University of Tasmania recognised for enrolling disadvantaged students

The University of Tasmania (UTAS) needs to improve staffing and resources if it wants to attract more international students, a union says. 

The Good Universities Guide has ranked UTAS at 31 out of 39 Australian universities, based on an assessment of a student’s “overall experience”.

The Good Universities Guide rates universities across the country on a range of criteria.

Last year UTAS unveiled plans to double its international student intake to 20 per cent in the next 10 years. The report revealed the current level sits at 15 per cent.

When it came to satisfaction with student resources, UTAS had the lowest score out of any university.

Emma Gill from the National Tertiary Education Union’s Tasmanian division said the fact 75 per cent of staff were employed on fixed-term or casual contracts explained the below-average level of student satisfaction.

“Often those fixed-term contracts are for short periods of time, and individuals don’t know if they’ll be delivering or teaching the same material into future semesters or years,” she said.

“Quite often you’re unavailable to students because you are not paid to be available.

“And I think the student experience suffers through that.”

She said if the university wanted to attract more international students, resourcing needed to improve.

“Quite a lot of the university has been let to run down,” she said.

“In the south, there are quite a number of buildings directly on the Sandy Bay campus over the last few years that have been deemed not fit to have students or staffing.

“We’re surprised some of those buildings are still holding staff and students in them.”

Disadvantaged enrolments recognised

UTAS was given a five star rating for enrolling a high proportion of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

It also ranked 15 out of the 39 universities in student satisfaction with teaching quality.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor David Sadler said the guide had highlighted some of the university’s achievements.

“The University of Tasmania prides itself on teaching and research excellence and it is pleasing to see another platform recognise the quality of our institution,” he said in a statement.

“We are particularly pleased to see our efforts recognised in areas such as social equity and student retention.

“The Good Universities Guide follows the Academic Ranking of World Universities, which earlier this month again placed the University of Tasmania amongst the best in the world.”

The university is on track to relocate its Burnie and Launceston campuses after landing a pre-election funding injection.

 

This article originally appeared on ABC News – University of Tasmania told to improve to woo more international students

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