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Ranee Cornell

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Ranee Cornell

  1. 1. When Universities Challenge the Student Experience The Student Advocates Perspective
  2. 2. Overview  What is student rights/advocacy?  Role of advocates  Which students seek advocacy?  Emerging issues from student rights perspective  When policy lets student and staff down  Duty of Care  Consumer satisfaction, expectations and rights
  3. 3. It’s all in the introduction “As a Student Rights Officer/Student Advocate:  I’m independent – employed by your student association. This allows me to give support and advice in the best interests of the student only, I have no responsibility to the university  Confidential – I have no shared access to records with your university”
  4. 4. Why students seek advocacy
  5. 5. Why students seek advocacy  Academic Progress:  Early intervention (Early Warning Letters)  Notices of Referral and Hearing – student responses  Attending Academic Progress Hearings  Appeals if excluded due to failure to make acceptable academic progress  Complaints/grievances  Discipline – general misconduct, academic misconduct (plagiarism, examination cheating)  Results disputes  General support – “I don’t know what to do”
  6. 6. Which students come for advocacy  Students struggling to identify appropriate action to deal with a situation that they are facing – i.e.. Who to speak to first, what to do if not satisfied with response  Students identified for behaviour management interventions  Students at risk of suspension or exclusion for failure to make academic progress or due to discipline issues  ‘I want to make a complaint’
  7. 7. Latest trends  University staff overstretched – Industrial action  APC processes previously administrated efficiently and with due care are now under-resourced with significant impact to student outcomes  Reduced access to feedback on results for students and reduced willingness of staff to provide feedback  Students stating that placements are not well coordinated and don’t feel adequately supported or prepared to go into the workforce  Removal of Student Unions – can student advocacy still be independent  International students with inadequate English skills level  Reduced access to on-campus counseling services  Reduced funding to Student Unions
  8. 8. When policies and procedures let students and staff down  Excessively limited appeal opportunities  Where students are not provided with adequate support to navigate University processes Case Study – Rose  Low SES students – too much rhetoric, not enough substance Case study: Kate
  9. 9. Duty of Care “the legal obligation to safeguard others from harm while they are in your care, using your services, or exposed to your activities”, www.colinsdictionary.com Where does this responsibility begin and end? Case study: Samantha Case study: Kevin
  10. 10. Customer Satisfaction “Universities are increasingly regarded as businesses and, like all other businesses that supply goods and services to 'consumers', it is no surprise that legislation such as the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) may apply to many of their activities….. The chief consumer guarantees in relation to services are as follows:  services supplied ... to a consumer will be rendered with due care and skill;  services supplied ... to a consumer will be reasonably fit for purpose if the consumer, expressly or impliedly, makes known to the supplier the particular purpose for acquiring the services;  services (or products resulting from the services) … to a consumer will achieve a result that the consumer makes known, expressly or impliedly…” Source: The Australian Consumer Law – another compliance obligation for universities?, http://www.minterellison.com/publications/australian-consumer-law- another-compliance-obligation-for-universities-HEF20130507/
  11. 11. Conclusion  Increasing numbers of low SES students entering, with knowledge that additional support will be required.  Is accessible access to counselling on campus an expendable service? At what cost to the student/consumer?  Moving into corporate/consumer model. Trying to do this well, however there are increasing constraints of funding, staff expectations and consumer expectations.  Student rights assist students with university grievance process around application of university policy and procedures. What happens when the student is not happy with the product?

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