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May 9, 2011 | by  | in News |
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Undergrads Under Review

Undergraduate degrees at Victoria University are set to be put under the microscope as the university embarks on an unprecedented review of its programmes.

The review is intended to improve the entire undergraduate experience at Victoria by creating a strategic vision and direction.

Over the next two years, faculties and schools will review all Victoria undergraduate degrees in terms of a series of key issues. The process will include significant student involvement.

“The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) has openly said she wants student consultation,” said VUWSA Education Organiser Fiona Beals.

“Students can have a say and see the benefits while they are still at university.”
It is hoped the review will create an undergraduate curriculum which improves student education and experience and enhances the reputation of Victoria.

“This is an exciting time. It is our chance to transform undergraduate degrees,” said Beals.

The review will include consideration of a number of issues which have arisen in overseas university reviews.

One idea is the broadening of general education requirements within degrees. This would require students to take courses outside of their chosen major and increase the diversity of their degree.

A key motivation for the review is the increasingly difficult funding environment universities are forced to work in.

Financing of tertiary education has been in the spotlight in recent years due to funding caps and decreased government funding.
Government funding per student in New Zealand has continuously fallen over the last two decades. In 2007 universities received $230m less per year in government funding than they would have under the funding levels of the 1990s.

The funding context will change again in 2013 when the government’s performance-based funding is introduced. This will see university funding based partially on student performance.

The plan for implementing the findings of the review will begin this December.

The Issues

Undergraduate degrees will be reviewed against a series of key issues:
• Maintaining focused high-quality degrees
• Integrating research into learning to develop student research skills;
• Creating a balance within degrees between specialist disciplines and general education;
• Encouraging deeper learning through assessment;
• Promoting broad education through internships, exchanges and volunteer work

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