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RMIT writing program thriving through change

By Clare Renner - posted Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Contrary to Malcolm King's assertions, RMIT's renowned Professional Writing and Editing is very much alive and doing what it does best – training writers and editors for a challenging and rapidly changing industry.

Many of us working in education share Malcolm's concerns regarding changes to government funding and the effect this has on access to education and training and we need to see more in the way of informed, public debate around these issues. However, any suggestion that PWE is 'dead' is belied by continuing demand for the program, by the quality of its students and teachers, and by the support it enjoys from all sectors of a diverse industry.

The high standard of training provided is endorsed by the numbers of current students and graduates who work as freelance writers and editors, and who are employed, not only in the publishing industry, but across a range of organisations in both the government and private sectors.

At present, RMIT University runs three programs under the banner of Professional Writing and Editing: a Certificate IV, a Diploma and a new Associate Degree. The Victorian Government regulates accreditation and funding for the Certificate IV and the Diploma, which are now considered to be two completely separate one-year programs.


As experienced practitioners, PWE teachers feel strongly that for writers and editors to work effectively at a professional level, there is a need for flexible training to be delivered over two consecutive years. The PWE Associate Degree is designed to do this, thereby allowing students to deepen and develop their writing and editing skills.

The Associate Degree is accredited by RMIT, as a self-accrediting university, with funding set by the Commonwealth. Fees for TAFE students vary according to individual circumstance and students coming to study a Cert IV have to pay fees up front with no government loan scheme to help them. Enrolling in an Associate Degree, however, allows all students access to HECS

RMIT has given its full support to the development of the Associate Degree, which was written with input from writers, editors, publishers, media practitioners, past and present students and teachers. The Associate Degree is practice based and delivered through a studio model of teaching, consistent with the model used since PWE's inception.

PWE at RMIT has gone through many incarnations in its 22-year history and the Associate Degree is just part of its evolution. What began as a collection of courses in a community education program, morphed over time into an Associate Diploma of Arts, a Diploma of Arts and then into a Certificate IV and a Diploma of Professional Writing and Editing.

While program management would be simpler if we could simply stand still as the world changes around us, this ongoing evolution ensures that the program remains relevant to the industry it serves and that RMIT's PWE graduates continue to be sought after by that industry.

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About the Author

Clare Renner is the Director of RMIT's Professional Writing and Editing program.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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