Students worried after AUT cans creative industries courses

March 20, 2019

Students worried after AUT cans creative industries courses

AUT has cancelled the creative industries. Photo: Hannah Kronast

Students studying the creative industries at AUT University are worried about their career prospects after their major was cancelled at the last minute.

Students are concerned they might have chosen the wrong alternatives after AUT cancelled its Bachelor of Communication Studies Creative Industries major six days before it would begin for 2019.

Those affected were given three options: to continue the creative industries major as self-directed learning with no classes, change to their next available major of choice, or complete a generalised major.

Those interviewed by TWN said they were happy with the options given to them, but were concerned they were not allowed enough time to make a well-informed decision or get into their second choice of major.

Ainsley Meynell, a third-year student, wanted to do her second-choice major in advertising creativity but was unable to because the classes were filled when enrolment opened last December.

Ms Meynell is now picking up pre-requisite papers to finish her degree with a major in public relations.

“Advertising was my second choice and I thought they would put you to your second choice as we filled out those forms, but then my third choice was PR and that was the only thing I was really eligible for. I was just like, I’m guessing I’m changing my career.”

She wishes the School of Communication Studies had cancelled the major sooner to allow her and other students to get into their second-choice papers.

Rosser Johnson, associate dean of the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies, says an unprecedented set of circumstances led to the decision to cancel the major.

“We were faced with this perfect storm on [the] Monday afternoon and by the Tuesday morning we had worked through a range of different options, all of which had the students’ best interests at heart.”

The school plans to shift the creative industries content into the other major’s papers so students will still learn some of the skills it would have taught.

Elizabeth Caldwell, director of City Gallery Wellington, has described AUT’s termination of the major as “yet another blow to arts studies taking place around the country”.

The affected AUT students are now preparing for the year ahead but some are apprehensive about their new choices.

“It’s having this idea in my head of how this year’s going to go, just to be like nope… not having the teachers that I really liked and then having to go into these random classes, like I have PR on Thursdays and I don’t know if I really should be there,” says Jess Thomson-Booth, who has chosen to do a generalised major.

Ms Meynell says she was looking for a career in advertising project management but now has to re-evaluate if she can still do that with a public relations major.

Five second-year students have reportedly transferred to Massey University.

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