University of Newcastle graduates rate UON top 10 in Australia

9 July 2014

Graduates have rated University of Newcastle teachers among the nation’s best, placing them in the top 10 universities for teaching in an official national student survey.
In the 2013 Course Experience Questionnaire UON has achieved for the first time a top 10 rating for all three core scales: good teaching, overall student satisfaction and generic skills.

University of Newcastle Law School
University of Newcastle, New South Wales

University of Newcastle Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Professor Bill Hogarth, said UON’s performance in the CEQ was strong evidence students had responded positively to the proactive approach undertaken by the university to improve the student experience.
“The university established the Student Experience and Engagement Working Party (SEEWP), across all divisions and faculties, and we listened to our students on what mattered most to them. Through this working party a set of strategies was developed to address concerns and implement improvements and solutions across our campuses.”
Major improvements implemented through the SEEWP include vibrant social learning spaces, wireless internet access roll-out, bike hubs, improved lighting, and new signage at Callaghan. Other improvements include increased service from the shuttle bus, ‘help points’ at various campus locations to connect students with security officers, digital screens in communal areas to communicate messages and ‘self-service stations’ that include microwaves, kettles and water fountains.
“We wanted to make our students feel valued and like they were ‘at home’ when they were on campus,” Chair of the SEEWP Party Professor Hogarth said.
Initiatives such as Teaching Champions, who work with faculties to improve the quality and performance of courses, programs and teaching, has also contributed to reinforcing a ‘student-focused’ culture, Professor Hogarth said.
The 2013 CEQ, which placed the University of Newcastle in the top 10 for all three core scales, measured students’ experience of their program using the Overall Satisfaction Index, the Good Teaching Scale and the Generic Skills Scale:

  • Overall Satisfaction Index: 84 per cent of graduates indicated an overall satisfaction with their program.
  • Good Teaching Scale: 70 per cent of UON graduates agreed teaching staff motivated them to their best work, were extremely good at explaining things, put a lot of time into commenting on their work, worked hard to make their subjects interesting, and made a real effort to understand the difficulties they might be having with their work.
  • Generic Skills Scale: 83 per cent of students agree their program helped them develop their ability to work as team members, sharpened their analytical skills, developed their problem-solving skills, improved their written communication skills, and increased their confidence in tackling unfamiliar problems.

“Our students are amongst the best in the sector regarding their confidence to apply the skills learned during their program to real-world scenarios,” Professor Hogarth said.
The CEQ, along with the Graduate Destination Survey, are two components of the Australian Graduate Survey (AGS)—the official national survey of activities of graduates who have recently completed their qualification.
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