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La Trobe Essentials Policy

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Section 1 - Background and Purpose

(1) The La Trobe Essentials (the Essentials) Global Citizenship, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Thinking are vital areas of learning which all La Trobe undergraduate students will experience to foster the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become future ready in the workplace and the wider world. The Essentials are embedded within the wider curriculum and are designed to develop students’ capacity to address our most pressing global challenges. This includes being able to:

  1. engage with the major economic, technological, political and social issues, and understand how these are often inter-woven;
  2. demonstrate flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing environments in the workplace and beyond; and,
  3. apply their knowledge and skills effectively and responsibly to help find solutions to these major challenges.
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Section 2 - Scope

  1. all Bachelor degree courses;
  2. all Bachelor-Bachelor double degree courses;
  3. all Bachelor-Master combined degree courses;
  4. all campuses.
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(2) All students undertaking courses within the scope of this Policy will be provided with exposure to each of the Essentials in identified subjects at least once during their course of study. In those identified subjects the Essentials will be explicitly taught and assessed. However they are not intended to be a hurdle requirement for student graduation.

(3) All courses within the scope of this Policy will include ‘Essentials’ within the core subjects of the normal course structure. This may be within the core of a major. Where it is not possible to include each of the Essentials within the core subjects of a course, they must be made available through elective studies.

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Section 4 - Procedures

(4) The La Trobe Essentials (the Essentials) — Global Citizenship, Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Thinking — are vital areas of learning which all La Trobe undergraduate students will experience to foster the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become future ready in the workplace and the wider world. The Essentials are designed to develop students’ capacity to address our most pressing global challenges. This includes being able to:

  1. engage with the major economic, technological, political and social issues, and understand how these are often inter-woven;
  2. demonstrate flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing environments in the workplace and beyond; and,
  3. apply their knowledge and skills effectively and responsibly to help find solutions to these major challenges.

(5) The Essentials are not just about content. The Essentials are often inextricably interrelated. In practice, for example, Sustainability Thinking and its associated challenges will often require students to consider a ‘sustainability’ issue’s global dimensions, and/or its relationship to the possible benefits and costs of innovation. Such important interrelationships are a key feature to which students will be exposed.

Defining an Essential

(6) Essentials will be defined at a University level as outlined in Schedule A of this procedure and described at a subject level. Essentials are a distinctive component of the La Trobe Framework and are separate from Graduate Capabilities.

Governance

(7) Education Committee will be responsible for endorsing any definition of the Essentials and the criteria by which any subject can claim to be teaching one of the Essentials. Education Committee may audit any subject claiming to teach one of the Essentials at any point in time.

Approval of Essentials

(8) Colleges will determine whether an identified individual subject is designated as teaching and assessing one or more of the Essentials as part of the normal subject approval process using published criteria set by the University.

Criteria for Approval of Essentials

(9) Subjects submitted for approval as teaching and assessing one of the Essentials will be required to show evidence of how the subject meets the criteria.

(10) There must be clearly identifiable content, ILOs, assessment and activities relating to an Essential, for a subject to be considered for endorsement as an Essentials subject.

(11) An Essential within a subject should normally be assessed to include at least one major assessment task, and with Essentials-related assessment accounting for no less than 25% of the final grade.

(12) The University will develop and publish the criteria which any subject must meet to be designated as teaching and assessing one or more of the Essentials. The criteria will be published in the La Trobe Essentials Guidelines. Normally a subject approved as teaching and assessing an Essential would address only one Essential.

Embedding Essentials in Course Structures

(13) Co-ordinators of courses within the scope of the this Policy will review course structures to ensure and enable students to undertake each of the Essentials during their course of study.

(14) In generic courses where there are few if any core subjects, courses may need to embed at least one of the Essentials in a subject within each major to meet the minimum expected requirement.

(15) In structured courses where most if not all subjects are core, courses will need to embed all Essentials within core subjects to meet the expected requirements.

Implementation Timelines

(16) Course Co-ordinators should have embedded into course structures at least one subject teaching and assessing one or more of the Essentials in each major by Semester One of 2015.

(17) From 2015, further subjects teaching and assessing the Essentials will be developed as appropriate to ensure course structures within the scope of this Policy comply with the policy by the end of 2015.

Advice to Students

(18) Students enrolling in courses within the scope of this Policy will be provided with consistent advice of the University expectation for all students to complete subjects which teach and assess each of the Essentials during their course of study, and why doing so will be of benefit to the student.

Communicating the Essentials to Students

(19) Subjects addressing the Essentials will be communicated to students in a clear manner. Specifically, the relevant Essential will be appended to the subject name in square brackets in subject learning guides, the Handbook, subject search and subject website. 
For example: 

  1. Law, Order and Justice [Global Citizenship Essential]

(20) Subject descriptions should include a reference to the Essential and the manner in which the subject meets the requirements of the Essential. 

Recording and Reporting Student Achievement of Essentials

(21) The overall mark and grade awarded to the student for any subject designated as teaching and assessing one or more of the Essentials will be recorded on the student’s transcript as for any other subject.

Graduation Requirements

(22) There is an expectation by the University that students enrolled in courses specified in the scope of this Policy will be required to complete each of the Essentials before graduation. This will be achieved through a combination of core subjects, subjects within Majors and/or elective options.

Reporting and Evaluation

(23) All courses will report annually to Education Committee on the extent of coverage of subjects teaching and assessing the Essentials which are undertaken by the students for each course specified in the scope of the this Policy.

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Section 5 - Definitions

(24) For the purpose of this Policy and Procedure:

  1. Award: A degree attained at the completion of a course of study. In the case of a double Bachelor degree, a student is enrolled in one course of study leading to two awards;
  2. Course: A program of study leading to one or more qualifications and in which a student may study one or more Majors;
  3. Essentials: vital areas of learning which all La Trobe undergraduate students will experience to foster the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become future ready in the workplace and the wider world;
  4. Graduate Capabilities: High level learning outcomes that are described in discipline-specific terms.
  5. Intended Learning Outcome (ILO): Brief statements defining what students are expected to demonstrate that they know and are able to do at the end of a defined period of learning;
  6. Subject: A unit of study within a course.
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Section 6 - Stakeholders

Responsibility for implementation – Course and Subject Co-ordinators; Associate Pro Vice-Chancellors; Heads of School.
Responsibility for monitoring implementation and compliance – College Coursework Committees; Education Committee; Coursework Committee.