There’s so many challenges. There’s the resourcing side of things. There’s obviously the scalability issue – how do you make sure WIL reaches all students? There’s a debate around whether universities should be the training grounds for companies, so there’s always some pushback from academics and researchers about whether we should be teaching students employability skills or whether it’s more important to be teaching them knowledge.
Leading the development or expansion of a WIL program is challenging. It requires balancing the needs of students, industry partners, staff and the university, as well as managing issues of resourcing, equity and access, scalability and sustainability. To help WIL leaders identify approaches and strategies for navigating these challenges, we have recently published Leading WIL, the final chapter of the WIL Guide for Science.
I think the largest challenge that we have [in growing WIL] is not really around the students, it’s more around the curriculum design and making sure that there’s enough space and around recognising what’s already in our courses.
Leading WIL looks at how science faculty staff might lead the design, implementation and expansion of a WIL program, from a formal or informal leadership position. It includes ideas about leadership for WIL, examples of different approaches taken by WIL leaders in science, and key resources that point to the actions required to design, implement or expand WIL programs.
One person can’t do it all, but we can hopefully direct and try and make sure that our courses are going in the right areas.
The publication of this section completes the WIL Guide for Science. The Guide seeks to:
- orient those new to WIL and give them the basic understanding to explore WIL,
- describe good practice in WIL drawing on and linking to existing work,
- support and inspire WIL leaders in Science Faculties,
- encourage science WIL practitioners and leaders to explore key resources and publications in the field and collected case studies,
- connect practitioners with science networks and other WIL networks.
The Successful WIL project team welcome your feedback on content, and suggestions for additional resources!