Uni Melbourne models new experience for undergrads

Uni Melbourne moves to update the student experience

The university is transforming teaching and learning with its long in-development flexible academic programme, including, student engagement in large classes, digital teaching technologies in live-lectures and student-centric services in class time-tabling. (CMM October 9 2017).

And now the university executive has presented staff with a new approach to assisting undergraduates make the most of  student life.

What’s happening: New DVC Student Life, Kerri-Lee Krause, will lead the seven-component programme, rolling out 2020-21.

* commencement ceremonies: “assist to establish cultural expectations and norms for both study and engagement, and create a shared sense of identity and connection” starting 2020

Melbourne ideas festival: using existing Orientation activities; “to enable students to sample and explore different intellectual offerings and see some of the university’s major researchers in action”

* discovery subjects: an “immersive experience” for new students in the first few weeks after orientation. “from which they emerge with an understanding of the norms and expectations of their new community and with strong connections to other students and to their discipline.”

* next generation capstones: “substantial increases in the quantity and diversity of experiential learning opportunities embedded in the third-year curriculum” to help students transition from student of a discipline to a practitioner, “prepared for what lies beyond graduation”

* advising and mentoring: all first and second year students to have, “structured, scheduled, and matched opportunities to connect with later-year students and with academic staff. These appointments will focus on issues relevant to a student’s study”

* co-curricular: “opportunities for students to build skills and experience in a range of different environments, become engaged and active citizens, give back to local, national and international communities, and explore their emerging ideas for careers and personal growth.”  Students with eligible co-curricular achievements receive a transcript showing engagements and skills developed, “available to students throughout their enrolment, and beyond.”

* student life measurement framework:  leading indicators to, “evaluate progress towards our goal of leading the sector in measures of the student experience”

Yes, there are concerns: This is a very big deal indeed and there are concerns on campus that the planning is not in place nor staffing lined-up for 2020-21 roll outs.  Professor Krause will certainly have a big summer, when she starts at the university on December 2.

Brilliant, just brilliant:  The demand driven system, including the excellent Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching, increased attention on student experience and outcomes, which has not gone away. Uni Melbourne scored just under the overall national average for the undergraduate experience in QILT ’18, 10 per cent below for student support.

The university needed to act – what it has done is typical of the institution’s culture, identifying issues and allocating resources not just to fix problems but to create a new culture. Another great Melbourne Model.


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