campus

Big Issues for the year

31 March 2005

From the man in the Chair, Paul Donegan

Teaching and learning

For all its prestige and research excellent, the University of Melbourne ranks only slightly above average across Australia’s universities in teaching and learning standards. That is what most students are here for, and your union and the University agree this needs to improve.

However, improvements can only be made if you pass on what’s bugging you! If you have a concern, whether it’s with a staff members, a subject or an administrative process, let us know. There’s no problem too big or too small. And if you think something is being done well, please pass that on too so we can ensure people get the credit they deserve and good practices proliferate across the University.

A particular challenge for student representatives is Melbourne Uni’s devolved structure—a lot of power rests with faculties rather than the central administration. While some faculties do things very well, others are not so good. The student union recognises this, and is working closely with faculty students’ societies to improve communication and to support their efforts to provide representation at a faculty level.

And remember, the best way to ensure your voice is heard is to get involved—we’d love to hear from you!

Representation

The hard work of your student representatives has already led to many positive developments. One longer-term example is the University’s recognition that Voluntary Student Unionism represents a serious challenge. This acknowledgement highlights the important and indispensable work of the student union in supporting students and brining life to campus, and would not have come about without the hard work of student representatives and (credit where it’s due) the goodwill of key figures in the University administration. More on this as it comes to light….

More broadly, good representation is contributing to a significant cultural shift at high levels of the University. There is now a much wider acceptance across University administrators that student input in decision-making is important and to be respected. This leads to better outcomes for students, ensuring what the University is doing is relevant and that any problems are addressed.

In May, students will have an opportunity to support this further by voting ratify a constitution for a permanent student representative structure and to elect a Students’ Council for this body. Think about getting involved!


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