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Listening to the student voice

by Michèle Nardelli

Tuning in: Vice Chancellor Peter Høj wants to encourage student dialogueGetting to know students and listening to their views on study, employment, careers and issues surrounding higher education is important to Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Høj.

"I spent many years as a student at university, so I know through experience how common it is for students to have no idea who their Vice Chancellor is or to understand the structure of the institution," Prof Høj said.

"I would like that to be a bit different at UniSA. Universities are such large institutions, it is not always easy to tap into the student experience – but it is absolutely imperative because students are our clients, and ensuring they have a good experience is our core business.

"I am hoping to keep meeting students and talking to them about their studies - what they are enjoying, what we might do differently and how we can better prepare them for their careers.

"A good university will encourage this kind of dialogue between all staff and students."

So far Prof Høj said the feedback had been good.

"I think we are already very engaged with our students and that’s important. I do think local students feel UniSA is modern and accessible."

Last month the Vice Chancellor met hundreds of UniSA students who have never actually set foot on an Australian campus, when attending graduations in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

"It was a fabulous trip. It really emphasised to me how important our relationships with overseas students, graduates and partner educators are. Through these international networks and the cultural understanding they promote, we can help to make a real difference in the world," he said.

Back in Adelaide, Prof Høj is encouraging potential students to come and get a taste of UniSA at Open Day on August 26.

"Open Day is an important opportunity for high school students, professionals and others wanting to return to study, to further investigate their options. It gives them a chance to speak face-to-face with experts in their fields of interest," he said.

"It is the one day of the year where it is all about you and your career – where everyone is there to help you.

"I am hoping we’ll have a full house."

More information about Open Day 2007.