From the Vice-Chancellor: Making an impact
Universities should be measured by their contribution to society.
Equally, the programs they offer should be measured by student demand and community need. Designing an undergraduate curriculum that is relevant to the community it serves and is based on meaningful career opportunities is critical.
The University of Adelaide's undergraduate structure offers the diversity that students want with the flexibility that they need to get the most from their studies.
Today's students are making choices earlier, about higher education and future career opportunities. We see this across each of our faculties at the University of Adelaide. In Sciences, we have a number of specialised programs - everything from space science and astrophysics to marine biology, all under the umbrella of a Bachelor of Science degree. Undergraduate students are spoilt for choice and are encouraged to pursue a study program that feeds their aspirations and challenges them intellectually.
Our experience is that they don't want to waste any time. They are hungry to learn and specialisation is appealing from the outset.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent times regarding different approaches to undergraduate study. For a research intensive University such as ours, with ready access to internationally recognised academic staff, students benefit enormously from the integration of teaching and research.
This supports the variety of undergraduate programs on offer and provides a clear progression to postgraduate courses.
In contrast, the Melbourne Model, like the American college system, gives students a foundation-style learning experience. This style of education delivery may be of particular benefit to students who are yet to decide what career pathway they should take.
Regardless of the model, we need to offer our students opportunities to move forward with a genuine sense of intent. We don't want them to step backwards.
Many of our undergraduate degrees already share common areas of study. There is plenty of room for exploration with flexible study loads in each course area. Students can change direction mid-degree, confident that their foundation skills are being firmly instilled along the way.
The value and impact of our curriculum is an area that we take very seriously. We review our undergraduate courses constantly as part of our commitment to staying relevant to both students and employers.
As always, the proof is in the results - the number of students we attract at the start of their university study and, more importantly, their employability and contribution to society following graduation. Each year, we are increasing our student enrolment by around 1000 or the equivalent intake of an average high school. Strategic student growth is keeping the University strong and vibrant and is well supported by a focussed curriculum that prepares our students for great achievement.
PROFESSOR JAMES A. McWHA
Vice-Chancellor and President