Small Classes, Big Results

Macleay's Wendy Squires shares how students benefit from the small newsroom environment offered at Macleay, compared to larger institutions. 

IT IS WEEK three of the semester and I have proudly managed to remember all my new students’ names. Not only that, I know their backgrounds, journalistic strengths and weaknesses, and their goals and dreams.

That is why I am a lecturer at Macleay College and not one at the bigger learning institutions. You see, I love to teach and find it an absolute honour. To me, having the ability to be hands on with each and every student in my classes is an absolute gift.

In fact, I doubt I could be anywhere near as effective, should my classes be larger as I’d never get the chance to even know each pupil’s name. Let alone all of the all-important factors such as their limited language abilities or personal factors which could inhibit their potential.



Macleay Lecturer Wendy Squires makes a conscious effort to get to know her students on a personal level to enhance their learning experience. 


Often, I wonder how other teachers can successfully impart their skills to classrooms of up to 50 students and over or how they can tell if a student is improving or failing when they don’t get the opportunity to know them on a deeper and more intimate level.

I also wonder how many lecturers in other institutions can convey the changing demands of newsrooms when they have never actually worked in one, often only teaching rather than doing when it comes to media experience.

I regularly discuss what I write for Fairfax with the students before I file, so they can see how argument is formed and how the finished results look in print. This, I know, is the most useful thing they can learn and, from the social media interaction of students sharing my stories, I am aware this makes them feel part of the process. How anyone who doesn’t or hasn’t written for the media can teach writing is beyond me.


RECENT ARTICLE: How A Journalism Student Became Mamamia's Editorial Assistant Before Graduating


I have met former students from such larger learning facilities who tell me how they found their experience impersonal at best and ineffective at worse. When I tell them of the Macleay way - small classes taught by industry professionals in the field– it is a revelation. The response is always one of regret that they didn’t study in such intimate conditions.



The Hatch Newsroom forms an integral part of the practical and applied style of teaching employed by Macleay to produce highly employable graduates.


At the commencement of each unit I teach – my feature writing classes in particular – I ask students what their journalism end goal is. Often I will hear it may be a sports announcer, a TV host, a hard news reporter or an overseas correspondent.

At the end of the course I ask the same question. Often, to my great delight, I find that those who had little interest in writing now do. When I ask why, it is because they have not only found a new-found appreciation of what it takes to craft a story, be it a profile, backgrounder, news feature, memoir or review, but the confidence to know that they can tackle any variation with aplomb. It is this respect for the craft which brings me the greatest joy teaching. 


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When a student contacts me years later after leaving Macleay – and I do keep in contact with most – they will tell me how beneficial their journalistic education was. Even better, they often thank me for the time and consideration I gave in assisting them to be the proud and proficient working journalists they have become.

Hearing this makes an already fulfilling job an absolute delight, one I know I would never be as skilled at should my attention be spread so thin, as it could allow some students to fall through cracks unnoticed. And I know the journalists of tomorrow I’m teaching today, respect and appreciate that fact.


Quality of Teaching and Learning

Macleay was rated positively by a higher proportion of its students than the rating achieved for ALL of the public universities in Australia (i.e. better than all 38 public universities). We attribute these incredible results to our industry leading lecturers, small class sizes, practical based learning approach, highly supportive staff, focus on positive education and on-site pastoral care facilities.

  • Learner Engagement - Macleay scored 80.1% – the next closest public university scored 68.9% (the national average was 63.2%).    
  • Teaching Quality - Macleay scored 89.8% – the next closest public university scored 85.8% (the national average was 80.9%).    













Journalism at Macleay College

Students become working journalists from the first day they step into Macleay. They work on real stories in a real newsroom across all media platforms.

Journalism students are taught by industry experts that are up to date with the latest trends and are well connected in the industry.

Curious to know more about the Journalism programs at Macleay? Check out the student run Journalism website here. 

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