CDU in the NT
Understanding our student population is crucial to teaching and learning as it supports curriculum design, planning and evaluation. It also gives an insight into our students' needs.
Our 19,000 students are drawn from not only the Northern Territory,
also across Australia and
overseas. They include Indigenous and international students, school
leavers and mature age people returning to study. This means our
students bring with them diverse knowledge, skills, capabilities,
experiences and perspectives which we need to capitalise on to create a
environment in which people from all backgrounds can learn from one
Following is a summary of our student profile as at the end of 2008, together with some comments about the impact this has on our approaches to teaching and learning.
Two thirds of CDU's Higher Education students are female. This high
proportion of female students is evident across most of CDU's Higher
Education courses including Teaching, Nursing, Law, Psychology,
Pharmacy and Applied Science. In some courses like Commerce,
Environmental Science and Exercise and Sport Science, this female skew
is not as evident and CDU tends to attract equal numbers of female and
male students. In some of the more traditionally male dominated courses
like Engineering and IT, CDU still attracts a much higher proportion of
male students compared to females.
The VET student cohort includes a much higher proportion of male
students than Higher Education, with over half of all VET students
In Higher Education, only 7% of our students are aged under 20 and 70% are aged 25 or older. This is very different to the traditional profile of university students in which school leavers dominate. It is important to recognise that this means many of our Higher Education students are adult learners who face conflicting demands in balancing family, work and study commitments.
In VET, the picture is somewhat different with 22% of our students aged under 20. This is partly due to our delivery of VET in Schools (VETiS) programs to secondary students and our delivery of Australian Apprenticeships which are commonly undertaken by younger students. As a result, our VET teaching staff sometimes face different challenges to their colleagues in Higher Education.
In both Higher Education and VET, older students bring with them more extensive life experience based on adult-to-adult relationships in both the workplace and family unit. Whilst this can enhance their learning experience at CDU, it also means they expect to interact with University teaching and administrative staff as adults and peers. Younger students, on the other hand, tend to have more limited life experiences based on parent-child or teacher-student relationships. They are likely to be less independent, have a lower skill base and may lack maturity in preparation for the workforce.
Mode of study
An increasing number of CDU's Higher Education students are studying fully off-campus, often online through 'e-learning', or through a mixture of off-campus and on-campus studies. This means they must know how to study independently, use CDU’s online learning environment 'Learnline' effectively, form online peer support groups and interact effectively with teaching staff online. It also means our academic staff must be as adept at teaching online as they are at teaching face-to-face.
A unit that is offered online will have one of the following identifiers to show the level of online interaction required by students:
OL: Online - supplementary material is available online through Learnline. Students are encouraged to access this material, however it is not essential to complete the requirements of the unit.
Reliant - learning material is provided online through Learnline.
must access this material to complete the requirements of the unit and
should log into Learnline on the first day of the teaching period.
An increasing number of CDU's VET students are receiving some of their training in workplaces or remote communities away from CDU's main campuses and centres. Only a very small proportion is studying online, although this is expected to grow.
Mode of enrolment
More than 90% of our VET students and almost half of our Higher
Education students are studying part-time. Inevitably, this means
students will be on campus less and will require more flexibility in
how their courses are delivered.
make up almost 30% of the
For about 15% of CDU's Higher Education students and about 30% of
CDU's VET students, English is their second language. The higher
proportion of VET students is partly due to CDU being responsible for
delivery of the Commonwealth Government funded Adult
Migrant English Program in the Northern Territory, and partly also
due to the higher number of
Indigenous students we teach who often speak one or more Indigenous
languages as their first (and sometimes second and third) language.
This profile has implications for how we design our courses and
teaching materials in both sectors of the university. It also
highlights the cultural diversity of our students.
CDU is one of the Northern Territory's largest employers, with more than 1150 staff. These include approximately 350 Higher Education academics, approximately 225 VET teaching staff and almost 600 general staff who provide support to either or both sectors of the University. A brief profile of each of these staff groups is provided below. More detailed information can be found in the current Annual Report.
Approximately two thirds of CDU's Higher Education academics are
employed at Level A or Level B and many are early career
academics. About half the remainder are
employed at Level C. Approximately 70% of the Level A and B academics
are women and two thirds of the Levels C–E academics are men.
The overwhelming majority of CDU's VET teaching staff are
employed at Category II and almost all the remainder are employed at
Category III. Men make up almost two thirds of CDU's VET teaching staff.
general staff are spread across all ten employment categories, with the
largest number employed at HEW 4 and HEW 5. Approximately 70% of HEW 1–8 staff are women and approximately 60% of HEW 9
and 10 staff are men.
At present, less than 4% of CDU's staff are Indigenous. To realise
CDU’s commitment to increasing the number of Indigenous
Australians employed by the University, an Indigenous
Employment Strategy is in place which is underpinned by a range of Indigenous
Support for staff to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at
CDU is provided by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) which comprises the Academic Development
Team (ADT), the Accreditation
and Quality Team (AQT) and the Flexible Delivery Team
A summary of the other key areas of the University is provided
below. An organisational
chart can be found at http://www.cdu.edu.au/vc/orgchart/organisationalchart-may09.pdf.
- BusinessLink manages business proposals between CDU and external stakeholders including tenders, commercial research and consulting contracts, commercial short courses and off-shore programs.
- Community and Access serves as a broker of relationships between the University and various sections of the Northern Territory community.
- Corporate Communications is responsible for CDU's internal and external communications, including its marketing, advertising, events, publications, web management and media management.
- Finance and Asset Services (FAS) provides a range of services associated with the delivery, operation and maintenance of CDU's infrastructure and financial services.
- The Indigenous Academic Support Unit helps Indigenous students adapt to the university environment, meet academic course requirements and find tutors as required.
- Information Technology, Management and Support (ITMS) is responsible for most of CDU's information, network and communication technologies.
- The International Office administers our various international student programs.
- Library and Information
Access provides a wide range of library and information
services and has Liaison and
Information Literacy Librarians who offer support to CDU's teaching
- People Management and
Development (PMD) provides human resources services including
recruitment and development of staff.
- The Research Office coordinates CDU's research activities which focus on tropical and desert knowledge, Indigenous knowledge and addressing problems of importance to the peoples of our region.
- Student Services provides information about studying at CDU and coordinates related administrative functions including admissions, enrolments, scholarships, timetables, examinations, graduations, careers counselling and advice.
- Support and Equity Services provides disability support services, equity information, appeals and complaints support, counselling services, student loans and study skills assistance.
- The Vice Chancellor's Office
oversees strategic planning, governance, risk and external
relations including major partnerships.