A new Diploma of Health Sciences will be offered for the first time in Albury-Wodonga in 2021, enabling eligible students to move seamlessly into degrees in nursing, health science and social work upon completion.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said at the end of a particularly challenging year for many Year 12 students, it was wonderful to be able to offer students an alternative pathway into their chosen career.
“This new course will appeal to Year 12s and non-school-leavers who want to undertake university study in a health discipline, but perhaps don’t meet the entry requirements for one of our Bachelor programs,” Professor Dewar said.
“It will not only help more regional students become degree-qualified, it will bring more health professionals to rural and regional communities, where they are needed most.”
Under the plan the Albury-Wodonga campus will continue to offer courses addressing strong rural workforce need – including nursing, social work, education, psychology, biomedical science – as well as popular courses across arts, science and business.
The next generation of rural doctors will also continue to be trained through the campus’ competitive Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical).
Professor Dewar said the delivery mode of some courses will change in response to market desire for greater choice and flexibility.
“Some disciplines will move to a mixed-mode approach – with some content delivered online, some on-campus – and other courses will be available entirely online,” Professor Dewar said.
“We’ve been receiving positive feedback from students on our innovative and engaging approach to online learning.
“If we can provide students greater flexibility and choice in how, when and where they study, and this entices more students from across the country to commit to higher education – including in rural and regional areas – then we have achieved an important part of our mission,” Professor Dewar said.
Professor Dewar said the University’s new Regional Connect program will make online study at La Trobe more attractive for students living within commuting distance of the Albury-Wodonga campus.
“The University has a wide range of unique, high-quality courses available fully online, that appeal to regional students – including the Bachelor of Food and Nutrition, Bachelor of Applied Cloud Technology and Master of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner),” Professor Dewar said.
“Regional Connect gives students access to fellow students, networking opportunities, events, placements and project partners – as well as a vibrant campus experience, with all the services, facilities and social events valued by regional students.
“So, whether studying online, face-to-face, or a mixture of both, our students will continue to reap the benefits of regional study,” Professor Dewar said.
As part of the plan, La Trobe is also committed to working in closer partnership with Wodonga TAFE to ensure students have seamless pathways between vocational and higher education in areas of student demand and workforce need.
Research in Albury-Wodonga will focus on the campus’ key strengths in rural aged care, freshwater research and water management, food, agriculture and environment, and health and wellbeing.
The campus would remain home to two world-leading research centres – John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research and the Centre for Freshwater Ecosystems.