Commendations mark successful introduction of unit monitoring

Published 01 June 2010

gwThe University of New England, which has an unrivalled record for the consistently high level of satisfaction that graduates report of their overall educational experience, has begun the systematic monitoring of its students’ satisfaction with individual units of study.

“This is a significant step forward for the University,” said UNE’s Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic, Professor Graham Webb, at a function last week to mark the successful completion of the University’s first round of unit monitoring. Professor Webb explained that UNE was one of the few Australian universities to have implemented a consistent, university-wide process for unit monitoring, including a systematic follow-up of units experiencing problems as well as a celebration of high-performing units.

During the function, Professor Webb (pictured here) presented Certificates of Commendation to staff members involved in the delivery of units that had achieved not only very high satisfaction ratings from students but also low attrition.

Tonight we are celebrating the best of the best,” he said. “The 58 units receiving commendations scored 4.5 or more out of 5 for overall student satisfaction – a high benchmark indeed. And the average score across all units was just below 4, which says a lot about the experience students can expect at UNE.”

“Based on the data, only 14 units across the University have been asked to undertake further investigation and provide action plans,” Professor Webb said, “although all unit providers consider the data and how they can be used to help improvement. The open-ended comments that students provide in their evaluations are the starting point for subsequent investigation and improvement, and the fact that we are getting a response of over 40 per cent to unit surveys means that the data are reliable and extremely helpful.”

Referring to the unmatched consistency of UNE’s “five-star” rating for “graduate satisfaction” at course level in the annual Good Universities Guide, Professor Webb said: “Now, with unit monitoring in place, we can see how those overall ratings are achieved and celebrate outstanding performance at unit level.”

The Vice-Chancellor of UNE, Professor Jim Barber, who attended the presentation ceremony, thanked those present, saying: “It’s from our teaching staff that we derive our reputation.” Professor Barber also noted that all areas of the University were represented in the awards – pointing to the high quality of teaching across the campus.

Clicking on the image (above) of Professor Graham Webb speaking at last week’s function reveals a photograph of Professor Webb presenting Therese Burton, Lecturer in Japanese, with Certificates of Commendation for the delivery of three high-performing units.