The CQUniversity Law Discipline approach to pastoral responsibility has four components:
1. Raising awareness
The issues of professional wellbeing and mental illness are raised as part of student induction, but also considered in the ethical professionalism aspect of the curriculum where TLO 2: Ethics and Professional Responsibility, TLO 5: Communication and Collaboration and TLO 6: Self-management are embedded in coursework. Pastoral responsibility is also embedded in staff professional development.
- An information session is conducted with first-year students as part of their core studies with information on university counselling services and other options for help.
- Students are all sent a copy of the ALSA guide ‘Depression in Australian Law Schools’
- Students are informed of a law discipline contact point and the staff equity/wellbeing officer.
- Staff professional development includes annual training on mental health and general wellbeing.
- We also provide a balance of activities outside of classes with the law students’ society.
2. Professional ethical issues
Rather than focus just on the problems of mental illness, it is also important to build student capacity for resilience, self-management and values of collegial responsibility. These capacities can be built wherever TLO 2: Ethics and Professional Responsibility, TLO 5: Communication and Collaboration and TLO 6: Self-management are embedded in coursework.
- In coursework and assessment staff emphasise the importance of the reflective ethical practitioner.
- Resources and training are provided on good self-management techniques such as working to timelines and managing conflict.
- Coursework explores the role of leadership as a shared quality and ethics of care for team members.
3. Best practices for student wellbeing
The Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation has created a set of guidelines for best practice in legal professional settings - which includes both professional workplaces and law schools. We will become a signatory to the Guidelines and use these standards in law discipline governance.
- Embed the TJMF Psychological Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines for the Legal Profession in the organisational and cultural structure of the law discipline.
- Raise awareness of the Guidelines with staff through professional development.
- Include a link to the Guidelines on the law discipline website.
- Consider the impact of these guidelines on the procedures by which we set deadlines, grant extensions, supplementary exams, and manage student workload.
- Develop policies about ‘second chances’.
4. Support for diverse career destinations
While the minority of law graduates may end up in solicitors firms or barristers chambers, graduate employability surveys show strong employment rates in related fields. Examples of other destinations include in-house lawyers, government, advice to public organisations, regulatory, public
policy, research and education. Part of the continuing work of legal education is understanding the changing map of law employment and including this information in coursework and in advice to students.
- Enhance career advice programs including a diversity of graduate destinations.
- Implement coursework that draws on a broader range of examples and the assessment includes a variety of career outcomes rather than focus just on appellate casework.
- Engage with alumni and participate in studies of graduate destinations.
- Include some WIL opportunities, including research-led teaching, and working with current law reform projects.
The relevant CQUniversity Policies concerning pastoral responsibility may be found at:
- Student Welfare and Support Policy
- Student Welfare and Support Principles
- Student Welfare and Support website
Further information and next steps
Intake dates are March, July and November.
View the Law course page for more details.