University of Adelaide Newsroom | 3 December 2012
The University of Adelaide’s new 10-year strategic plan Beacon of Enlightenment signals what the university describes as a “fundamental paradigm shift towards smaller classes, and delivering a premium student experience”.
In launching the plan vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington committed the university to “transformation rather than growth” and pointed to the alternative drift towards massive enrolments and `dumbed-down’ content over the past 20 years in Australian and UK universities and the subsequent risk to quality higher education.
The ideal of the modern university, the union of teaching and research has been lost. The highlight was individual discovery, but research is now almost absent from undergraduate courses.
Under the Plan, from 2013 every University of Adelaide course will move towards “small-group discovery,” in which all students will gain skills of analysis, criticism, expert search and written communications essential to independent enquiry.
For the highest-achieving students, every Faculty will offer an Advanced Bachelor program, featuring independent research work from the start.
The univesity will also treble expenditure on digital and online learning support, which it says all students now expect.
Where content can be delivered online with pedagogic integrity, it will be. [But] Adelaide will remain a campus university, for the scholarship of discovery involves personalised learning which happen best face-to-face.
Other aspects of the plan provide for a massive increase in work experience and in study abroad, with all students expected to take at least one of these. Travel grants will be introduced to help with the costs of going abroad, to “prepare students for global citizenship in a near border less world”.
There is a groundswell of support for having at least one Group of Eight university abandon endless growth and return to the teaching/research ideal of the modern university.