La Trobe University has launched its unique ‘Hallmark Program’ for high achieving students – with the foundation cohort of 23 arriving on campus in February – as well as a special on-line introductory Indigenous studies module aimed at all students.
The Hallmark Program is designed to help students extend their thinking on key global issues and to learn how to make a contribution to the future.
The students come from a wide range of suburbs, with high representation from Melbourne’s north. From the regions, two are studying at the Bendigo Campus while another two are from interstate, the Northern Territory and Queensland.
They will have special access to mentoring by leading researchers from La Trobe’s Research Focus Areas. Their year began with a two-day residential program on the Melbourne campus, getting to know each other and finding out more about the opportunities the program offers.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Jane Long, said the program emphasises undergraduate research, provides a generous scholarship and a guaranteed Honours year.
‘The group will also do an international study tour and focus on opportunities for cross-disciplinary work. All will take a subject together each semester, to foster this approach to learning,’ she said.
The collaborative learning element appealed to participant Tynan Corless from Bundoora. The 18 year old with an interest in human rights and ethics has chosen to do Legal Studies.
He said ‘The Hallmark Program means I’m working alongside other like-minded students who want to make a difference in the world. Getting the chance to travel overseas and do real work placements is exciting. It means I can hopefully see a bit of my research take shape.’
Each student receives a $10,500 scholarship paid over four years, including Honours. They get $2,000 upfront, and negotiate the remainder over the course of their studies to support learning through travel and work or research experience placements.
The Hallmark program is an initiative of the University’s new Future Ready Strategy. Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar welcomed the group to the University for their ‘induction into this exciting and innovative new program’.
New Indigenous Studies module
Professor Dewar – who has just taken over as Chair of Australia’s Innovative Research Universities, a national network of seven universities which is about to announce its new national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy – said La Trobe this year also starts an on-line Indigenous Studies module.
‘The aim is to introduce all our students to Indigenous knowledge and values and engage them with the richness of Indigenous perspectives and culture.’
Expansion of Indigenous education is a significant part of La Trobe’s Future Ready Strategy, with plans to double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students over the next five years.
The University has a heritage of significant engagement with Indigenous communities. With about 170 Indigenous students and 30 staff, it carries out multi-disciplinary teaching and research in Aboriginal and Indigenous Australian studies across all faculties and campuses.
Last year it appointed Aboriginal educationist Professor Mark Rose, who also has close relationship with Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, as Executive Director of Indigenous Strategy and Education.