A regional Community of Practice leading the way in the Cradle Coast

  • Delegates at the CCACoP Conference
    CCACoP Conference
  • Conference badges - Regional research rocks
    Conference badges

One of the great strengths of regional University campuses is that they can be deeply embedded in their local communities and staff and students tend to have close relationships with each other and with their broader community. This creates a strong foundation for collaboration and innovation to help address some of the complex issues facing regional communities such as health, education, attrition rates and sustainability. The University of Tasmania’s Cradle Coast Campus in Burnie, North-West Tasmania, have a dedicated group of academics, community members and local business representatives who are committed to enhance outcomes for regional students, academics and the community at large. This multi- disciplinary group forms the Cradle Coast Academic Community of Practice (CCACoP).

The Cradle Coast Academic Community of Practice (CCACoP)

The Community of Practice was established in 2016 to provide a voice for the University of Tasmania local North-West Tasmanian campus and the broader community. The CCACoP is committed to building networks across disciplinary boundaries and creating opportunities for working together across North-West Tasmania and beyond. This is for example seen in providing input in the concept of developing a sustainable village on the North-West Coast.  Like other Communities of Practice (CoP) our group is strongly self-governed, crosses formal boundaries and draws on interdisciplinary knowledge and connections. This places the group in a strong position to deal with complexity and drive social change.

Through a wide range of active members, the CoP brings people together in a meaningful way, to identify opportunities for collaboration. The sustained interaction and collective competence of the CCACoP has facilitated learning and career development opportunities, workshops, teaching, learning and research seminars, and guest speakers in our region. Providing these self-managed, community events addresses the complex issues of minimal professional, career, and leadership opportunities in regional areas and creates a people-centric approach to learning and engagement more broadly. 

The CCACoP has 36 members from many different disciplines and divisions (business, education, nursing, science, social work, sociology, university college) as well as a strong alumni and community connections. Many CCACoP members are one of a few, or indeed the only, staff member in their discipline on campus and many are part-time, casual or have teaching-only positions. Working at a geographical and professional distance, often as a casual or part-time employee, in a resource strained environment makes it challenging to engage in professional development activities, career progression or make wider contributions to the work environment and the community. However, the establishment of the CCACoP has provided unique opportunities for individuals to work together across disciplines, titles and positions, and contribute to key debates and issues in our community. The informal and non-hierarchical nature of interaction within the CCACoP encourages authentic conversations which has led to innovative strategies and solutions.

An example of an innovative strategy is the annual Regional Visions conference, now in its second year, as a way of engaging with our community partners, local businesses and academics from across our region and beyond. This conference provides broad opportunities to network, make new connections and find opportunities to collaborate and share ideas as well as showcase the great work that is happening regionally, locally and across Australia. This year the conference took place on the 23 November 2023 and the conference program can be viewed here https://www.utas.edu.au/about/events/regional-visions. We would like to invite you to join us at this conference next year to experience the impact of a passionate group of regional people sharing knowledge and ideas. Please also feel free to get in touch if you are interested in connecting and collaborating with us via [email protected].

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