Like many (if not most) Australian universities, the University of Tasmania is a multi-campus university. That is, the University of Tasmania is one university operating on several sites. While its main campuses are at Newnham and Sandy Bay, it also has several other Hobart and Launceston sites as well as a significant (and growing) operation in Burnie.
We also have significant (and growing) student numbers taught by the University of Tasmania at various off-shore campuses.
To add further complexity, our flexible teaching and learning developments mean that students will increasingly have more flexibility in their studies and be less tied to a single campus. If attendance requirements and teaching approaches are flexible, there is no reason why students who live some distance away from a campus cannot study units offered at that campus as long as they are able to meet the unit/course requirements.
Being multi-campus must, therefore, be an important factor in how we plan and carry out our teaching and learning activities as well as all of the services that support teaching and learning. We need to make sure that being a multi-campus university is working effectively. We need a mind-set that being a multi-campus university is an opportunity and a positive attribute, rather than an add-on, an inconvenience or a problem.
If we do not take this approach, there is potential for a negative impact on the quality of our teaching and learning.
In terms of standards and consistency of teaching and learning, a multi-campus university has some specific issues that must be addressed. This paper deals specifically with these issues of standards and consistency, rather than focusing on particular teaching and learning approaches most suitable for multi-campus contexts.
Within this multi-campus context, our guiding principle must be to ensure that all students and staff are treated equitably.
We need to define what it means in practice to treat our students and staff equitably, regardless of the campus at which they are located. In terms of teaching and learning, we also need to ensure that standards are equivalent at each of our campuses.
Ensuring equity and ensuring equivalence of standards does not necessarily mean that all students at each campus have to be treated identically or that all programs at every campus have to be identical. Nor does it mean that all programs will be offered at every campus. However, it does mean that students must expect intended outcomes that are equivalent (not necessarily the same) regardless of the campus at which they are located. There is an expectation that standards of our courses are equivalent, regardless of the campus at which a particular course or unit is taught.
It is essential that students do not feel like ‘second class citizens’ because of the campus at which they are located.
That is, in a teaching and learning context, treating students equitably is not about treating them identically but about ensuring intended outcomes are equivalent.
How might we do this in practice?
At the course level:
At the unit level:
At the School level:
Approved by University Council 21 May 2004
Authorised by the Director, Governance & Legal
18 February, 2010