Good WIL hunting: Building capacity for curriculum re-design

Karen Young, Stuart Palmer, Malcolm Campbell


In response to government, industry, student and central University calls for initiatives to enhance graduate employability as a means for improved employment outcomes, a faculty within an Australian university formulated a five-year Work Integrated Learning (WIL) strategy (2015-2019). The Faculty goal was to re-new, develop, implement and evaluate scalable and sustainable intentional WIL-focused authentic curricula across every undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) course by the end of 2019. A ‘WIL Leadership Framework’ underpinned the whole-of-course team approach. This paper reports on the change-management processes and behaviours necessary to effect change from the bottom-up. Fostering academic staff capacity to build course-appropriate WIL curriculum has been slow and subtle and yet significant refinements to intentional and embedded WIL curriculum have occurred through a series of grounded research studies and curriculum renewal projects. WIL champions (the innovators), earmarked as change agents for enabling scalable curriculum transformation and renewal, were ‘hunted-out’ and nurtured. Their role was to influence teachers to enact context-specific and discipline-based WIL experiences into the curriculum. The main research findings to date reveal that STEM-specific WIL frameworks, concepts and assessment examples, presented as scholarly curriculum choices by WIL experts, and then actively and collegially discussed amongst the WIL champions and WIL early adopters, has been the most effective process to date for developing a WIL centred curriculum. The paper concludes by addressing the current operational goals predicated to have an impact on graduate employment for the Faculty.


Work Integrated Learning (WIL); leadership; curriculum; employability; capacity building; authentic assessments.

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