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Changes in Podiatry Course at UWS

Discussion in 'Australia' started by admin, Nov 29, 2004.

  1. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

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    I am grateful to UWS for the following statement:
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2004
  2. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Union rails at closure of courses

    Union rails at closure of courses

    Report from The Australian:
  3. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member

    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
  4. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    I am grateful to APodC for this statement:
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  5. Matthew Oates

    Matthew Oates Member

    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.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2004
  6. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Another press release

    UWS on course for showdown
    Brendan O'Keefe
    December 15, 2004

    Original story in the Australian
  7. Felicity Prentice

    Felicity Prentice Active Member


    As someone who was very involved in the setting up of the UWS course, I am nothing short of gobsmacked at the 'explanations' used to justify the sudden and inappropriate decision to halt student intake to the course.

    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".

    Young, enthusiastic well qualified teaching staff, no that isn't it....
    You could hardly call the Pod degree an 'older course' (first intake was 1997, first graduates only 4 years ago), so that can't be it.....
    There is certainly a high demand for Pods, especially in more rural areas, so that isn't it....
    Oh yes, cost cutting....hmmm, I think we're getting warmer...

    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".

    With respect to the VC Prf Coombes, I would have to describe this statement as being somewhat reminiscent of the kind of 'marketing language' used to sell expensive facial emollients. (You know, the no-visible-lines-or-wrinkles variety). What we had was a fresh and exciting new degree in a profession which is moving forward in terms of theory and practice, and in constant demand. Exactly what kind of restructuring of this course are we really talking about?

    My colleagial heart goes out to our hardworking Podiatry Academics. If only we could get the environmental lobby involved, because dammit, I think they are becoming an endangered species.


  8. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Uni faces court for shelving courses

    Uni faces court for shelving courses
    Sun-Herald Jan 2 2005
    Full story
  9. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

  10. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    This news is a bit out of sequence for this thread - its from Dec 21st, but only just came across it :
    From NTEU website

    The full statement from Deputy President Duncan is here as a PDF file.
  11. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    Things do not appear to be good at UWS

    This is from the NTEU website, dated 14 February:
  12. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    "Nelson Furious at UWS"

    From todays Australian:
    Full story
  13. admin

    admin Administrator Staff Member

    I know this thread is two years old, but this appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald today:
    This was in a larger article on Research stifled, says uni chief

    Anyone know what it means?
  14. Cameron

    Cameron Well-Known Member


    Scholarly skullduggery.

    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.

  15. NewsBot

    NewsBot The Admin that posts the news.

    Well they closed, now they reopening and advertising for staff:

    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2009
  16. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    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?
  17. lcp

    lcp Active Member

    Is that a definite re-opening or is it an "expression of interest" sort of thing? Has the last of the final undergrad's graduated from UWS yet?
  18. Paul Bowles

    Paul Bowles Well-Known Member

    Its a definite (of course pending lots of things between now and then as per normal process) and the last of the old UWS grads finished last year.

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