So what are you expecting of your university?

This is the time of year when thousands of young people prepare to go to university for the first time; and of course many mature adults are also taking this step. But what are they expecting to find there, and what do they hope that their studies will secure for them?

The UK version of the Huffington Post website carries a piece setting out some common misconceptions of university life; in particular the assumption that it’s all about fun, friends and partying. Most students already know this before they come – they are more likely to be focused on the added value they will get in the labour market.

I am pleased to lead the university that has the best record in the UK for graduate employment, but it doesn’t work like that for all institutions. Australian universities, as we have just been told, are much less successful in this regard: in a number of universities and in some subjects fewer than one-third of graduates have been able to secure jobs within four months of graduating. But even in elite Australian universities and in traditional or mainstream subjects (like law) over a quarter of Australian graduates may be without a job (where in my university it would be fewer than 3 per cent).

Does this matter? Is it the role of a university education to secure access to employment? As universities develop new strategies, harness technology, move into new interdisciplinary courses and enter into partnerships and alliances it will be important to have a clear concept of what students should be able to expect from their studies. This may of course not be the same for all institutions; but it is unlikely that students generally will regard employability as an irrelevance.

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2 Comments on “So what are you expecting of your university?”

  1. Anna Notaro Says:

    Lack of comments on this post to be taken as lack of students’ expectations? (or too many to enumerate)
    Wonder it the post was about staff’s expectations instead…

  2. Victor Says:

    I am a bit concerned about this brand image and reputation that RGU communicates to potential students, especially international students from Nigeria and other African countries. Emphasis on Nigeria because, my Masters dissertation is studying the influence of the University’s brand image and reputation on the decision-making process of students from this country.
    From the interviews I have conducted so far, majority of respondents are of the view that the brand attribute of being the best university with a high graduate employment rate does not reflect the internationalization drive of the university. While all agree that this brand attribute was very critical in their decision to choose the university during the evaluation of alternatives stage of the decision process, they also agree that this attribute does not apply to international students beyond the shores of the UK, This is because the number of unemployed graduates of the universities in Nigeria is relatively high. It is even now more obvious from the present visa policies that only a handful of international students will find it more difficult to find jobs in the United Kingdom as the closure of the post-study route now makes it more difficult to track the employment journey of these students.
    The question arises as to what the university is doing to track the career path of international students when they graduate and return to their home countries?

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