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May 24, 2015 | by  | in VUWSA |
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Academic Vice-President

Let’s get our money’s worth

Throughout our time studying, we pay a lot to the University.

With course fees, the Student Services Levy, hall of residence accommodation, and all that printing from the University library (wifi printing where you at), costs pile up pretty fast. I did some costings of my own time at university and by the time I graduate, I will have paid approximately $40,000 after five years. How cray is that?!

Despite paying all this money, are we really getting our money’s worth in quality teaching from our lecturers?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard a range of stories from students and student tutors expressing dissatisfaction with the quality of learning and teaching in some of their courses. Stories I’ve heard include limited learning support for first year students, limited or late feedback from assignments, and the perception that some lecturers would rather be doing research than teaching their class.

Vic’s focus on research is not necessarily a bad thing—we’ve been ranked the country’s most research-intensive university, which is super cool for our reputation. However, this focus shouldn’t mean that good quality teaching should suffer. Vic’s current tagline is “Know Your Mind”, yet sometimes the quality of our teaching imparts confusion rather than knowledge. Isn’t it funny that our early childhood, primary and secondary educators require teaching qualifications in order to teach us, yet our lecturers don’t require that same level of training?

Vic’s move toward greater undergrad pathways into postgrad degrees through one-year teaching-based Masters’ programmes brings in new opportunities to grow. However, this move also means that there should be greater consideration for a quality teaching standard. Vic needs to listen to our concerns and it needs to act now.

This lopsided focus on research means that it is more important than ever to stand up for your education. Get more feedback from your lecturers and tutors. Ask questions about what you’ve learnt in class. Be the critic and conscience of society for which universities have historically been known.

Let’s make sure we get our money’s worth. Let’s stand up for our education.

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