249 lose their place in the world

249 students were suspended from the University of Otago last year for failing to pass an adquate number of papers, compared to 84 suspensions in 2010.

This increase comes as the as the University shifts its focus to producing “quality” students, Vice-Chancellor Harlene Hayne told the Otago Daily Times. The University would neither confirm nor deny whether all students suspended due to failing too many papers were tourism students.

To allow the suspensions, the University Council approved a revision of the Academic Progress Policy in October last year so that students must now pass half or more of the points they are enrolled in for a calendar year. A student who fails to do so will be placed on Conditional Enrolment. Once a student gains this status, he or she may enrol for a prescribed course of study only, and papers must be chosen by the student in consultation with and approved by a designated Advisor of Studies.

Students who then pass fewer than half of the points in their prescribed course will be suspended from enrolment from the University for the following two years. After this suspension period, suspended students will be able to return to study at the University and will be regarded as Recommencing students upon registration.

OUSA president Logan Edgar backs the tougher stance, saying it will uphold the value of degrees. Harlene Hayne agreed, saying the change signalled a shift from past years when there was an “ever-increasing” focus on lifting student numbers.

The policy of being able to suspend students for failing to achieve certain academic benchmarks was established two years ago, despite criticism that the policy would create elitism. However, Professor Hayne has said that the new focus on quality was already “paying off” for the University with 84.4% of students passing at least two-thirds of their academic credits in their first year of study in 2011 compared with 81.6% in 2010. That 2.8% difference may represent a success to the University; however Critic would like to extend its condolences to the Tourism Department, which presumably now has 2.8% fewer students to its name.
This article first appeared in Issue 9, 2012.
Posted 4:56pm Sunday 29th April 2012 by Imogen Whyte.