Students around the world still sing Gaudeamus igitus (so let us rejoice) with Latin roots back to 1287: “While we are still young, after a pleasant youth, after a troubling youth, the earth will have us.” University students are universally known for revelry during and on completion of their studies. Increasingly they ask for something more: ‘what’s in it for me?’ A graduation certificate and the promise of employment is no longer enough.
Students want to be looked after in a caring, pastoral manner - wellbeing. Not surprisingly interest has grown in health and wellbeing as a key indicator of university quality. Students even want to actively collaborate on quality assurance processes. Will the collective voice of students be enough to make a difference and raise quality? Or will student power be silenced by other competing or mandated measures of university quality? Once they might have been the main clients of a university, but today communities, industries and the government demand the ear of the university, along with evidence of global recognition and ranking.
Universities around the world have indeed invested in quality assurance processes to meet national and international accreditation. It is increasingly a mandatory process for all degree programmes and repeated every 4-5 years. One of the most important steps is consultation with students, both past and present. Appointed external reviewers interview a sample of students, asking them for their opinion on university programs and services. Students who have had a good experience will speak candidly, while others will be more hesitant and consider if it is wise to share their dissatisfaction. With limited experience of other universities many students are not well-equipped to make comparative judgements on quality.
The webinar will discuss the need for a new quality agenda in Higher Education
Victoria University of Wellington, NZ
New Zealand, Wellington
Prof., Dr. Ebba Ossiannilsson