Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Submissions on The Future of Australian Universities

 Submissions Report,
Universities Accord,
Nous Group, 21 February 2023
The Australian Universities Accord Panel, chaired by Professor Mary O’Kane, has released a 118 page report of Submissions on priorities for the Australian Universities Accord (Nous Group, 21 February 2023). There is also the full text of most of the 185 submissions available. This includes my submission "Some Thoughts on the Future of Australian Higher Education" (December, 2022).

The report found some common themes:

  • "Improving access to the higher education system, particularly for underrepresented cohorts and identifying programs to improve student outcomes.
  • Reviewing the current higher education funding model to ensure it supports the long-term success of teaching, learning and research, in line with national priorities.
  • Investigating the regulatory arrangements which govern the higher education system
  • Reviewing how the institutions within the higher education sector interact with each other, the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector and industry to deliver the skills needs of the future."

About all I would add is the interconnected issues of teacher training and online education. The issue of training staff to teach is particularly difficult for research universities, which have conflicting priorities. Measures of university quality are based primarily on research, not teaching. 

Australian universities have had a similar conundrum with online learning. Online learning provides a quality of education outcomes at least equal to classroom teaching, but is perceived as lower quality. Students like the idea of classroom learning, but in practice most do not turn up to lectures.

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