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PROGRAMS OF STUDY (View pdf format)

CURRICULUM RATIONALE

Background

The Fiji Higher Education Promulgation came into effect in 2008.  As a result of this the Fiji Higher Education Commission was established.  Their mandate was to regulate the Higher Education sector through a process of accreditation of institutions and qualifications.  Consequently, the Fiji Qualifications Framework was designed and launched in February 2012.

            Fulton was recognised by the Fiji Higher Education Commission in 2010.  In 2012, Fulton was registered as a University College.  This gave the institution provisional accreditation for its qualifications and requires it to submit documentation for qualification accreditation within 12 months.  Consequently the College has worked through a process internally to ensure that the proposed curriculum to be submitted to the Fiji Higher Education in the next few months conforms with the requirements of the Fiji Qualifications Framework.  This process has had the College consult professional standards of the various enterprises, research the programs of other institutions, dialogue with employers, professionals, and recent graduates.  This internal work is reviewed by the Curriculum Advisory Committee prior to submission for endorsement to the College Board, other entities and the Fiji Higher Education Commission.

 Focus on Learning Outcomes

One key aspect of the Fiji Qualification Frameworks is the emphasis on achieving learning outcomes.  Concepts of measuring inputs such as entry levels and learning time is overshadowed by the need for students to demonstrate their mastery of the subject against the stated learning outcomes - both for the course and the individual component.  Naturally there is a need to monitor the inputs and ensure that students are properly equipped for the study program, as well as have a notional understanding of the time it would take an average student to achieve the learning outcomes.  However, the quality of an award is measured by the demonstration of the learning outcomes benchmarked against a framework of defined educational levels.

            In this outcomes-based approach, the academic viability of a program focuses on the suitability of the graduate for employment in the marketplace.  Such an outcome focuses on the wholisitic development of the candidate including the professional development, personal qualities and spiritual formation, and not just the academic achievement.  Fulton has generically profiled the graduate of an Honours degree as a competent professional who can resource other professionals due to their research interests or specialisation.  The profile of a graduate of a Bachelor’s degree is a competent professional who can work in their own business or lead a team.  The profile of a graduate from a Diploma is a member of a team working under the direction of a professional, while the profile of a graduate of a Certificate is an employee providing support to a team.  Consequently, Fulton would typically recommend graduates of all Honours and Bachelors degree for employment in their field of study, as well as graduates with Diplomas in Business and Education [Early Childhood].

            The Curriculum Advisory Committees, appointed by the College comprise employers, practitioners, graduates, students and academics, to review the curriculum.  The standards of the Fiji Higher Education Commission require such critical engagement as part of their accreditation of both institutions and qualifications.  Some regional representation has been included as consideration also needs to be given to the developments occurring throughout the Pacific so that the curriculum can continue to be adapted to these changing circumstances.

 Curriculum Design

The curriculum design is modeled on current practice where there is a greater focus on integration, progression and depth.  The Fiji Qualifications Framework typically defines an Honours degree as four years of study with at least 72 credits of the 480 credits at Level 8, a Bachelor’s degree as three years of study with at least 72 of the 360 credits being at Level 7, Diploma (or Advanced Diploma) as two years of HE study with at least 72 of the 240 credits being at Level 6 and a Certificate (or Diploma) as one year of HE study with at least 72 of the 120 credits at the level of the award. 

            Fulton has chosen to divide each semester into four components for the Bachelor’s degree and two components for the Honours year.  This means that the semester assessment word counts for each level of study are divided in four not five and final year degree students then benefit from writing more substantive assessments which will give them greater opportunity to develop thoughtful arguments.

            It also means that students need to complete the program in a structured approach ensuring that they have mastered each level (75% complete) prior to progression to a new level.  This does require a rethink of scheduling subjects as students should take these in a sequence so that they can develop the necessary skills for higher order learning required in later subjects.

            Within the awards outlined underneath, Fulton plans to nest other awards.  Within the Bachelor Honours degree is a degree and diploma.  There is also room within this framework for awarding a Graduate Certificates and Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates and Diplomas.  Consequently, Fulton is proposing to offer a Graduate Diploma in Theology enabling mature students with an existing degree to have an abridged theological undergraduate experience in one or two years.  Typically any pastoral appointment would expect the Graduate Diploma to be followed by a Postgraduate Diploma enabling a minimum of two years of pastoral formation.  Graduates from these programs are often employed first as they demonstrate a combination of pastoral/theological education and a proven record of life skills and maturity from their earlier education and career.   Fulton is also proposing a Graduate Diploma in Adventist Education to complement someone’s existing educational qualification.

 Integration of Theory & Practice

            Theoretical and placement learning (practicum) need to be designed to complement each other.  Consequently each practical component reflects the theoretical focus of the preceding semester.  Assessment of the practical education (not just experience) includes assignments which apply, critique (including self-critique) or reflect on the theory already taught.  Consequently they do not have credit attached to them, although they do provide opportunities to demonstrate competence in real life for the skills taught throughout the semester.

            Typically, first year students are exposed to a range of professional experiences concurrent with their studies.  Second and third year students are immersed in five week block field placements scheduled during the mid-year break.  These block field placements are directly connected to theoretical components taught prior to the placement.  Some modules will also include an assessment which will enable the student to apply the theory and critically reflect on the application of such theory in professional practice. 

 Focus Beyond

Fulton is also exploring ways in which its programs can contribute to the wider Church constituency and not just the professionals employed by the Church.  The Graduate Diploma in Adventist Studies, will enrich the personal lives of Church members and provide them with added skills to serve in their various churches.

 Core Curriculum

Fulton has five key components embedded across the proposed degree curriculum.  Four of these are focused on embedding Adventist values: Life & Teachings of Jesus; Essentials of the Christian Faith; Applied Christian Ethics; and Health and Lifetsyle.  Most of these Adventist values have been present in the curriculum in some form or another.  This approach is to intentionally embed these values across the curriculum and provide an Adventist approach to the education offered at Fulton.

            The other, Academic Research and Writing, is to ensure a consistent quality of expression in the professional work of the graduate.

Co-curricular Competencies

In addition to the core curriculum, Fulton is requiring all students to demonstrate various competencies.  Based on the assumption that the general education requirements are covered in the student’s prior learning (Fm 7, Foundation, Life-Skills), Fulton needs to ensure that students have these skills at the required competency.  Should students have not achieved a satisfactory pass in these competencies by the end of the first semester, classes in these competencies will be offered during the mid-year break of the first year of study.

Computer Skills                                                           All programs

Literacy & Numeracy                                                  All programs

Vernacular (Fijian, Hindi etc) Education & Theology

Adventist Doctrines                                                     Theology

Research is an integral part of the Honours program.  It is critical that today’s graduates can develop the skill of exegeting the text and context as well as reflecting critically on personal and professional practice in an objective scholarly manner so that the cycle of continuous improvement is intentionally embedded in professional practice.