UWS launches The Academy: Unique inter-disciplinary program shaping future leaders
Gen Y sometimes gets unfairly maligned for being all about 'me', but now a new program being launched at the University of Western Sydney is disproving that furphy once and for all, with an emphasis on student volunteering, ethical leadership and creating a new generation of 'citizen scholars'.
The Academy is the first program of its kind across the higher education sector, bringing together the best and brightest students from across Greater Western Sydney who clearly demonstrate a commitment to using their opportunities in life to give back to society and to create a better world.
While undertaking their advanced academic studies, students in The Academy also participate in programs focused on civic engagement and citizenship – professional and personal development opportunities, volunteering projects, and mentoring and leadership programs which aim to create a well-rounded graduate who can meet the challenges of an increasingly complex and globalised world.
The program is being spearheaded by 2012 Prime Minister's University Teacher of the Year Award winner Professor James Arvanitakis, who is Head of The Academy.
Professor Arvanitakis says The Academy is built on three key objectives: preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow; building an understanding of ethical leadership; and taking an inter-disciplinary approach to life's challenges, to ensure students do not think in silos.
"We live in a fast paced and constantly evolving world where many current professions did not exist a few years ago. The only way to confront these challenges is by teaching skills and knowledge that are relevant not just today, but 10 – 20 years into the future," says Professor James Arvanitakis.
He says that The Academy has been designed with consultation and input from a wide range of stakeholders including community leaders, leading thinkers and most importantly, past and current students.
"We are proud to be launching The Academy at the University of Western Sydney," says UWS Vice-Chancellor, Professor Barney Glover.
"Through this unique program, our students will not only finish their degree with a solid education, but through enriching experiences such as international placements and study opportunities, volunteering programs and internships and mentoring, will leave with a deep understanding of applied leadership, and the confidence to meet the emerging challenges of the future."
Also impressed with the program is NSW Minister for Citizenship and Communities, the Hon. Victor Dominello.
"I applaud UWS for their leadership in valuing volunteering as a critical commitment in their students' lives," says Minister Dominello.
"Integrating volunteering opportunities into University through The Academy will help us grow future leaders who are not only well educated, but committed to contributing to the broader society.
"Students are selected in their first year of their undergraduate degree, and will remain members of The Academy throughout their studies. They come from a wide range of disciplines, including medical science, law, engineering, arts and nursing.
The majority of the workshops and classes will be held at UWS' new Parramatta City campus, which is also the home of the Sydney Graduate School of Management.
26 February 2014
Photos: Sally Tsoutas