Learning and Teaching Investment Fund 2011

Summary of projects

Project title

Developing a pedagogical culture of Associate Degrees at RMIT

Project leaders

Sally Leavold

Project team

  • Helen Smith
  • Jane McGlashan

Project summary

The LTIF grant enabled leaders and key practitioners to forge a common vision and purpose that advances RMIT’s capability to meet the growing demand for Associate Degree provision through a distinctive RMIT approach to Associate Degree architecture and pedagogy.

The project to establish an RMIT Associate Degree Network was commenced in June 2012, drawing on the success of a small-scale DSC network established in 2010. The original intention was to provide a cross-College professional development network to support the development, delivery and implementation of RMIT Associate Degrees. As the project progressed and Network participation expanded and deepened, a broader set of objectives was embraced, incorporating:

  • Creating a shared language to support internal RMIT collaboration on Associate Degrees
  • Advancing RMIT’s Associate Degree Strategy
  • Establishing leadership capability for Associate Degree development and implementation
  • Building shared capability for, and engagement in, Associate Degree development and implementation
  • Framing the marketing task for RMIT Associate Degrees.

The Network enthusiastically progressed each objective. In total, 23 staff members from all Colleges participated in the Network. All RMIT Associate Degree programs were represented. The relevance of the Network in purposefully addressing pressing issues is testified through high attendance and participation, and through achieving strategic and operational outcomes/impacts.

At the outset, the Associate Degree Network adopted a strategic approach to disseminating outcomes and outputs. The critical strands in this approach were:

  • Inclusiveness. Opportunities were made available for direct involvement in Network activities by leaders, developers, implementers and program managers.
  • Relevance. The Network’s agenda targeted the pressing needs of those involved with Associate Degrees.
  • Breadth. Network drew on the expertise, experience and perspectives of people external to RMIT in order to pitch a wide frame of reference for internal deliberation and practice.


A primary outcome from the LTIF grant is that a self-sustaining RMIT Associate Degree Network is now in place. Members of the Network have endorsed the continuation of the Network through the itemisation of a substantive agenda for 2012 that addresses strategic and operational priorities, and professional learning needs.

Other outcomes include:

  • Achieving greater clarity about what differentiates our Associate Degrees from those offered by other providers, which informed the collaborative development of a draft statement that captures the key characteristics of an RMIT Associate Degree
  • The delivery of situated professional development opportunities which produced practical outputs, outcomes and impacts of immediate relevance for those leading, developing, implementing and teaching into RMIT Associate Degrees.
  • The fostering of ongoing informal and informed networks of practitioners who are now more able to engage on common ground and support each other’s work
  • Securing improved definition of the marketing task involved in conveying the attributes of an RMIT Associate Degree to both prospective students and employers, recognising that the Associate Degree is a new product rather than a familiar product.
  • Business cases/program designs were supported to completion for three new Associate Degree programs (Associate Degree in Screen and Media Production; Associate Degree in Professional Screenwriting; and Associate Degree in Professional Writing and Editing).

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