context.

Since its initial intake, the program has been an outstanding success, drawing high enrolments and a diverse cohort. Employment outcomes have been excellent. Graduates have been hired by prestigious international institutions such as the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the British Standards Institution, as well as by many Australian private and public organisations at state and federal levels. Many graduates have established freelance consultancies.

The courses present students with theoretical grounding and explicit strategies to generate, edit, and publish a wide range of academic and workplace documents within a supportive environment that emulates the workplace and demands its desired professionalism. Strong emphasis is placed on the oral and non-verbal aspects of communication by embedding presentation and ‘pitching’ practices within the courses. Because the assignments imaginatively and entertainingly model authentic workplace tasks, they function as memorable learning experiences as well as assessment instruments.

The program thrives on a blend of ‘authenticity’ and insistence on academic rigour. The dynamic combination of Dr Petelin’s reputation and expertise in a highly competitive marketplace and Dr Wilkins’ own skill-base that derives from her experiences in publishing is at the core of the program’s success. They display an extraordinary level of professionalism and commitment that they, in turn, expect and receive from their students. The success of their efforts is evident in very high evaluations of the blended learning that combines face-to-face teaching with extremely active Blackboard sites for all courses and the online wiki. These factors have resulted in an ever-increasing calibre of students and graduates, who experience an exceptional level of mentoring and camaraderie within their cohort. Many attest to the way in which their lives have been turned around as they meet like-minded staff and students with a love of language and are set on paths and presented with opportunities that they wish they had been led to years earlier. The ongoing association of WEP graduates with the program is testament to its impact.

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