O’Week program – on campus and online

Orientation at Flinders University for 2021 was always going to be a bit different from other years. Flinders has used this opportunity to ask students what they want and together we’ve come up with a brilliant expanded program.

Because there’s always a lot of information for new students to take in, we’ve put together an orientation program that spans four weeks – O’Week, Connect Week, Skills Week and Wellbeing Week.

This year there’ll be lots of online and on campus opportunities for local, rural, remote, interstate and offshore students to meet each other and easily access the ‘getting started’ information they need when they need it.

For the first time ever we’re offering a University-wide buddy program called the O’Guide Program.  New students will join a group led by an O’Guide (current student) who will show them the ropes, provide tips, introduce them to others and answer their questions. The O’Guide Program will be offered both on campus and online.

There’ll no shortage of on-campus things to do (socially distanced, of course). There will be four fair days, live music, stalls, entertainment, games, food, a scavenger hunt, and the Flinders Tavern will be hosting a comedy show, a quiz night and a bingo night. Students will also have the opportunity to join a campus club, meet new people, and learn about the services available to them.

All of this is wrapped up in a visual theme that is all about opening back up and re-engaging with each other and with our wide-open nature filled campus. “It’s all about looking ahead and knowing that the skies really are the limits,” says Flinders O’Week creative adviser, Business and Law student Claudia Bradley.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Clare Pollock is confident that the University, its staff and students will enjoy a strong year ahead. “Flinders University’s 2021 domestic undergraduate enrolments are strong – as of today up 12% compared to the same time last year – and we are delighted to be able to welcome more students than ever to our campuses,” she says

“We have a great range of new courses that have attracted several hundred students, along with our many popular established offerings – and have noticed a strong emphasis on health related courses this year.

We continue to see good demand from international students wanting to study at Flinders, and we and they are greatly looking forward to a time when they can come back to one of our Australian campuses.

In the meantime, we are supporting new international students to commence their course online, and for those who returned to their home countries last year we’re supporting them to continue their studies online. Nevertheless we understand that these students are keen to have an Australian educational experience here in Australia.

That’s why we’re working with the federal and state government to be ready to welcome our students back when it is safe to do so. And as Business SA observes, international students make the single biggest contribution to our state’s export economy in education, real estate, hospitality, retail and tourism, but they bring other valuable benefits too, including lasting global relationships, cultural diversity and vibrancy.

What’s new and exciting

A new, state-of-the-art Biodiversity building to support teaching and research programs. The building provides opportunities for increased research collaboration, improved accessibility and will provide leading edge facilities to support our Animal Behaviour course and better understand animals and assess their welfare, survival and evolution.

This year we’ll also complete our cultural ceremonial and event space to host larger scale Welcome to Country and smoking ceremonies, provide a culturally significant meeting place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff at Bedford Park, and to support art, performances, teaching and recreation activities.

FUMA – the Flinders University Museum of Art – is harnessing its extraordinary collection of works to inform our teaching and research.  Object Based Learning will be a feature across a range of courses, with a special focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics in Education and the Creative Arts, as well as the development of a series of films with the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health for cross-cultural learning.   FUMA’s stand-out exhibition of the year, Sovereign sisters: domestic work co-curated with Dr Ali Gumillya Baker, will shed light on collective narratives around First Nation women’s labour histories and act as a powerful teaching tool for critical dialogue in a number of the University’s courses.

In 2021, Flinders’ new Wine Sensory Room – which includes wine tasting benches for up to 30 students, teaching facilities and temperature-controlled wine storage cabinets – will provide students the opportunity to obtain valuable knowledge and perspective of wine styles, diversity and quality from wine industry professionals – with sessions ranging from identifying different wines of the world, to identifying how wine judges and media score wines for judging and reviewing.

Such a rounded knowledge is essential in the modern wine, not only to identify wine quality and provenance but to understand where every product sits in the global market – and it fills an important educational role in what has been a blind spot in Australian wine industry teaching.

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