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March 31, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Show Us Your Tutes

Tutorials will be introduced to the 300-level Political Science and International Relations (PSIR) programme after years of student demand.

The review of the PSIR programme pooled comments from 18 class representatives and 130 students in POLS and INTP courses over the last 12 months prior to 2013.

The review found a need for tutorials at 300-level was a “constant theme” among students.

Student numbers in the programme have doubled in the past seven years since the introduction of the International Relations major. This increase in student numbers has not been matched by staff recruitment, leading to classes of up to 130 students without tutorials.

“Currently, it feels like we are bombarded with information and interesting ideas with no monitored and guided space to digest and develop the content we are meant to be learning,” one student noted.

“I feel like the lack of tutorials in 3rd year means no/little help given to students by staff unless the student actively seeks out a meeting with the staff but that is quite difficult to do, coordinating schedules and finding a regular time to do this.”

VUWSA Academic Vice-President Rāwinia Thompson noted that the tutorials have been “in the pipeline” for a while, but establishing tutorials for undergraduate Politics students had not been a University priority.

“Humanities isn’t a strategic area: you don’t see classes getting cut in Sciences and Engineering and you don’t hear those students complaining about a lack of contact time.”

A student interviewed by Salient also noted the disparity of student engagement between Humanities and Sciences, especially in POLS.

“Two hours a week is not enough. My girlfriend who does Biotech has four lectures a week and six-hour labs, she doesn’t complain that she doesn’t have enough time on it.”

Other outcomes desired from tutorials included allowing students to receive assistance with their work, and more focus on where the theoretical principles learnt in the programme could be applied in ‘real life’ post-degree. University programmes are reviewed every seven years.

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