Torrens Unveils New Flexible Learning Mode

As Australia’s fastest growing university, Torrens is designing programs to attract students seeking a different study experience from traditional tertiary model.

Inaugural scholarships available at Torrens University Australia for January 2014 enrolments

As part of its preparation to enter the highly competitive higher education market, Torrens University Australia – Australia’s 40th comprehensive university and only the second to be established in Australia in 20 years – investigated conventional university teaching strategies and compared them to the key factors undergraduates are seeking – and found the traditional model was falling short against a number of key student satisfaction criteria.

With statistics pointing to significant drop-out rates, poor student-teacher relationships, lack of support and disappointing graduate salaries as a few of the issues concerning new university students; Torrens will deliver an innovative student-centric learning model firmly focused on meeting today’s students’ needs as well as ensuring their readiness for entry into an increasingly global marketplace.

As part of its commitment to making high quality education accessible to the widest possible range of students, Torrens will also be celebrating its inaugural year by extending full scholarships to all undergraduate students enrolling in its on-campus Bachelor of Commerce programs for 2014.

“Research predicts one in five students across a third of Australia’s universities will drop out of their course within the first year as a result of dissatisfaction with their course or institution, failure to cope with the demands of their course, and flawed decision-making when choosing the course in the first place, ” said Professor Fred McDougall, Vice-Chancellor and President of the University.

“The academic staff at Torrens is extremely excited to be entering the sector with a clean slate and an international perspective. We believe what we’ve devised will provide a unique learning experience and we can’t wait to share it with our inaugural student cohort in 2014, including those entering on either full or partial scholarship.”

Student engagement is one factor behind rising student disillusionment, with the Australian Council for Educational Research finding Australian students report far lower levels of engagement and involvement with academic staff than their peers in America, with the report’s authors concluding “that students in Australia are being short-changed by their universities”.

The fact there are almost twice as many university students per teacher now than a generation ago suggests that this could be contributing to the high dropout rate amongst first year university students, said Professor McDougall, with students at many Australian institutions receiving much less of their teachers’ time than in years gone by.

Part of Laureate International Universities – a leading network of over 75 accredited global institutions of higher education with more than 800,000 students in 30 countries and online – Torrens’ solution lies in delivering programs underpinned with a ‘ You First’ Commitment for students.

“Torrens’ “You First” commitment will be brought to life through guaranteed small class sizes to boost engagement and interactivity with academic staff, a hands on approach to teaching, and valuable real-world industry experience,” said Professor McDougall.

“Providing a global perspective to our programs is also a key focus, and all Torrens’ undergraduates will complete a full trimester of study at a Laureate education institution overseas with their entire cohort and tutor, with flights and tuition costs included as part of the overall program fee,” Professor McDougall added.

Another challenge facing undergraduates that Torrens is aiming to address as part of its program design is the speed at which undergraduate students can enter the workforce and start earning a salary.

“Torrens University Australia’s undergraduate students will study in 12-week trimesters instead of standard semesters, enabling a typical three-year Bachelor’s Degree program to be completed in just two years and entry to the workforce earlier,” explained Professor McDougall.

University support services have also come in for criticism in recent times, with a 2012 survey of 20,000 respondents across 24 universities revealing more than half of first-year undergraduate students were dissatisfied with their university support services. According to the survey , over 25 per cent of students said they received “little or no” support to settle in, 21 per cent felt little or “no sense of belonging”, while 10 per cent avoided university services altogether.

“Having the chance to build a university from the ground up is an incredibly exciting proposition – not just for Torrens’ management but for our first co-hort of students. These students will later become ambassadors for Torrens and we will be actively engaging them to help shape the future of the University on everything from induction programs and social clubs through to what facilities they would like to see in their recreation room – ensuring their on-campus experience is as rewarding as possible,” added Professor McDougall.

Securing well paid employment after completion of their degree remains a top priority for most students – especially as two-thirds of those working while studying report incomes below the poverty line, according to the 2013 University Student Finances report.

To give its students the greatest chance of employment and salary success post graduation, Torrens has designed its degree programs and coursework in line with the requirements of relevant professional bodies and in collaboration with policy makers, industry partners and academics to ensure the best possible outcomes for students and to ensure the skills they are learning are those most valued by prospective employers.

“The University’s Business and Community Advisory Committee and the advisory panels for each field of study – including key business leaders working and succeeding in each industry sector – will play an integral role in guiding program development to ensure our students are as ‘work ready’ as possible at the completion of their study program with Torrens,” added Professor McDougall.

To celebrate its inaugural intake, Torrens is offering a wide range of full and partial scholarships both for online and on-campus students across a number of programs. To apply, visit www.tua.edu.au or visit the University on Open Day being held on 14 December at Torrens University, Victoria Square, Adelaide.

As Australia’s 40th comprehensive University, Torrens University Australia aims to deliver an innovative environment for learning, scholarship, and research that is culturally diverse, career-oriented, and with a distinctive global perspective. Offering a range of undergraduate, post graduate and research by higher degree programs – for study on-campus, online or a mix of both depending on the program selected – Torrens is a part of Laureate International Universities, a leading international network of over 75 innovative higher education institutions – teaching more than 800,000 students in 30 countries and online.

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Jessica Thompson/Amity Roche

Anne Wild & Associates – Media Relations Representatives for Torrens University Australia

Tel: +61 2 9440 0414

Email: jthompson@awassociates.com.au / aroche@awassociates.com.au