Letter to Sessional Staff

Dear colleague,

We are coming to the end of another semester, and it is time to look back with pleasure on yet another four-month engagement with students. We are at the same time all looking into the next semester, planning and preparing for another round of courses and teaching.
For the second year students in our program the second semester is very different from the first semester. They will be going into the upper pool studios, and there is a complete transformation of their whole educational experience. They will suddenly be free and have very few days and hours of uni. For some it is magical and for others it is confronting – but for both it is a completely different experience from the first three semesters (see ‘3+3+2’ below).
The second semester is also different for many of the sessional staff – as some of the courses for the second years like studio and modelling disappear. The program in-fact runs with far fewer sessional staff in the even semester. This is the culture of the program. The streams of Communication, Technology, and Studies though continue pretty much like in the odd semesters.
I write now to thank you for your participation and involvement in the BDes Industrial Design Program. I would like to reiterate that your involvement is of crucial importance to the program, the community and to individual students who have bonded with you. You have made a crucial difference to individuals. For those of you in our sessional community who haven’t taught this semester – you continue to be a valued member of our community.
I also write to inform you about a few things and a few ways we now have of going about business in the program. The following staff members look after and coordinate the separate course streams in the BDes Industrial Design Program:
Technology: Deanne and Simon
Communication: Frank
Studio: Mick and Denis
Studies: Liam
Electives: Denis and Soumitri
Each staff member/ each coordinator has the independent responsibility to invite sessional staff to come in to teach in the program. This happens at the beginning of each semester – and we are working to do this in advance so that you have adequate notice to prepare your working life accordingly. It is a good time now to speak to the coordinators about your interest in teaching in a specific course.
In the past year and a half you may have heard mention of the Learner Centred Project. This is a project where we are transforming pedagogic practices so that we have an academic culture that privileges all manner of students with all manner of achievement goals. We are also moving towards instituting Learning Contracts and student centred evaluation across the courses in the program – this is significantly a situation where we award grades at the beginning and not end of the semester. It is important for our success that all staff who teach or wish to teach in the program be conversant with these pedagogic practices. For this we have workshops and/or debrief sessions twice a year. Do come and attend these sessions to both learn and contribute.
To be a new sessional staff member in the program can be a confronting experience and this is a feeling shared by all sessional staff across the portfolio. While it is assumed the specific RMIT staff member you deal with will help and mentor you in this process this may some times not be enough or missing in crucial bits. The portfolio has therefore prepared a FAQ site to help you: http://www.rmit.edu.au/dsc/as/sessional. Do visit the site and if you have any issues not addressed there do speak to me.
We have a catch up scheduled for Friday evening at the workshop and I hope to see you there.


Categorized as Community

By Soumitri Varadarajan

Soumitri lives in Melbourne, Australia - #probonodesign #codesign #sustainability #patientexperience #quantifiedself #mdg

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