Between October and December 2015, an extensive consultation process on the Student Strategy Green Paper was completed to capture perspectives across the University’s primary stakeholder groups. Engagement with the consultation activities was positively received and it was particularly gratifying to note the university-wide flow of responses. Thank you for your participation and commitment to this vital consultation process. 

Data collection

Between October and December 2015, the UQ Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation (ITaLI) facilitated a consultation process on the Green Paper designed to capture perspectives across the University’s primary stakeholder groups.

The consultation activities included:

  1. UQ Student Strategy Consultation Survey (the Student Survey): an online survey administered 9 November to 4 December 2015 with 7,005 student respondents, representing an 18% response rate (AAPOR RR2) across the student population.
  2. Leadership Meetings: direct engagement with UQ Staff (Senior Leadership), namely interviews with leaders of UQ faculties and institutes (n=11) and discussions at selected board and committee meetings in October and November 2015 (n=7).
  3. Unit Submissions: invited written submissions prepared by UQ organisational units between 22 October and 11 December 2015 (n=54).
  4. Roundtable Event: an engagement activity designed by ITaLI to facilitate group discussion with participants from across all UQ stakeholder groups (n=75), held on 17 November 2015.
  5. Open Online Forum: an unmoderated online platform for stakeholder feedback via written responses submitted using a template form between 22 October and 11 December 2015 (n=110).

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) was responsible for the analysis, synthesis and reporting of data collected through the consultation process. ISSR organised the consultation outcomes into groups to represent three key stakeholder voices:

  • UQ Student Voice: identified from the Student Survey results, the Roundtable Event and the Open Online Forum
  • UQ Staff Voice: identified from the Leadership Meetings, the Unit Submissions, the Roundtable Event, and the Open Online Forum
  • UQ Community Voice: identified from the Roundtable Event and the Open Online Forum.

The results are most relevant for the purpose of:

  • Rationalising the Challenges that will inform development of the UQ Student Strategy
  • Identifying Strategies that have most resonance and meaning for UQ stakeholders.

Reports

The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) has developed the following reports based on quantitative and qualitative data gathered by UQ’s Institute for Teaching & Learning Innovation (ITaLI) and provided to UQ’s Institute for Social Science Research for analysis. For detailed information on the data analysis process and consultation activity outcomes, please refer to the ISSR Comprehensive Report:

  1. ISSR Comprehensive Report PDF
  2. ISSR Summary Report PDF

The following chapters from the comprehensive report are available for individual download below:

  1. Student Survey Chapter PDF
  2. UQ Leadership Chapter PDF
  3. Unit Submissions Chapter PDF
  4. Roundtable Chapter PDF
  5. Open Online Form Chapter PDF

The UQ Planning and Management office have developed a suite of online business objects reports in the Reportal from the data obtained through the Student Survey consultation. The reports have been developed to address 8 different focus areas and provide analysis by student type (international, domestic, undergraduate, postgraduate) and faculty (the faculty owning the student’s program). They also provide the opportunity to filter the reports by various demographics such as age, gender, attendance type and paid work status.

  1. Flexibility
  2. Support Services
  3. Choice & Community
  4. Access to Information
  5. Campus Experience
  6. Programs & Courses
  7. Teaching & Assessment
  8. Employability

Report Access

These reports can be accessed through the Reportal and are available to all staff.

If you are unfamiliar with how to use business objects reports or need some help you can contact Belinda, David or Natalia in the MIS user support team on extension 52595 or via email at mis-helpdesk@uq.edu.au . MIS also offer regular business objects training and publish a series of training documents on the Reportal.

If you are an experienced reportal user/analyst and wish to create your own reports (or modify the ones that have been published) please contact the MIS user support team for access to the underlying universe.

If you have any specific questions about the reports (or suggestions) please contact Ashley Perkins in the Planning Office on a.perkins@uq.edu.au . We would appreciate any feedback as some adjustments can be made if they don’t quite meet the key user needs.

Report Briefings

A short briefing session has been scheduled to provide an overview on the suite of student strategy reports. If you wish to attend this session, please register your attendance via the following event registration:

Top line messages

The UQ Student Strategy is viewed by stakeholders as a significant positioning document for the University, with flow-on opportunities and impacts for its key stakeholder groups – UQ Students, UQ Staff, and the UQ Community.

The top-line messages from the consultation on the Green Paper relate to:

  • The importance of enhancing employability for UQ students
  • The role of online learning as a campus complement
  • The student appetite for flexible learning options
  • The need for appropriate resourcing to take the UQ Student Strategy forward.

Stakeholders urge the University to continue to utilise evidence-based decision-making and stakeholder engagement in the subsequent development of the UQ Student Strategy in the forthcoming White Paper. They encourage UQ to consider the interaction of the UQ Student Strategy with internal and external factors that will impact on its implementation.

Across the consultation activities, they also reported positive feedback on a range of aspects relating to the current UQ student experience, which suggests the UQ Student Strategy might look to build on existing strengths in the University environment.

The findings of the Green Paper consultation process are wide-ranging, and this is indicative of the University’s inherently diverse stakeholders. The top-line messages in this section are not exhaustive, and further detail is provided in Chapter 3 with regard to stakeholder responses on each of the Challenges and Strategies in the Green Paper. Full analysis on the consultation outcomes is documented in Chapters 4-8 of thireport.

