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“James Guthrie, distinguished professor of accounting at Macquarie University, says there are clear reasons Australian university students are disgruntled. “Staff-student ratios are very high in Australian universities, some of the highest in the world. This impacts student evaluations.”
Internationally the acceptable ratio is around one academic to 15 students. In Australia there are institutions with about one to 70. Between 2000 and last year, Guthrie says, the staff-to-student ratio significantly increased. Staff numbers have not kept up.
“All these efficiency measures would impact the student experience and would then be reflected in the evaluations of academics by students,” he says. “That’s the only evaluation on offer.”
Southern Cross University’s Alessandro Pelizzon, of lobby group Academics for Public Universities, argues there should be a comprehensive analysis of the skills of the people who make up university councils. He asks: how many have the expertise to run a university?
As Guthrie points out, there is little public evaluation of senior university executives including vice-chancellors, a shame for both students and the academics who teach them.”
Read the whole article by Jenna Price in the Sydney Morning Herald here.