Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Meeting the needs of part-time research students

McCulloch and Stokes (2008) address a neglected issue: the needs of part time research students in a brief and readable 37 page booklet (one of the SRHE Guides on postgraduate issues). As well as the needs of part time students, the authors address the different motivations of these students, which effect what type of program they need.

However, in my view the whole view of university needs to be "flipped", from one where an on-campus full time student is considered normal, with special allowances made for others. The assumption should be that the average student is part time and off campus most of the time with  work and family commitments.

This would be much like the change of approach for disabled access on campus. It is no longer acceptable to assume that students with a disability are an exception who can be catered for on a case by case basis: disabled access must be planned for in advance and failing to do so is unlawful.

Similarly universities can't honestly claim special efforts to be inclusive, when the standard programs exclude most of the population.

ps: Unfortunately, I could not find the booklet online and got a paper copy from the University of Canberra Library (also at La Trobe University).


McCulloch, Alistair & Stokes, Peter. Silent majority & Gough, Martin Dr & Society for Research into Higher Education (2008). The silent majority : meeting the needs of part-time research students. Society for Research into Higher Education, London

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