Sydney wins prestigious global education award

The University of Sydney dominated this year’s QS Reimagine Education awards, with the Business School’s Job Smart Edge initiative winning the overall Global Education Award for its comprehensive career accelerator program to provide international students employability skills and experience for their future careers.

All five of our entrants were shortlisted for the awards, with our Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES) also awarded gold in the category for ‘ICT Tools for Learning and Teaching Award’.

The Reimagine Education Awards program, the world’s largest awards program for innovative teaching, is led by the Wharton SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at University of Pennsylvania and the World University Rankings. It aims to reward innovative approaches that enhance student learning outcomes and employability.

“Our success at these awards demonstrates the University of Sydney is a world leader for quality and innovation in our teaching, it also shows our commitment to student experience and their graduate outcomes. These initiatives have helped to make us Australia’s leading university for graduate employability. Congratulations to all the award recipients and finalists,” Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Pip Pattison said.

This year the prestigious awards program received around 1,500 applications across the thirteen categories, with the top 12 percent shortlisted.

As the overall winner, the Job Smart Edge program will receive US$25,000 in funding.

Job Smart Edge program

Job Smart Edge program – Reimagine Education Global Education Award Winner

Job Smart Edge is a one-stop program that guides international students on how to achieve career success anywhere in the world by providing job application support, networking opportunities and local work experiences in Sydney.

Students participate in digital industry projects, receive personalised coaching from a dedicated team of career coaches and can build industry connections with start-ups, small and medium-sized enterprises and leading organisations such as Deloitte, KPMG and PwC.

“The global pandemic is not just a crisis but an opportunity for us at the University of Sydney Business School to do more for our students,” said Professor Suresh Cuganesan, Associate Dean (Students Success and Mobility).

Many of our students will complete their studies and enter a challenging job market in an economy still in recovery mode. In 2020, we felt we had to do more for our students, not less.

Professor Suresh Cuganesan

Now in its fifth year, over 9,200 international students having participated in the program. This year’s launch of Job Smart Edge in collaboration with the Work Integrated Learning Hub, included a dedicated employability skills elective unit for postgraduate students, digital industry projects in partnership with Practera, and access to senior industry professionals through corporate panel events.

“Job Smart’s original intent was to be a point of difference to other well-meaning but narrow support programs. The program is focussed on genuine and deep immediate employability impact for our international students, who experience barriers at every other turn in our Australian employment market. It’s fantastic to be recognised for our commitment to international students and their professional futures through authentic innovation and collaboration,” Lucinda Crossley-Meates, Career Services Manager (Education), said.

“This win has proved we not only offer an employability skills program which students value, but also that evolving the program to reflect the current external environment, resonates strongly with our international students. Going 100 percent digital this year has enabled us to continue engaging and supporting them in preparing for the post-pandemic job market from anywhere in the world,” Hashendra Wijesinha, Job Smart Program Manager, said.

“A first of its kind, to scale up alongside large industry numbers as part of our post-graduate elective wholly online options,” said Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson, Director of Work-Integrated Learning.

“The unique opportunity that the program offers for our international post-graduate business students is relevant and purposely designed to align employability skill development, career learning and remote work-based learning experiences, which students choose as part of co-curricular or as a unique unit of study with authentic industry relevance.”

Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES)

Student Relationship Engagement System (SRES) – Gold medallist for ICT Tools for Learning and Teaching Award

The cloud-based software helps teachers with one of the most challenging aspects of teaching, providing students with individualised support and feedback.

The system gives teachers information about which students need support and why, allowing teachers to send personalised messages with resources and advice tailored uniquely to each student’s need. Since 2012, SRES use at the University of Sydney has grown 50 percent annually, it is now used by more than 1900 educators reaching 65,000 students.

“SRES was built by educators, for educators, with educators. We’re so privileged to be able to work with and support so many educators across the University in personalising their teaching and student support,” Associate Professor Danny Liu, creator of SRES, said.

Shortlisted entries

Led by: Dr Tihana Divnic-Resnik, Sydney Dental School

Category: Educational App award

In collaboration with a web design company, the project team developed a computer application to complement face-to-face simulation training in dentistry. Due to Covid-19 the app was adapted to be an online platform for virtual simulated clinic training and can be accessed at www.iperiopal.com.

Its versatility allowed for easy upgrade and modification, and at times of isolation, acted as an independent resource, enabling learning and preparation for exams. The platform can assist various aspects of teaching and online continuous education courses for students and dental professionals.

Led by: Imogen Barwick, Education – Enterprise and Engagement team

Category: Nurturing Employability Award

The Industry and Community Project Units (ICPUs) are an ambitious, large scale undergraduate program that engages groups of interdisciplinary students with leading Australian and international organisations to work on authentic challenges set by industry. The interdisciplinary project-learning experience focuses on real-world educational experiences, industry engagement and global perspectives.

Led by: Dr Mahyar Shirvanimoghaddam, Centre for Internet of Things and Telecommunications

Category: Nurturing Employability Award

Idea Factory is a multidisciplinary collaborative project-based learning approach to teach advanced subjects with the aim to develop critical thinking, idea development, and intellectual design skills. The aim of this project is to ensure students develop skills that can be utilised for modern industries. In the proposed framework, students from different disciplines paired together and jointly work on identifying real-world problems, seeking feasible solutions, identifying targeted customers, studying customer needs, and developing a product and potentially launching it.

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