What Is A ‘Concept Campus’?
It has been a long-held activity by supermarkets (for example) to establish a ‘concept store’ – trialling new ideas and products – once tested if found to be successful/popular, are then rolled out across multiple stores. Things that do not particularly fare well are abandoned or refined. The same concept can be applied to a Campus.
My own institution uses the Melbourne CBD Campus for a number of trials – in other words, a ‘concept Campus’.
Why The Concept?
Change and development can be an expensive activity – so it is wise to trial a number of activities before over-investing. By setting up a trial project it can be quite cost-effective. If the idea works it can be rolled out across the larger School – if the idea does not work or is not well received – it can be abandoned at minimum cost and disruption. Current initiatives include -
Melbourne is trialling (along with Adelaide) the use of Facilitators on campus to assist students in their studies. The lecturing comes out of the Sydney Campus – but on-site facilitators support students throughout the class – and provide a tutorial in the third hour of the class – this also includes marking of assessments.
For more on the concept see - https://www.ubss.edu.au/article/the-important-and-emerging-role-of-the-facilitator/
Lockers are being made available to students on a daily basis for safe storage of their belongings (if needed). It is a matter of convenience – and the lockers are not permanent as such – with the limit of a single day only. Students can provide their own locks for added security.
Located in the student lounge area are three large refrigerators that can be used by students to keep their food/drink items cool and secure. The fridges are emptied and refreshed at the end of each week to ensure proper hygiene and cleanliness.
Zip Tap Access
A zip tap is available in the student lounge area providing hot water and ice-cold water at the press of the tap. This requires no kettle use for hot water – and instant access to ice-cold water. It is safe, hygienic and handy.
Melbourne staff have access to a full staff lounge that is well equipped and resourced – separate to student access areas and separate to staff working spaces. It is a place to relax between sessions and encourage interface – it is a ‘no go’ space for students.
Staff hot desk environment
A dedicated staff hot desk office space is available with internet and network access.
Melbourne facilitators have been allocated a private locker for unlimited use. The locker can also act as a letter box.
Dedicated Staff/Student meeting space
A dedicated space (called the red zone) has been established in clear view for meetings between staff and students.
The Melbourne site is equipped with 8 CCTV cameras to enhance security and safety of staff and students. The space can be monitored 24/7.
A kiosk has been established (with large display TV) for student services bookings to improve efficiency and equity. The same system can be used for making appointments with staff and learning support team members.
Learning Support Team
A three-person learning support team has been established – three staff on fractional appointments to ensure five-day coverage.
A separate learning support hub has been established in a quiet area with computer access for individual student support. A booking system has also been put in place for students to book specialist support.
Given the CBD location (essentially the heart of Melbourne) added security is in place with access lifts to level 2 (Campus level) locked at 4 pm on Monday and Friday and 7 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Access then is limited.
Campus Director presence
A dedicated Campus Director has been appointed to the Melbourne CBD Campus who is responsible for the facility and monitoring of staff and student access.
Many of the initiatives highlighted will be extended if successful. All the current initiatives are attempts to enhance the teaching and learning experience of both staff and students and at the same time enhance security and safety of all on the Melbourne CBD Campus.
Emeritus Professor Greg Whateley is the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (UBSS) and Chief Executive Officer (GCA).