The Regional Universities Network has launched a preemptive policy strike, proposing its own performance metrics. The move pre-empts the Turnbull Government commitment to allocating undergraduate growth places on the basis of as yet unannounced measures of university performance.
In a slap across public service chops RUN chair Greg Hill says, ““too much is riding on this process for a superficial approach to be adopted.”
RUN commissioned consultants Nous Group to capture the contribution of universities against the broad objectives of the Higher Education Support Act; teaching quality, equity outcomes and contribution to society.
Nous proposes assessing performance in the three HESA categories, by core, optional and instituton-specific criteria:
Core: completions, attrition, student satisfaction, equity group participation, employer satisfaction and employent outcomes
Optional: one measure from an approved list, for example, per centage of students in work places, comparative equity/all student completion rates, regional employment
Institution specific: three locally relevant metrics, for example, articulation from VET, equity performance and community service.
Institutions would also set out their achievements and explain shortfalls in a suporting submission.
Looks like a model to CMM; albeit one which could protect RUN members from what they appear to fear the feds might do – mark them down for headline attrition rates. RUN members have attrition rates five to seven times that of the University of Melbourne ( CMM June 8). Thus the Nous plan points out there are many causes of attrition which universities cannot address and that they should only be assessed on areas where they can make a difference, teaching quality, student support and learning environment.
Professor Hill goes further, ““a narrow focus on attrition does not fully capture the expectations that both government and community have of higher education. This includes: the unique experience of participation in a university education; and the skills and services this delivers, not only to students themselves, but, in the case of regional universities, to their communities and economies.”