ANU and the University of Canberra (UC) have announced a new collaboration to offer a vertical double degree, combining an ANU Bachelor of Science (BSc) with UC’s Master of Teaching (MTeach). This would provide an accelerated pathway for those passionate about science teaching, shortening the combined length by 6 months.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Marnie-Hughes Warrington, stated that the collaboration made “absolute sense”.

“UC has particular areas of strength, and we’ve got particular areas of strength.”

“We could see there was a national need to the support the next generation of science teachers, so instead of duplicating resources, we simply worked together to solve the problem.”

Citing students as the primary driver of this new degree, Professor Warrington said that there had been high levels of positive feedback about the flexibility of the ANU’s double degrees, with students asking for more options.

She commented, “If we can do it within ANU, why wouldn’t we do it with our friends down the road?”

Professor Warrington expressed that this vertical double degree was motivated by the importance of science teachers across the country, especially in rural areas, and that if the ANU could do something to address that need, then she thought “we were obligated to do it.”

Student consultation, Warrington said, had been facilitated through various committees and through ANUSA, and so far there had been no objections.

“Everyone is very positive about this new collaboration… not a single person has raised a negative concern” she stated.

ANUSA College of Science Representative Albert Patajo affirmed his support for the program.

“I think it’s a great initiative,” he said.

“There is a huge need for STEM teachers and at the ANU we’re really lucky to see students interested in teaching. We have great programs like PAL and Chemistry Peer-tutoring, so there’s definitely a niche that needs to be filled.”

Although a relatively new concept, vertical degrees are quickly gaining popularity as a streamlined option into transitioning towards postgraduate study. Patajo told Woroni that he would love to see more options for science students to participate in meaningful programs.

“Science graduates are doing great things in and we should develop a degree that provides a strong foundation in many different fields,” he said.

The program, like many other double degrees at the ANU, will see students relinquishing electives to combine core areas of study. However, the structure of the degree will still enable science students to complete enough courses to qualify for further science education, such as Honours.

Warrington said there were plans in place to discuss further degrees of this kind with UC, describing the model as ‘highly feasible’, and then she would be in consultation with them in coming months.

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