It seems that the University of Canberra just can’t keep itself out of trouble, particularly in regards to their journalism school. After recent controversy about Lynne Minion being asked by course convenor Crispin Hull to pass failing international students, one would think that they would want to lie low for a while.
However, when five journalism students submitted FoI requests, the university was in for some more negative publicity. They began to pressure the students into withdrawing their FoIs, which resulted in an article in Crikey by one of the journalism students in question, Lauren Ingram. The other four students did withdraw their requests, but Lauren Ingram refused and this has paid off in a big way, resulting in an article that was published in the Canberra Times last night about her findings.
According to one of the documents, the UC, in a bid to save money, will reducing the number of journalism practice units from 12 to 6. This means that in comparison to other universities offering journalism in Australia, the UC will have fewest journalism practice units.
It’s no surprise then that staff, according to Ingram’s article, have expressed concern that this could negatively affect student’s employment chances upon graduation.
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Despite the UC releasing a statement in December saying that all stakeholders, including students, would be consulted about any changes to the journalism degree, the documents did not support this.
“The documents showed journalism students were not consulted about the proposed changes, despite assurances from UC about consultation…An official course proposal document shows the only current student who was consulted was the head of the University of Canberra Student’s Association, Jason Paris. According to the documents, Mr Paris, who is studying education, was “broadly supportive of the changes” to the journalism degree. There is no evidence that he contacted any journalism students before lending his support to the changes.”
After being a student myself at the UC during the massive changes to the education course structure midway through 2011, I am not surprised by these findings at all.
One can’t help but wonder if Posetti, who has shown her support via twitter for Lauren Ingram’s actions, will be included in those cuts?