Poor marks for SCU

SOUTHERN Cross University has received mixed reviews in the 2012 Good Universities Guide, published this week.

The guide awarded SCU the maximum five stars for entry flexibility and indigenous participation and four stars for generic skills – results vice-chancellor Professor Peter Lee said were a pleasing index “of the university’s strong focus on flexible learning options and a rich learning experience”.

“We are delighted to receive the four stars for generic skills, which is evidence of our commitment to provide students with a strong educational grounding across all disciplines,” Professor Lee said.

The four stars awarded for the proportion of students given credit for TAFE studies reflected the university’s strong commitment to providing a range of pathways into study, he said.

However, SCU performed poorly in other sections of the guide, especially regarding full-time employment for its graduates, their starting salaries and “positive graduate outcomes”, where it bumped along the bottom of the State’s universities.

Professor Lee defended SCU, saying the situation was the result of “geographic location and student profile”.

“The ratings are based only on the salaries of graduates aged 25 years and under who are in their first full-time job,” he said. “We have a very high proportion of students aged over 25, who are not captured in these ratings.”

Graduate outcomes were also related to job opportunities in the North Coast region, Professor Lee said, “which are quite different to those in metropolitan areas and regions closer to capital cities”.

The university received just one star for its staff-student ratio, and two for all graduates’ assessments of the teaching quality and their overall satisfaction.

However, education data manager at the guide’s publisher, Ross White, said: “Law graduates rated teaching quality at SCU among the top 25% for all law graduates nationally. Similarly tourism graduates from SCU are among the most employed for graduates of their type nationally, stronger than UNSW.”

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