Common Unit Program wins national acclaim 

From left: Greg Williams, Larissa Pickalla, Sharon Bridgeman, Simon Hobbs, Nicola Rolls, Jenny Silburn, Elizabeth Foggo-Thynne and Jaimee Hamilton are CDU’s award-winning Common Unit Program team

A Charles Darwin University course that assists first-year students to transition successfully into higher education has been recognised as one of Australia’s best university programs.

CDU’s “The First-Year Experience” was one of six programs nationwide to be recognised among the 2011 Awards for Programs that Enhance Learning by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council.

Coordinated and delivered through the School of Academic Language and Learning, the Common Unit Program has established itself as an important and innovative approach to promoting first-year students’ success in higher education.

The program requires all undergraduate students to complete two units, one focused on academic skill development and the other on contextual and cultural knowledge.

The Common Units’ Theme Leader, Nicola Rolls, said the program also plays a key role in leading innovations and best practice for effective multidisciplinary, first year teaching at CDU.

Ms Rolls said the program responded to a number of key considerations in the 21st Century higher education climate, including, “globalised learning, student diversity, changing literacies and technological advancement”.

“Research over a 10-year period into the factors for success in common units and the first year confirms the effectiveness of the program in increasing the retention and success of CDU students,” she said.

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in the Sydney Opera House on Tuesday, 16 August. The winner of the Prime Minister’s Award for University Teacher of the Year will also be announced on the night.