Postgraduate coursework 2020 wrap-up: online learning, lockdowns, Zoom calls and wonderful students.
What an unexpected year 2020 has been for our postgraduate coursework students!
Little did we know that our lovely morning tea introduction in mid-February would be our last chance to meet as a group in person. Looking back, I am so grateful that we could meet and welcome our new international students who had just arrived from China, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan. 2020 was particularly tough on this cohort who arrived in Sydney just in time for the Pandemic lockdowns! They have shown themselves to be a wonderfully resilient, pro-active and friendly group, and have made impressive contributions to our social Zoom calls (who knew we had recruited such musical talents!), and to the regular online PG Club while becoming well-integrated members of the School’s research groups.
In 2020, we bid goodbye to a handful of graduating MOptom students including Tashy Sherpa and Abdulla Altamimi who have returned to Nepal and Saudi Arabia respectively, and Sukanya Jaiswal who has begun her PhD journey. The School is very proud to add this group to our alumni.
In June 2020 we welcomed over 20 optometrists from all over Australia into our new online Graduate Certificate in Optometry, as part of the Australian Government’s Higher Education package. Recent and not-so-recent graduates have had the opportunity to upskill and obtain a taste of UNSW offerings in areas ranging from ocular disease and therapeutics to myopia management.
The Gradate Certificate in Ocular Therapeutics students faced some challenges this year due to the pandemic limiting clinical placements. We are hopeful that they will be able to complete these placements and have their certificates become therapeutically endorsed in 2021.
In 2021 I hand over the reins to Dr Vinod Maseedupally and Associate Professor Juno Kim, who will together coordinate postgraduate courses at the School of Optometry and Vision Science. I am very pleased to stay connected with the School’s postgraduate community and will coordinate the MOptom research projects from 2021 onwards. On that note, I would like to extend a huge thank you to Associate Professor Michele Madigan, who has been a wonderful and very generous convenor of the coursework research projects for the past decade. The introduction to research provided by these projects and by A/Prof Madigan’s thoughtful guidance has started off many a research career.
Associate Professor Blanka Golebiowski,
Director of Postgraduate Coursework