NCPS leaders and students explore innovation at NPI Conference

Posted by on 6 December 2016

On November 4 at its Melbourne campus, Navitas Professional Institute (NPI) held its second biennial conference, with 118 faculty and students in attendance.

Keynote speaker, Associate Professor Andrea Chester is Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, L&T in the College of Design and Social Context at RMIT University. Chester emphasised the power of educator partnerships, citing a number of teacher collaboration success stories, many with a focus on online sharing between professionals separated by distance.

Convenor Dr Scott Dickson, Dean of the Australian College of Applied Psychology (ACAP), pictured, had the task of designing a conference program from the 75 submissions received from across the group of colleges, comprised of ACAP, the Navitas School of Public Safety (NCPS), Health Skills Australia (HSA) and the Australian TESOL Training Centre (ATTC).

Fifty-five papers were selected for symposium-style presentation, up from 33 at the inaugural event held in 2014.

“This year was the first time the NPI conference included submissions from ACAP, NCPS, HSA and ATTC,” he said.

“The inclusion of all schools and colleges, plus the growing awareness of sharing scholarly outcomes resulted in such an impressive level of interest in presenting at the conference. Presentations from research students within the Schools of Counselling and Psychological Sciences also added to the depth and diversity of presentations.”

Innovation and engagement focus

Four categories separated the conference’s program into subject areas within the theme Innovation and Engagement for Learning, Health and Wellbeing. The day was divided into the streams: Transformative learning, communities, pedagogy and practice; Health and wellbeing; Student experience; and Innovation.

Most sessions contained joint-presentations where NPI teachers, staff or students had partnered on research to explore a contemporary issue in teaching or learning. Post-graduate ACAP students presented projects where their research was relevant to the conference objectives.

The number of joint papers indicated the prevalence of professional co-operation at NPI and the value given to information-sharing across campuses and disciplines.

“Collaboration was a significant feature of many conference presentations and is reflective of the highly integrated scholarship that is taking place across NPI,” said Dickson.

“There were submissions from teams of researchers across all schools and from functional units, such as student learning support and learning technology services. Such teamwork is encouraging and is indicative of the highly integrated nature of academic work at NPI.”

Global approach to crime curriculum

NCPS faculty members Matthew Thurgood, Jessica Lothian (both pictured, below), Dr Qusai Hussain and Ed Irons presented papers on law-making, innovation, and the student experience. 

NPI Heads of School gave their closing comments on the key priorities for their disciplines. Alperhan Babacan, NCPS Academic Director and Professor of Criminology and Justice, described criminology as interdisciplinary for its incorporation of sociology, psychology, law and regulatory theory.

He outlined the changing nature of crime and gave examples of how current developments in criminology are reflected in the college’s approach to teaching.

“It is important for NCPS to teach multiple criminology theories, due to the complexity of crime in the new environment of crime-prevention,” said Babacan.

“Studying only traditional post-crime academic approaches is no longer adequate, because globalisation and terrorism has irrevocably changed the nature of criminology. The curriculum also needs to highlight pre-crime, to address the shifted emphasis to risk-avoidance, because cyber and transnational offences are now at the forefront of public attention, academic concern and practical criminology.”

Babacan says NCPS graduates are equipped for the law enforcement workforce with an understanding of contemporary practitioner responsibilities and skills, while graduates moving to law pathways benefit from understanding a world view of crime.

“Our students are prepared for professions in corrections, border correction, police and the security industry with grounding in accountability, ethics, professionalism, case management and leadership,” he said.

“NCPS will continue to expand its students’ global criminology perspective by covering how the criminal justice systems intersect with human rights, at the international as well as the commonwealth and state levels.”

NPI Conference NCPS Matt and Jessica

A tradition of making a difference

The 2016 Conference was hailed as a success for reaching its attendance target and giving the NPI community of social and health science teachers and administrators a focus of professional contemplation for the short and long-term.

“NPI has a proud history of educating students with skills for making a difference,” said Dickson.

“The conference met its aim of bringing students, academics and teaching staff together with managers, policy makers, practitioners, and researchers from the broader community to seek ways of transforming learning, encouraging engagement and fostering innovation.”

For more information download the 2016 NPI Conference program and Abstract Booklet here.