Media Release – Tuesday 24 September 2013
Student Voice under a National Spotlight
New Zealand’s national body for students, the NZ Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA), is taking its ‘Nothing About Students, Without Students’ campaign to educational leaders in the university and polytechnic sectors today in Auckland.
Dr Alistair Shaw, NZUSA’s executive director, will be presenting the findings of new research to a national conference that points to a weak student voice being a factor in weakening the ability of tertiary education institutions to operate at their best.
“The theme of the conference is student recruitment, engagement and retention but institutions are beginning to realise that the outcomes they are seeking are compromised without a strong student voice on campuses to maintain and improve quality,” says Dr Shaw.
“Working with Ako Aotearoa, the national centre for tertiary teaching excellence, our research has held up a mirror that shows a real need for institutions to follow indicators of good practice that are centred on hearing and heeding the student voice.
“We believe that institutions that don’t listen or that don’t engage fully with students eventually undermine the quality of what they can deliver. Creating a better environment for students - with more direct input from students - could also be key to turning around the decline in international students coming to New Zealand, as being discussed at the conference.
“For its part NZUSA has responded to a vacuum of student representation across the sector by new initiatives such as a nationwide network of Learner Advisory Panels to be announced in October, at the same time as carrying out a first-ever national survey of class and course representatives.
In addition to today’s event NZUSA President Pete Hodkinson was a guest speaker at a learning and teaching forum at AUT University last week to present the Student Voice research and to contribute to a panel discussion on engaging the student voice chaired by Associate Professor Angela Carbone of Australia’s Monash University.
Campaign and research details are available at http://students.org.nz/student-voice-campaign/