By Katerina Christofides:
Western Sydney University has recently undertaken a whirlwind of change with the rebranding and massive advertising campaigns to drive students to the university, amidst controversy. As a current student, one may be inclined to question whether the massive change in dynamics is truly for the benefit of students.
The recent sale of land at both Campbelltown and Hawkesbury campuses to developers and to Hurlstone Agricultural High School have generated millions of dollars for the University, and conveniently paid for the rebranding. But most current students are questioning what’s in it for them. No massive undertaking to improve the university for current students has been seen yet.
The Parramatta student kitchenette and the campus life hub room are atrocious and desperately need renovation as they are plain inadequate. Hawkesbury’s new room for the academy students is a tiny little dingy room with no real facilities in comparison to the Parramatta one. There is no gym or parking at Parramatta south, even with a $300-a-year parking permit. Science facilities at Parramatta North are a joke and look like they predate World War II. Yes, I realise they are building new labs at south campus, but for a current student, it’s useless if right now there is no proper study room, non-existent Wi-Fi, and the only printer and computer on north campus never work, are not hooked up, or are always out of paper.
It’s concerning as a current student to see all the fresh first year enrolments get free ipads and computers worth thousands, when we missed out on those perks and are not given anything as a “reward” by the University in second and third year for not dropping out, and continually making them money. What would genuinely make the University more appealing for students to join, rather than fancy ads and promos, is offering a more diverse selection of units that get students excited, and that directly correlate with career outcomes and skills required by the workforce.
It’s silly that a medical science student with a major in anatomy and physiology at the end of the degree are not taught to undertake a simple dissection, vital to a career as an anatomist. It’s silly that many science courses have research projects as an elective and not embedded, or any work experience for that matter. It’s unappealing that diagnostic radiography isn’t offered as a course, even with the fantastic facilities available at Campbelltown. It’s disappointing that there is so little flexibility in the delivery options and scheduling for many science units, very few are online, many lectures are compulsory, and very little utilization of the p.a system intentionally by lecturers rendering echo centre useless. There are many things the university can improve to attract students that look beyond a name, and look for a value added education that leaves them work ready.