<p>The University of Melbourne has ranked below average in a student experience survey of Australian universities, published by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching. </p>
The University of Melbourne has ranked below average in a student experience survey of Australian universities, published by Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching. The results could potentially affect the level of funding the University receives in the future.
Of the students surveyed from the University of Melbourne, 77.5 per cent rated their experience at the University as “positive”, falling from 79.4 last year.
The University of Melbourne came in at number 30 out of the 42 universities surveyed. While the University traditionally does well in research—hence its position in the Times Higher Education rankings as the 32nd best university in the world—student support and teaching quality has never been its strong point.
University of Melbourne Student Union Education (Academic) Officer Toby Silcock said these results were not particularly surprising.
“People want to go to Melbourne because they want to get the sandstone experience and when they get here they realise Stop 1 is understaffed and it’s a crap service, and they realise that the teaching staff aren’t as good as they should be because a lot of them are on casual contracts,” he said.
“They realise that the University has got a lot of money but it’s not putting it back into the student experience and the survey reflects that.”
According to Education Minister Simon Birmingham, these results will assist in determining how much funding universities will receive from 2020.
“Our focus on improving outcomes for students is precisely why we want to link a degree of university funding growth to performance outcomes,” he told Campus Morning Mail.
“By incentivising universities to focus on areas such as student satisfaction and experience, we should see better outcomes for graduates and employers and better value for taxpayers.”
At the National Union of Students’ “Build a Better Budget” campaign launch today, National Tertiary Education UniMelb Branch President Steve Adams said that the University should be concerned about future reductions in funding, given Birmingham’s proposal and the University’s low student experience results.
Silcock also held this concern, although he said that these results could send the University a message.
“If, in fact, the federal government is going to use this as a crowbar to attack the University’s funding, it might start to send the message that students really need more money going back into their basic support and services, rather than into new capital works and new buildings everywhere and university salaries,” he said.
At the top of the ladder was the University of Divinity, with 91.1 per cent of its students rating the quality of their experience as positive, while Victoria University came in last at 72.6 per cent.
The University of Melbourne is not the only university in the Group of Eight—Australia’s eight “leading” universities—ranking below average in the survey. The University of Western Australia received a result of 78.3 per cent, Monash University 78.2 per cent, the University of Sydney 74.9 per cent and University of New South Wales only 73.7 per cent.