Industry-leading alumni appointed to co-develop communication degree

(From Left to Right) Stephanie Hunt, James Wells, Susan Redden-Makatoa, and Denise Driver

Charles Sturt University has appointed four alumni as Adjunct Lecturers (Communication) to co-design and co-deliver the new Bachelor of Communication, the first of its kind in the Australian higher education sector. The course design unites the academic rigour of the Bachelor of Communication in the Charles Sturt School of Information and Communication Studies with contemporary professional practice insights to bring the curriculum to life.

Who are the appointed Alumni?

The four alumni appointed as Adjunct Lecturers to consult are:

The role of the adjuncts will be to consult on the course content, deliver masterclasses, podcasts and vodcasts, and develop subject content. The degree consists of three specialisations – strategic communication, news and media, and design and content creation.

Executive Dean of the Charles Sturt Faculty of Arts and Education Professor John McDonald said having industry and alumni co-design the course with academic staff offers students a unique combination of academic, discipline-specific specialisations with an understanding of the industry through the networking and industry connections embedded within the course.

“This ensures a currency to the content delivered to students to ensure they continue to become job-ready graduates to advance the communication discipline,” Prof McDonald said.

“Charles Sturt boasts an illustrious reputation in the delivery of the communication degree. This redesign will see the communication degree produce higher quality graduates with the academic knowledge and the current professional practice skills expected by the industry.”

What is the global recognition of Charles Sturt?

Prof McDonald said Charles Sturt has long been ‘the place to study communication’ by the communication industry, and this revitalised degree reinstates the University’s reputation as a provider of communication education. “The connections built through the University’s history with the industry has allowed us to develop a course unique to this sector,” he said.

In the new degree students will attend classes via a condensed two-day timetable to balance study, work, and life commitments, with elective options from other faculties and disciplines.

Students can also choose from a three-year course or accelerated two-and-a-half-year option, with exit points at the end of each year; a graduate certificate after session one, diploma after year-one, associate degree after year-two, and bachelor’s in year-three.

“The diversity and strength of our alumni is reflected in how this course has been able to build upon their knowledge to bring the course into a new age and inspire and teach at least 50 more years of Charles Sturt communication students,” Professor McDonald said.

What are the thoughts of the appointees?

Ms Redden-Makatoa is the leader of Edelman’s Corporate practice across the APAC region and has been appointed to consult in developing the strategic communication specialisation.

She is one of Australia’s leading corporate communications practitioners with over 20 years’ industry experience providing advice to leaders across the business, gov’t, and not-for-profit sectors, and is a Fellow of the Public Relations Institute. “I was thrilled to be invited to join Charles Sturt University and not just because I’m a proud alumna,” Redden-Makatoa said.

“I’ve been impressed with the University’s graduates throughout my career and am looking forward to the opportunity to working with the communicators of the future,” she added.

Mr Wells is the Managing Director at Charted Media Group, a division of The Intermedia Group. He has extensive experience in publishing print and digital assets, travel and business media, and will assist in developing the news and media specialisation.

Commenting on the appointments, Mr Wells said, “Print media isn’t dead and digital publishing is thriving. I look forward to sharing my knowledge and working alongside talented experts who are experts in their field. As a former Charles Sturt in Bathurst student, I can’t wait to meet the cohort of students who will be challenging us for our jobs in the future.”

Ms Hunt is an international journalist, producer, media and communications specialist, and the current Senior Editor of Storyful News Agency. Her experience as editor for Al Jazeera and producer for Weekend Sunrise, will help to inform the news and media specialisation.

“My career as a journalist began with my studies at Charles Sturt in Bathurst, and now, twenty years on, it’s an honour to return to assist within the highly regarded Bachelor of Communications. The role of journalism is underlined today as we face a rise in online misinformation. The need for accurate and balanced reporting is critical,” Ms Hunt said.

“I am proud to be a member of the University alumni and I look forward to working to help prepare future journalists for the ever-evolving world of media,” Ms Hunt further commented.

Ms Driver is currently the Senior Graphic Designer at Nine News Entertainment and will bring invaluable current design approaches to the curriculum to inform the design and content creation specialisation. “The format of the new degree combines first-hand industry knowledge and advice, and to have industry professionals sharing knowledge, expertise and daily experiences will be a real game changer for the students,” Ms Driver said.

“I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with the students to facilitate their entry into a fast-paced, ever-changing industry that is always so exciting and rewarding to be a part of.”