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11 May 2010
Deakin University has responded to the internships debate by appointing Associate Professor Dineli Mather as its first university-level Director of Work Integrated Learning (WIL).
The University’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Philip Clarke, said the new appointment was a timely and strategic response to the current debate on the need for a National Internship Scheme initiated by Universities Australia.
“Deakin has a long-standing practice of incorporating Work Integrated Learning into programs such as teaching and nursing and we now have placement programs in most discipline areas. With this new role we are taking a university-level approach to Work Integrated Learning with the goal of positioning Deakin at the forefront of this field,” he said.
“Associate Professor Mather brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this role. She has nearly 15 years of experience managing industry-based learning and internship programs within universities, including establishing a very successful industry placement program within Deakin’s Faculty of Science and Technology.
“She also has a national profile as a leader in Work Integrated Learning through her role as the State Chair and National Executive member of the Australian Collaborative Education Network (ACEN), the professional body in this field.”
Associate Professor Mather said the work-readiness of graduates was a topic receiving national attention.
“The Australian Industry Group has supported Universities Australia’s call for a National Internship Scheme as a means of improving the work-readiness of graduates. A survey conducted for the Australian Learning and Teaching Council reported that in addition to improving graduate outcomes, Work Integrated Learning programs improved student learning, engagement and retention. And Universities Australia submitted a proposal for a $42 million National Internship Scheme in this week’s Federal Budget,” she said.
Associate Professor Mather said the new role would position Work Integrated Learning as a priority area within Deakin’s Teaching and Learning portfolio.
“Having a university-wide approach to Work Integrated Learning will enable us to be more strategic in our approach and draw on expertise from placement programs across all the Faculties and the Careers Centre to create a distinctive Deakin Work Integrated Learning model to enhance our students’ generic skills and graduate outcomes,” she said.
Associate Professor Mather said she personally experienced the benefits of Work Integrated Learning while gaining a Masters degree in the UK. The position of Director of Work Integrated Learning (WIL) is located within the office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).
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