The University of the South Pacific’s focus on Program Level RSD Implementation and Link to Pacific Consciousness

The University of the South Pacific’s focus on Program Level RSD Implementation and Link to Pacific Consciousness

The next Research Skills Development (RSD) workshop at The University of the South Pacific in Fiji will focus on using the RSD Framework for promoting Pacific Consciousness and greater program level coherence of research skills across courses. The RSD workshop will be conducted by John Willison (University of Adelaide) on 26th and 27th of November 2015 in Suva, Fiji. The workshop participants will comprise of academic staff that have been implementing RSD in their courses, mainly members of the ‘USP RSD Community of Practice’ that was launched on 9th of September this year.

The RSD Framework is implemented in Foundation, Undergraduate and Postgraduate level courses at The University of the South Pacific. Implementation of RSD was initiated in 2012 with the first year Undergraduate generic courses ‘UU100 Communication and Information Literacy’ and ‘UU114 English for Academic Purposes’. Following this, RSD was implemented in the second year Undergraduate generic courses ‘UU200 Ethics and Governance’ and ‘UU204 Pacific Worlds’, and in the first year discipline based courses during 2013. Second year discipline based Undergraduate courses commenced implementation of RSD in 2014 and some third year Undergraduate courses have begun implementation in 2015.

Simultaneous to implementation at Undergraduate level, RSD has been implemented in the core postgraduate level courses from year 2013, starting from a core Science postgraduate course and expanding to include more disciplines over the last 3 years.

Program level conversations on RSD implementation were initiated at the workshops in December 2014 and April 2015, with progress noted during the workshops in September 2015. The next workshop is expected to delve further into program level implementation for coherence in research skill development across courses in the degree. Furthermore, it is critical to link the use of the RSD Framework to development of Pacific Consciousness at The University of the South Pacific which serves students in 14 campuses located across 12 member countries in the region.

For further information on RSD implementation at The University of the South Pacific, refer to

Author: heenalalrsd

Research Skills Development Coordinator at The University of the South Pacific

7 thoughts on “The University of the South Pacific’s focus on Program Level RSD Implementation and Link to Pacific Consciousness”

  1. Bula Heena

    thanks for posting about the University of the South Pacific’s use of the RSD- and what is coming up. I think that a lot of universities may need to look to USP in the future if they are serious about how to systematically incorporate research skill development across undergraduate and postgraduate studies.
    I look forward to seeing you and the colleagues there in a few weeks!

    1. I must say I was totally impressed by the presentation of USP’s use of RSD. What I found most useful was that the students felt greatly supported by this framework and value it highly. This can of course only happen after a clear understanding of the framework. I am sure the upcoming symposium at the University will be very useful for all those who participate. I look forward towards the posts sharing about the symposium sessions/activities.

  2. Very interesting to hear such a fresh take on the RSD – in fact the whole series of USP lectures were a pleasure for the same reason.

  3. At the University of Adelaide, in Mechanical engineering, we use the Optimizing Problem Solving (OPS) framework to place emphasis onto the principles of RSD for first year engineering students. I would be really interested to see the applicability of the OPS system to these other first year undergraduate courses. My experiences are that it has been quite effective as a platform upon which to base RSD education and a system with which you can add context to RSD. Just food for thought, but there could be some nice connections between the two!

    1. I agree Harry. And as you know, we re-configured the RSD so it looks like OPS! So we have a RSD framework, a RSD Pentagon, and a RSD song (that UWisconsin may have to sing when we are there).

      The pentagon version seems to be very effective for early communication about the RSD with students. Inspired by Mech Eng use of OPS in workshops with students, we are getting students to reflect on process and fill in the pentagon. I used that technique in Singapore with Masters students – very effective! This is timely, because the more we delve into RSD use, the more we see how hard the framework version is to understand initially. The pentagon format really addresses a need there! Thanks Mech Eng tutors! Meet some of the 2014 tutors at

  4. Some of my tutors (see post from Harry Lucas above) are excited to learn about the work being done with the RSD at the USP, especially the idea of vertical integration at various course and year levels and the possibility of program level integration. Harry, for example, was one of the tutors to introduce OPS to our first group of first year students in Design Graphics and Communication. This is his second year of tutoring and he has assisted in refining and applying how we engage the junior students in using OPS as a tool for developing research skills among undergraduates. What USP is doing provides us with some leadership on this.

    1. great isn’t it that with with a language in common (the RSD) people can adapt it to different contexts (Mech Eng or the Pacific) and then it can come back to where it started and give fresh insight!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s