Monash arts students have campaigned for months about the size of classes, which are widely assumed to be linked to fewer casual staff teaching. A few weeks back students say dean Sharon Pickering suggested they use the student evaluation of teaching and units survey to express dissatisfaction.
Queue alarums, with the National Tertiary Education Union buckling on armour to defend arts staff. On Tuesday the union said it had asked the dean to retract the statement because if students acted on it teaching staff would unfairly suffer. “The dean knows as well as we do that poor SETU results penalise the staff members involved in each unit, such as promotions and for sessions when seeking work in future semesters. To encourage students to use this process to express discontent is offensive to hard working colleagues in the faculty.”
But Monash U management says everybody should relax; “the NTEU can be assured that any issues raised by students regarding the physical spaces in which they learn, or the size of their classes will not in any way be considered as a reflection on the quality of teaching provided by individual teaching staff. Any such issues raised will be considered in terms of the need for improvements or changes to class locations and sizes.”