28/10/2021 - 15:00

Top marks for ECU's business courses

28/10/2021 - 15:00

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ECU’s business and economics discipline has climbed in new global university rankings, cracking Times Higher Education’s top 250 list of providers for the first time.

Top marks for ECU's business courses
Maryam Omari has led ECU's business and law school since 2015

ECU’s business and economics discipline has shot up the ladder in new global rankings, cracking Times Higher Education’s top 250 list of providers for the first time.

The university has this year maintained its position within the top 500 globally, according to THE’s world university rankings for 2022, with its engineering and technology discipline the best performing, ranked inside the top 175.

Its business and economics discipline had ranked inside the top 400 providers in 2020.

ECU’s business and law school executive dean, Maryam Omari, said the new ranking reaffirmed the university’s approach to industry-led and research-informed business education

“Our industry-ready graduates are in high demand around the globe, and with our continued commitment to providing innovative courses and world-leading research, and we expect this demand to grow,” she said.

Speaking to Business News about the shift in ranking, Professor Omari attributed the success to a multi-layered approach.

“It all starts with having the right people in the right place, so I think much of our success is really attributed to our amazing academic and professional staff,” she said.

Professor Omari said she had embarked on a program of academic renewal when she became executive dean in 2015.

That included hiring academics with industry experience.

“To me that translates really well into learning in the classroom for the students,” she said.

She also pointed to the school’s advisory board, formed in 2016 and chaired by prominent Perth-based director Denise McComish, as instrumental to the school’s growth in stature.

“We meet fairly regularly during the year and they provide me with advice and guidance and they're wonderful in that they actively advocate on our behalf within their networks,” she said.

Collaborations have also played a part, with ECU partnering with Marion Fulker-led Committee for Perth in 2020 to help produce its Future of Work report.

“The focus of the report was the role of leadership in maintaining employee wellbeing and performance during Covid-19 restrictions,” she said.

“It’s very, very topical.

“That culminated in a webinar and a report that is in the public domain, and it really helped lift our profile.

“Much of what we presented in that report also came from other projects that we've been working on for the last couple of years.”

New partnerships, such as with the Local Government Professionals WA, are set to further the school’s reach in industry, with LGP WA chief executive Candy Choo saying the program would assist in raising the sector’s professional status.

Professor Omari said the partnership gave the school an opportunity to offer students a graduate certificate of executive leadership and management with codesign from government professionals from March next year.

“We are going to have guest speakers from the sector peppered throughout the units,” she said.

“The assessments are also going to have applicability in the real world of work settings for the participants who will be coming from the local government.

“It’s just been a wonderful partnership, because we've managed to develop this wonderful bespoke program and it really is a true partnership from the design and the delivery stage.”

ECU is set to relocate to Perth’s CBD by 2025 via a $695 million move co-funded by the federal and state governments.

Professor Omari said the relocation would move the university’s second-largest school closer to industry, which will provide students with future collaborative opportunities.

“Our facilities will be basically designed to accommodate highly collaborative workspaces,” she said.

“We're working on the design as we speak, and it's just been a wonderful exercise, because not only am I involved in the design of those spaces, but all of my academic staff are also actually going to be in the classroom doing the teaching.

“This can only take us from strength to strength … because it all of this will have huge pedagogical, reputational and research benefits for us and will, I think, positively impact on our rankings going forward.”

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