Our 2019 Year 9 students commenced their year-long hybrid secondary school-university experience at University Campus on the outskirts of La Trobe University this week. This one-of-a-kind program is designed to engage and inspire our students during this critical stage of their education and so far it is doing just that.
Excited students are using this early commencement period to meet their teachers, and fellow classmates, and to explore all the new facilities, and settle into their new surrounds. From the very start, students have been exposed to big university ideas through exposure to some of Australia’s most inspiring thinkers and researchers. As part of a Science of Life Inquiry Unit, students sat in a lecture on Auto-Immune Disease by Dr Rochelle Tixeria. The feedback from students was overwhelmingly positive with two students commenting “We loved the lecture, it felt very grown up."
Helen Marotta who is in charge of Learning and Engagement says, “I sat in this lecture in awe of how good the students were, it was exactly as I imagined this experience should be. The students were engaged, taking copious notes as Dr Rochelle Tixeria spoke. They asked really good questions and could very well have been 19-year-old university students. They nearly all knew someone who had some sort of Auto-Immune disease so all had a personal connection with the topic”
Principal Gerard Foley says the evidence-based program is academically strong while encouraging innovation, entrepreneurism and inter-cultural understanding.
“We wanted to design a program that was unbelievably engaging for Year 9 students and took them to a higher level of learning, without them even knowing. In my 30 years of being in education, this is the single most exciting educational project I have been involved in. This is the only program of its type in Australia, possibly the world. It’s very exciting. The learning will be incredible.”
Head of University Campus, Mrs Stella Batsanis, says this exciting development will bring students together for an entire year.
“University Campus will encourage students to make the most of a stimulating environment that will enrich all aspects of their learning,” she says. “It’s all about providing real-world experiences. Year 9 students want more autonomy and we will help them develop resilience to go with that independence.
“Year 9 is often spoken of as a year of unique challenges, during this particular passage of adolescence. I see it as a year of unique opportunities for heightened learning arising from a spike in curiosity and a hunger for independence.”
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar says the opening of Ivanhoe Grammar School’s new campus reflects the University’s commitment to supporting and inspiring local students.
“By providing access to La Trobe’s state-of-the-art facilities and renowned academics, Ivanhoe students will have a secondary school experience unlike any other in Australia and which we hope will inspire them to continue their studies,” Professor Dewar says.
A lot of hard work has gone into developing this hybrid secondary school-university Year 9 experience and we thank everyone who has worked tirelessly behind the scenes. It is a testament to their hard work and dedication that the program is up and running in the early commencement period, allowing students to get a head start on the 2019 academic year. We look forward to watching our inaugural University Campus students flourish in this university setting.