ERIC Number: ED466720
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Aug-13
Reference Count: N/A
Signs of Disengagement? The Changing Undergraduate Experience in Australian Universities. Inaugural Professorial Lecture.
Anecdotal reports of students working more in paid employment and studying less have been coming from academics in Australia in recent years. Researchers there are seeing patterns of student disengagement and new forms of engagement to which institutions have not adapted. This paper explores the nature of the shift in forms of student engagement and what it means for universities. Previous research findings have suggested that younger college students who work part-time are likely to spend fewer days on campus, spend less time with other students, and study less consistently throughout the semester. Australia is not alone in these trends. Australian studies mirror those of substantial research from the United States that show a decline in the percentage of students who say that university has had an impact on their personal lives. Recent reports from the American Council on Education confirm the significant impact of paid work on study for U.S. students. The increase in student work is not the only cause of student disengagement. Young people today have a different perspective about their futures and the place of the university experience in their lives. It will be important for policy and practice to reconceptualize the undergraduate experience as a process of negotiated engagement rather than assuming that disengagement is an intractable problem and that students are to blame. A more sophisticated approach to structuring and delivering the curriculum is required. (Contains 12 references.) (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Melbourne Univ. (Australia). Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
Identifiers - Location: Australia