The WIL Leadership Framework
WIL Leadership Vignette 18:
Bringing in the experts to improve student employability
Dr Sharon La Fontaine
What was learned from this:
- You cannot do it all yourself – a unit like this cannot be taught by just one person – it
needs expertise from an array of 'teachers' from industry and within the university sector.
- A great deal is to be gained from exposing students to professionals (not academics) from
different workplace contexts and different disciplines, even though the messages from both
academe and industry is consistent – students like the industry voice.
- A study guide is a useful ongoing resource for students in the job market.
Context of the event, experience or activity:
It was recognised in 2011 that the Professional Practice unit in the School of
Life and Environmental Science at Deakin University needed innovation in relation to both the teaching
of work-readiness competencies and the academic rigour around the integration of discipline specific
(and not generic) practices. After 2 years of slow and steady progressive changes and scholarship into
good practice for WIL units, 2013 saw a significant shift in the way the unit was structured and taught.
The focus is now on team teaching whereby experts ‘teach’ communication and teamwork competencies from
a biomedical and science context.
Description of the event, experience or activity:
- Mandatory pre-requisite online unit of study for building career planning and work readiness was
introduced to provide students with a background around work readiness.
- A team of experts was sought out who could contribute to teaching and learning in the unit
and who could situate the skills required in the workplace, particularly in the area or working
- Greater structure and scaffolding around teamwork and communication competencies was included
in the unit.
- Students have a better sense of communicating for the potential workplace and in the
- Professional identity and agency is increased.
- Students are able to better consolidate and apply knowledge and skills towards potential
Dr Sharon La Fontaine is a Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Science in the School of
Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University. She is the Unit Chair for Professional Practice
in Bioscience (SLE390).
Last Update: 23 April, 2014