The importance of enhancing employability

There is consistent and considerable support from all stakeholder groups in relation to the importance of delivering a UQ student experience explicitly designed to enhance graduates’ employability in an ever-changing world.

The results of the Student Survey suggest UQ students are motivated to attend university by the view that their tertiary education will translate into improved future employment career prospects. Industry-based extension experiences and support services designed to improve job prospects are most highly valued by UQ students, and a substantial minority of UQ students (42%, n=2,756) do not agree they are learning the skills and knowledge they need to help them adapt in a changing employment market.

UQ stakeholders identify Work-Integrated Learning (WIL) Partnerships as a high priority activity that should be advanced through the development of the UQ Student Strategy. The consultation outcomes also identified the potential contribution of UQ alumni as a resource to enhance student employability, such as by identifying and offering work placements. Two-thirds of students who participated in the Student Survey (67%, n=4,549) would like access to a UQ alumni mentor.

The role of online learning as campus complement

Online learning is an accepted and appreciated characteristic of the contemporary higher education environment, according to the results of the Green Paper consultation process.

The Student Survey results underscore student interest in online educational resources to complement campus-based learning:

  • 70% of respondents (n=4,278) would take advantage of courses designed as a mix of online lectures and interactive classes on campus
  • 38% (n=2,319) would take advantage of a course that was wholly online
  • 57% (n=3,457) are interested in using online learning modules that can be completed at their own pace.

From a teaching and learning perspective, stakeholders made repeated observations that while online learning offers flexible study options for UQ students, active and face-to-face learning remain important aspects of the student experience. Across the consultation activities, they note that UQ needs to find the correct balance between offering online learning options alongside active learning and engagement opportunities with teaching staff and their student peers.

Moreover, the on-campus environment remains important to UQ students, with the physical experience integral to their learning experience. The Student Survey results found that student engagement with UQ campuses is primarily learning-focused, and UQ students indicate they would spend more time on campus if facilities and services better supported their studies (e.g. more study spaces, 24/7 access, and cheaper and more diverse food and drink options).

It follows that striking the appropriate balance between increased online learning opportunities for students with on-campus engagement is a fitting challenge for the UQ Student Strategy.

The student appetite for flexible learning options

Flexibility is not just about online learning, and UQ students value a range of delivery options to enhance flexibility in their educational experiences.

In addition to online learning options, the Student Survey explored the response of students to other key Green Paper Strategies designed to deliver flexible learning:

  • Just over half of students (n=56%, n=3,402) are interested in intensive courses run over a short time period to accelerate learning
  • One-third of students (32%, n=1,961) are interested in night classes held after 6.00 pm
  • Around one-quarter (24%, n=1,441) would be likely to attend weekend classes
  • 61% (n=3,580) would be likely to take a course where there was an opportunity for upfront tests for credit.

There are wide-ranging strategies UQ can apply to better meet the needs of a diverse student cohort. A related challenge for the UQ Student Strategy, however, is how to balance the student appetite for flexible learning with the pragmatic reality of implementation. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to flexible learning - best practice pedagogies vary by discipline, and the availability of delivery modes is necessarily dependent upon staff capabilities and implementation support. Flexible learning emerges as an underpinning principle for the development of the UQ Student Strategy, with the specifics of implementation to be carefully managed.

The need for appropriate resourcing

There was broad stakeholder support for the direction of the UQ Student Strategy as outlined in the Green Paper, but this support is subject to appropriate resourcing of its implementation.

Resourcing the UQ Student Strategy was a concern of UQ staff predominantly, but it was consistently and strongly expressed, thereby warranting its inclusion as a top-line message.

Appropriate resourcing is seen as critical to the success of any UQ Student Strategy, and this was variously expressed by staff across the consultation activities. Some of the Strategies in the Green Paper are geared towards building staff capacity and resources in order to achieve both efficiencies and improvements in teaching and learning; for example, Learning Analytics and investing in New Staff Capabilities. UQ Staff generally seem to appreciate this intent but also draw attention to the front-end investment required to achieve the vision in the Green Paper and caution against undermining its efficacy through inadequate funding and implementation support.

Moreover, there is an inherent tension in UQ staff comments that advocate for central coordination and oversight of the UQ Student Strategy whilst ensuring faculties and institutes have the flexibility to undertake implementation in ways most appropriate to their disciplines and student cohorts. This is an overarching challenge for the UQ Student Strategy in both development and implementation.

ISSR Comprehensive Report PDF

Campus forums

During O-Week of Semester 1, 2016 we completed a UQ Student Strategy roadshow led by Professor Joanne Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic). We visited the Gatton, Herston and St Lucia campuses in order to:

  • Communicate the high level findings from the Green Paper consultation activities;
  • Introduce the strategic views and emerging themes from UQ stakeholders;
  • Engage with staff on the future direction of the Student Strategy.

These forums were well attended with close to 300 event registrations. Thank you to each of you who attended a forum. We received insightful and supportive engagement from the broader UQ community and collective agreement as to the strategic priorities for UQ moving forward.

A recording of the St Lucia campus forum presentation is available here.

You will need your UQ log-in details to access this presentation. The recording is not compatible with the web browser Internet Explorer. Please use Firefox, Chrome or Safari to view the stream.

You can also download the presentation slides below. Please use the PDF version for print-outs.