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Only here for the students

This Unit Coordinator describes her heavy teaching workload and the poor administration support she receives. Despite this she enjoys her time teaching and has received outside recognition for her efforts. She also describes her strategy to publish her work. More...

Most people here are higher level academics than me and are not interested in coordination. Within four months of beginning my academic career I was ‘thrown in at the deep end’ to become the undergraduate coordinator for our journalism program.

In my first year here, three years ago, I taught over one hundred students. This year I have more than two hundred and fifty students. To manage such large numbers I introduced an awesome mentoring program last year and via ‘facebook’, some of the older students are now mentoring the others. This semester I am responsible for seven units which cover content such as introductory journalism, media laboratories, story telling, political reporting, photojournalism, research and reporting, and a practicum. I am only here for the students as they provide our employment.

Sometime ago I took the advice of a wonderful professorial role model with a strong interest in teaching. She told me to stay in contact with my students and be available to them at any time. To do this I rarely enjoy time off over the weekend and work long days. It does not make me sad, it just leaves me exhausted. This morning I arrived at work for 6am to ensure everything was in order for an all day journalism seminar focusing on how to treat victims of crime. Because we have little administration support I took responsibility for all of the administration required to conduct the seminar including, travel forms, name tags, cost coding and photocopying. With greater administrative support my work day would be shorter.

I enjoy my work and became quickly engaged with interactive media learning. I encourage my students to use their imaginations and while there are no rules, students are expected to show respect for each other and strike a balance between being too critical or forceful towards others and being fair. Last year I was delighted to win a teaching award after introducing a new teaching strategy. I designed eight minute tutorials where students meet with industry representatives on a one to one basis just as reporters meet in a newsroom. Students meet with an ‘executive producer’ three times to develop a newspaper story, and then file the story for publication.

Due to my teaching commitments I am not involved in research. However, I write a regular column for an interstate newspaper which my university recognises as publications.

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