BCII wins big at the annual BHERT Awards
The University of Technology’s award winning combined degree, The Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) has taken out this year’s Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) Award for Outstanding collaboration in Higher Education and Training in the category of ‘Industry Problem Solving’. This award recognises outstanding contributions to enhancing the quality of learning and teaching by members of tertiary education institutions and industry partners, government departments, authorities, associations, not for profits and community organisations.
Dr Peter Binks, CEO of BHERT, praised the BCII:
The Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation from the University of Technology Sydney is a remarkable degree, and was a unanimous choice of our judges in this category. It has taken a new approach to engaging students and providing them with the skills sought by Australian industry. Our panel was impressed with the range and quality of the industry partners working with UTS through the BCII, and the significant demand from students for the course.
The Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) is a world-first, transdisciplinary combined degree. Radical in its ambition, it combines students from 25-degree programs from across the University of Technology Sydney's (UTS) in a future-oriented, industry-engaged curriculum. Conceptually, the degree stands in a category of its own, being the only degree of its kind in the only faculty of its kind in Australia – The Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation.
The BCII’s remit is to impact on many industries, across industries and between them, through a transdisciplinary curriculum that forefronts critical and creative thinking, problem-posing and solving, innovation and invention, complexity and entrepreneurship to prepare students for jobs of the future. Commencing in 2014, BCII has transcended design-thinking and design-led innovation programs now common in universities, to examine how innovation is led from multiple disciplinary perspectives including science, design, health, information technology, social sciences, business, engineering and law. Intense industry engagement is one of the key attractors of the BCII and is integral to its unprecedented growth, which in turn has contributed to the university’s reputational enhancement. In its third year, applications rose to 3547 making it the second most applied for degree at UTS.
BCII Course Director Associate Professor Bem Le Hunte says:
There’s a very rare kind of magic that takes place when academics work as equals with industry partners, students and professional staff, with the ambition to transform our education system, our industries and ourselves. Novel collaboration across disciplines takes courage and creativity – and it’s work that must be done to tackle the big challenges of our times and future-proof our students’ learning. Recognition from BHERT validates the importance of this type of imaginative work in education, and its relevance to Australia’s innovation ecosystem.
Established 1998, the Business Higher Education Round Table (BHERT) initiated a series of awards to reinforce the importance of business-university partnerships in R&D, and teaching and skills development. These prestigious annual awards are widely acknowledged as the pre-eminent recognition of university partnerships, and confirm the strength and diversity of industry-university collaboration in Australia. Since 1998, over 1000 submissions have been received from virtually all-Australian universities, and 145 have been celebrated as BHERT Award winners. The BCII is indeed no stranger to awards and is recognised as a game changing industry facing educational experience, receiving accolades such as the 2016 Wharton Re-Imagine Education Award (bronze) - a prestigious international award considered the Oscars of education.
The BCII currently has more than 700 partners from 524 industry, public sector, start-up, social impact and community organisations who actively seek opportunities to work with our students. This remarkable level of engagement is reflected in the 1:2 ratio of partner to students. Each BCII student undertakes at least one Innovation Internship, and all participate in an Industry Innovation Project (IIP). Partners include Accenture, Aurecon, Arup, Frasers property, Breville, Australian Defence Force, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Google, Food Innovation Australia, PwC, Lend Lease, Mars Food, Merivale, Royal Australian Air Force, Suncorp, Transport for New South Wales and WWF.
One of the most exciting outcomes from the BCII industry partnerships are the graduate outcomes. Many graduates have formed their own start-ups (including San Francisco based start-ups Paradigm Labs) whilst others are exploring higher degree research pathways. A number of students have also returned as industry partners. Furthermore, advocacy and referrals from our partners seeking BCII talent for employment has accelerated exponentially, validating the degree’s vision to create impact through an entirely different type of graduate who can drive change and share knowledge from across our industries.