Avondale reaches record enrolment


Increases in the early childhood, nursing and outdoor recreation courses have contributed to yet another record enrolment at Avondale College of Higher Education.

Enrolment for semester one this year is 1347, an increase of 29 from the previous semester, a record set this past year. This equates to 571.95 when measured as equivalent full-time student load (EFTSL), an increase of almost 16 over semester one this past year and a decrease of only 1.6 over the previous record set in semester one, 2009. EFTSL relates directly to income.

This figure puts us in a good place in submitting an application for university college status

Fewer of the students who enrolled are beginning their course this year but a greater number are returning. The number of new students is 538 this year compared to 566 this past year. The number of returning students offsets this, with 869 this year compared to 752 this past year.

Helping Hands helps
Assistant marketing manager Jo-Anne Vint describes the latter figure as unexpected. She speaks of the mentoring and recruitment initiative Helping Hands and the possible affect it had on the increase in returning students.

“Helping Hands builds community by helping new students better adjust to life at Avondale and rewarding current students for promoting Avondale within their circle of friends.”

Some 119 students, down from the previous record of 126 this past year, enrolled as part of Helping Hands because 78 students—a record—registered to recruit them.

Nursing popular
With 296 students—another record—the Bachelor of Nursing remains the most popular course at Avondale. Another trend is clear, too—enrolment in the course continues to grow, with EFTSL increasing from 95.63 in semester one 2007 to 128 this year.

The Faculty of Nursing and Health will continue dividing year levels into two groups to enhance the scheduling of classes and the availability of clinical placements. It may also begin offering evening classes to manage future increases in enrolment, reports the dean, Dr Paul Race.

Early childhood, too
Enrolment in the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) also continues to grow from the previous record of 51 students in semester one this past year to 71 (24.75 EFTSL) this year. This is due partly to the course being offered by distance education—this is popular with students who are upgrading to a degree—and to an increase in the number of Commonwealth supported places, reports dean of the Faculty of Education and Science Dr Peter Beamish.

Government support through CSPs and . . .
Avondale offered every eligible student a Commonwealth supported place this year. The better news for prospective students: “Some places will be available in second semester,” reports academic registrar Dr Gwen Wilkinson.

Approval to offer an Australian Government student loan scheme which saw Avondale become the Hunter’s only provider of VET FEE-HELP in outdoor recreation may be the reason for an increase in enrolment in that course. Nineteen students, up from eight in semester one this past year, are now completing the Diploma of Outdoor Recreation. Avondale is also offering three vocational education and training short courses in outdoor recreation, with seven students completing these. The figures add credibility to Avondale’s claim to be the premier provider of outdoor recreation training in the region, says Dr Wayne Miller, senior lecturer in health and outdoor education and coordinator of Vocational Education and Training at Avondale.

More research students
Enrolment in higher degree by research courses increased, with 20 students now completing a Doctor of Philosophy, up from 15 this past year—a further 23 students are enrolled in Avondale’s four research master’s degrees. Students in these courses will help Avondale in its application for university college status.

The number of higher degree by research students when measured as EFTSL must be at least 0.9 per cent of the total number of students. Avondale has 2.2 per cent this year, which is above its goal of 2.1 per cent. The goal for next year, the last year of the college’s current strategic plan: 2.7 per cent, which equates to the percentage of higher degree by research students in new universities six years after they were established.

“This figure puts us in a good place in submitting an application for university college status,” says vice-president (administration and research) Dr Vivienne Watts.