Outsourcing pathways creates winding degrees

Recently VUWSA made a submission to the University regarding the future of the Foundation Studies pre-degree pathway, which mostly affects international students who are coming to Victoria.

On Monday morning, the University’s internal newsletter, Vic News arrived in my Inbox including a section on consultation. VUWSA’s submission to the University was the programme should be kept in-house in the interest of the student experience and education quality.

VUWSA stood alongside the VUWSA International Students Association, against this proposal. I found out via Vic News the University is commencing conversations with third party providers to outsource the programme by 2017. 

I am disappointed the University has chosen to progress with outsourcing Foundation Studies. I am disappointed the university dismissed the overwhelming submissions against this proposal.

Does Victoria value its students or its bottom line?

Jacinta Gulasekharam – Academic Vice President

Education update – June 2016

Know your policy – Rescheduling exams

Did you know students who have exceptional personal circumstances preventing them from sitting an exam at the scheduled time and place may arrange for alternative options?

Exceptional personal circumstances are outlined on page 23 of the Assessment Handbook and include, but are not limited to, temporary illness, disability, death of friend or family member, significant cultural commitment, national or international representative commitments, court dates.

Alternative options to sitting an exam at the scheduled time and place may include:

  • arranging to sit the exam in a separate room or in alternative facilities
  • arranging to sit the exam at a different time or place
  • considering an aegrotat.

In exceptional cases students should reach out to their Faculty Student and Academic Services Offices, Student Counselling Service, Student Health Service or Disability Services to discuss their situation

Not sure of the process or where to start? Connect with VUWSA’s Advocacy Service for independent information, advice and support. 

Know your policy – Grade reconsiderations

Are you concerned about your exam results?

If you fail a course or get a lower grade than expected, don’t despair – there may be some avenues for you to explore. 

If you sat an exam, you can apply to the Faculty Student Administration office for access to your examination script:

  • to read your script in a supervised environment, or
  • to have the original returned to you after the deadline for reconsideration and before the date for disposal of scripts.

Seeing your script will give you an idea of what went wrong and whether it's worth taking the issue further. You can apply for a grade reconsideration of an examination script, or other piece of written assessment worth at least 25% of the course, by writing to the Faculty Student Administration Office.

VUWSA's Advocacy Service can provide you with options or guide you through a grade reconsideration process

A reconsideration of your grade is possible, but a discussion with your lecturer is preferable before taking this step. You can apply in writing for a formal reconsideration. Grades can only be adjusted upwards as a result of reconsideration. Your mark can never go down because of the reconsideration process. 

Productivity Commission: VUWSA’s thoughts on New Models of Tertiary Education

VUWSA submitted on the first round of consultation to the Productivity Commission about key barriers and opportunities in the tertiary sector in New Zealand (all the things that affect you guys!)

Key points from our submission: 

  • Wanting greater opportunities to gain practical skills. 
  • Concern about rising student fees and increased competition in the job market.
  • Removing competition for student enrollments due to it being a barrier for a cohesive, effective sector. 
  • Providing New Zealand universities with recommendations on how to collaborate with innovation in the sector as well as degree programmes. 
  • Increasing an equitable approach to education of under-represented groups with better enrollment targeting and supported localised degree-completion initiatives. 
  • Integrating a homogeneous system to provide better outcomes, specialisation within certain areas and increased engagement with employers. 

There will be another round of consultation where we'll ask for your input on the future of tertiary education. 

Class Representatives update

It is crunch time in the semester and Class Representatives ensure the student voice is heard across the University. They are the ears and voice of the students at Victoria and provide the first point of contact for students in their class.

If there are any issues, Class Representatives are on the ground and at hand to help resolve them, offering support and guidance. They are an invaluable link between students, academic staff, the University Academic Office and VUWSA.

Our goal is to ensure students receive the best deal. Students are an important point of consultation when changes need to be made or are being proposed. Class Representatives also work within Victoria’s academic representation structures. They provide constructive feedback to academic staff and student representatives in Faculty and University committees regarding the quality of teaching and assessment, course content and facilities.

Put your hand up if you're keen. Class Reps are elected at the start of each semester as students’ issues and concerns need to be represented throughout the semester. If you're interested, make sure you show up to the first class of Trimester 2 so you can put your hand to volunteer. 

Did you know you can apply for event subsidy? Class events provide a great way for students to get to know each other and, in turn, work together constructively through the course of a trimester. VUWSA has a dedicated fund for subsidising events organised by Class Reps. Email the Student Representation Coordinator src@vuwsa.org.nz to apply!