Nexus Between Shaping Nation, Leading Tomorrow

La Trobe University’s one-of-a-kind pathways program Nexus has been crowned as a category award winner in the inaugural Shaping Australia Awards for equipping students with the skills needed to make a positive impact on schools and communities.

A panel of eminent judges selected Nexus out of six finalists as the winner of the Future Builder Awards through its innovation in motivating students to push the limits and hit the ground running.

Two other outstanding La Trobe programs were shortlisted in two out of three award categories, spanning research and teaching.

The La Trobe Eye Clinic was named as a finalist alongside Nexus in the Future Builder category for optimising student learning opportunities by providing on-the-job experience in paediatric orthoptics and addressing the shortages in clinical placements.

The transforming midwifery care for First Nations women program was shortlisted in the Problem Solver Award. Baggarrook Yurrongi has resulted in some terrific outcomes by improving the health of First Nations mothers and babies through a model of culturally responsive continuity of midwifery care.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Theo Farrell, congratulated the finalists and passionate teams driving new ideas, initiatives and projects that are building the next generation of leaders.

“La Trobe’s innovative Nexus program is at the forefront of addressing teaching shortages and delivering excellence in teacher education for economically, culturally diverse and high-needs schools,” Professor Farrell said.

“I am proud and delighted that three exceptional La Trobe programs were among 18 finalists shortlisted in the Shaping Australia Awards.

“The hard work, determination and success of each student, academic and staff member who represent these teams are evident by the 112 entries that vied for the shortlist.

A key factor in Nexus’ success is the strong partnerships between the University, schools, and local communities. This has led to remarkable outcomes, with 82 per cent of Nexus graduates choosing and securing employment in low SES secondary schools across Victoria in 2021.

Professor Joanna Barbousas, Dean of the School of Education, said La Trobe is thrilled to have received this prestigious award and be recognised by university and industry peers in this way.

“The Nexus program focuses on preparing teachers using evidenced informed approaches to designing learning with the Master of Teaching qualification embedded within the wrap around mentoring supports,” Professor Barbousas said.

“This year, we are excited to expand into New South Wales and launch Nexus into primary schools with the Master of Teaching (Primary) coursework focused on the science of reading and the science of learning front and centre.

“This will prepare primary teachers to have strong knowledge and skills to structure learning for young students in hard to staff schools.”

The winners of the Shaping Australia Awards, presented by Universities Australia in partnership with The Australian, were announced at an evening ceremony in Canberra on Tuesday 27 February.

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