Commit to never having 3 compulsory teaching periods at UTS and to supporting staff with the shortened semesters in 2016.
This petition had 667 supporters
This petition is calling on the UTS Vice-Chancellor to publicly commit against ever moving UTS to Three Compulsory Teaching Periods per year and to help support staff with the drastically shortened semesters in 2016 and their increased workload.
What do you need to know?
UTS will be introducing a new academic year in 2016 that will be called balanced semesters. This involves a shorter 12 week semester and an extended summer session, in an effort to encourage more students to enrol in three teaching periods per year. The university has said that they are wanting to do this to bring UTS “into line with other Australian Universities”, despite the fact that only a hand full of Universities actually have this in place and other universities in Sydney like UNSW and the University of Sydney don’t have it at all. While the Summer Session isn’t compulsory for the next two years, there are concerns that the new balanced semester model is just a stepping stone to three compulsory teaching periods or trimesters. Universities that have the trimester model have expressed their concerns, such as at Melbourne’s Deakin University, of which staff member Dr Kellie Saville has said:“The proposed change to 3 ten-week trimesters within one calendar year threatens educational quality, curriculum delivery and time for student reflection and absorption of material.”
To make matters worse, around two thirds of all our staff at UTS are employed on a casual basis, which means staff are only paid for the hours they are required to work. This is the reason why staff are sometimes slow to reply to emails, hard to meet with outside of class times and why there is often a delay between completing an assessment and receiving your marks. It’s reasonable to say that these issues are only going to get worse if staff have to do more work in less time for the same amount of pay.
So what are some of the good points about this new model?
Opportunity to complete your degree faster
Opportunity to retake subjects that you may have failed in the past year.
But what are some of the bad points?
Extra stress on student services
Extra stress on casual staff, and staff in general
Course content needs to be condensed and this means either more work for students or a decrease in content.
IF all three sessions were to be made compulsory then students who don’t enrol in all three would be counted as part-time students and will not be eligible for travel concession or the appropriate Centrelink payments
IF all three sessions were to be made compulsory then students wouldn’t have the opportunity over the summer break to help support themselves, as 2 out of 3 students in Australia live below the poverty line.
So what should we do about it?
The UTS Education Action Group is starting the Three Semesters, Triple the Problems campaign to help address the growing concerns among students at UTS about the changes to the academic calendar.
The campaign has two aims:
1. To campaign to have our Vice-Chancellor, Attila Brungs, commit to never making the summer session compulsory and only have two mandatory semesters each academic year.
2. To campaign to have our Vice-Chancellor recognise the impact condensing courses will have on casual staff at UTS, and to have casual staff accessible out of hours for students.
How do I get involved?
Sign our petition! Head down to the UTS Students Association on level 3 in building 1 or visit one of our stalls on campus!
If you want to help out on the campaign, head to the UTS Education Action Group’s Facebook page at http://on.fb.me/1I2vs7I. Or come to one of our meetings which are held at 6pm every Tuesday at the UTS Concourse.
UTS Students, Staff and Community Members are all welcome to sign this petition to show that we want to keep the third teaching period optional and to help support our staff and students.
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