La Trobe University has received the lowest rating for overall experience in a new guide to Australia’s tertiary education institutions, but its Bendigo campus head says the university is always working to improve.
This year’s Good Universities Guide reports that 74.2 per cent of La Trobe students were satisfied with the overall quality of their educational experience, the smallest proportion of the 39 universities in the guide and 5.7 percentage points below the national average.
The university also rates poorly for teaching quality, based on student satisfaction.
But Rob Stephenson, head of the university’s Bendigo campus, said the university was taking measures to improve the student experience.
He said the $50 million campus transformation program underway in Bendigo aimed to better respond to the students’ needs.
Mr Stephenson said a lot of resources had been put into building links with industry, to ensure graduates were given the skills sought after by employers.
The university was also developing new courses, he said, reinvigorating existing courses to ensure they remained relevant, and hiring new staff.
But positively for La Trobe, it falls shy of the top ten universities for learner engagement by just 0.1 per cent, with 66.4 per cent of students reporting they felt engaged with their learning.
Mr Stephenson credited this to an emphasis on face-to-face teaching and the on-campus experience, which gave students a sense of community.
He said this was particularly strong at regional campuses such as Bendigo, which were good at supporting students who had moved from outside the area.
The university also ranks well for student retention, with 5 per cent of school leavers staying on at a higher than expected rate; for many, it is less than 1 per cent.
Compared to other institutions, La Trobe is also rates relatively highly when it comes to social equity: 19 per cent of its domestic students come from low socioeconomic or disadvantaged backgrounds.
When it comes to securing full-time employment after university, 66.2 per cent of La Trobe graduates find a full-time job within four months, compared to the average of 69.5 per cent.
The starting salary of La Trobe graduates is at the lower end of the scale, at $52,000; the average is $56,000, and the highest is $61,000 for University of Southern Queensland graduates.
This article originally appeared in the Bendigo Advertiser – La Trobe University scores poorly for overall experience but well on other measures in 2018 Good Universities Guide