What stage is the proposal for a new optometry course at currently with the General Optical Council (GOC)?We have met with the GOC and submitted papers confirming our intent to bring a full application forward.
You will work with FODO on the introduction of the course. How did the partnership come about?We were approached by local members of the optometry profession who felt that there was a need for another optometry course in Northern Scotland and following discussions there has been wider and ongoing communication and consultation with FODO.
What role will FODO take going forward?We are at the very early stages of considering possible delivery models so this is still to be established. We will work closely with industry partners to shape our proposals and subsequent development work.
When do you hope to start student enrolment?
We are hoping to offer the degree from 2019, but this is subject to approval and accreditation.
Are you looking at introducing a three or four year course?
A four year honours degree course as standard within the Scottish framework.
What would the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) anticipate the student intake for the course to be?
What other characteristics will mark out the UHI course for students when compared to those being offered by other universities?
The degree will feature extensive placement of learners in industry-based practice learning environments across the Highlands and Islands region (and hopefully other areas of Northern Scotland). We will also seek to maximise the amount of time students spend on placement. Due to the distributed nature of our university partnership, we have a wealth of experience in using a range of teaching approaches and technology to support students during periods away from main learning sites.
Have you appointed a course leader in post yet?
And when will you begin recruiting lecturers?We are in discussions with the GOC about staffing requirements and are looking to develop our team from 2018.
The sector has raised issues about the number of students creating an oversupply in the market. How does the UHI respond to that concern?
How does UHI expect entry requirements to differ, if at all, to Glasgow Caledonian University?
It is too early to give a definitive answer on this, but the quality, standards and rigour of the course will be equivalent as will the standard of learners offered entry. We are however, a widening access institution and will make full use of recognition of prior learning within our admissions processes.