Bond University College launches to address need to improve student preparation

Post date:
March 16, 2017

Bond University is expanding its suite of pathway programs with the launch today (March 16, 2017) of its new Bond University College, to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse student cohort.

Bond University College will address the growing demand for alternative access to full Bachelor degrees, delivering a range of courses on campus that prepare students for university life, through face-to-face teaching in small groups and one-on-one assistance from specialist educators.

Bond University Pro Vice-Chancellor Pathways and Partnerships, Catherine O'Sullivan, said the launch of Bond University College was in-line with the university's strategic approach to delivering personalised education and its belief that one size does not fit all.

“Students entering university today are a far more heterogeneous group than in the past - they represent a diverse range of age groups, backgrounds and experiences,” she said.

“Traditionally, the university system has been geared to a more homogenous cohort of students who share similar expectations and study abilities.

“Some universities have addressed this by creating Vocational Education and Training (VET) pathways into their programs, but this has led to a range of unsatisfactory outcomes for large numbers of quite capable young Australians, potentially turning them away from university for life.

"We are taking the concept a step further by offering a full suite of pathway programs on campus, to ease students into the higher education environment and set them on the road to success from day one."

The most recent data released by the Department of Education indicates that one in five domestic students leave their chosen university course in their first year with 15% dropping out altogether.1

“While Bond University’s attrition rate is considerably lower than the national average and one of the lowest in Queensland1, Bond University intends to tackle the issue head-on by taking a new strategic focus to expand, grow and formalise a range of pathway options directly articulated into our full degree programs,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“Bond University College is fully-owned, fully-operated and fully-integrated into the university structure. It will offer students the same access to campus facilities, resources and social clubs that every other Bond University student enjoys.

“In fact, Bond University College students will undertake some Bachelor-level subjects as part of their Diploma and attend regular lectures alongside full degree students.

“The difference is that they will also receive extra hours of face-to-face teaching in small groups, working with specialist educators and support staff who can cater to their individual needs by giving them one-on-one help and encouragement.

“Other subjects will focus on developing learning skills such as study techniques, essay writing, communication and presentations to ensure they are fully prepared for the rigours of Bachelor-level studies.”

Located on the university’s Gold Coast campus, Bond University College will bring the existing University Preparation and Foundation programs, Diplomas and English language courses together under the one umbrella.

Introduced in 2007, the University Preparation and Foundation programs focus on the development of core academic skills for domestic and international students who don’t meet the requirements for direct entry to a Bachelor degree, or mature-age students returning to study.

The Diploma programs offer more subject-specific preparation, with a direct pathway to degrees in Business, Communication, Criminology, Health Sciences, International Hotel and Tourism Management, Law, Sports Management and Sustainable Environments and Planning.

“We currently have more than 200 students studying Diploma and pathway programs and we aim to increase this by a significant multiple over the next five years,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“There is a growing trend for school-leavers and mature-age students to undertake foundation or Diploma courses prior to commencing a Bachelor degree, reflected in the projection that, by 2020, more than 20% of first year university students will have completed a pathway program.

“These programs can be completed in two semesters of full-time study in the supported environment of Bond University College.

“Successful University Preparation and Foundation students are then guaranteed a place in the undergraduate degree of their choice (with the exception of Medicine), while Diploma graduates are eligible for entry into the third semester of the relevant Bachelor program.”

Bond University College will also offer General English and English for Academic Purposes programs, designed to meet the high-level language requirements for Bond’s undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.

“There is an increasing number of international students choosing to undertake postgraduate studies at Australian universities,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“In 2016, postgraduate research commencements by overseas students at Australian universities increased by 3.8% and other postgraduate commencements were up by 18.9% on 2015 figures.2

“With China, India, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam collectively accounting for more than 50% of international student enrolments2, there is a clear need for tailored English language programs to prepare students for higher degree and research-focussed studies.

“This represents a significant growth market for the Gold Coast and Bond University College will firmly cement the University as the centre of tertiary education opportunities, teaching excellence and innovation for the region.”

The focus on university qualifications as a key requirement for entry-level jobs and promotions to senior roles has seen the education landscape change significantly over the past few decades.

“We now have more mature-age students applying for undergraduate degrees as part of a career change strategy or perhaps because they didn’t go to university when they first left school,” said Ms O’Sullivan.

“We also have senior managers and even CEOs enrolling in postgraduate studies to enhance their chances for promotion.

“In fact, students enrolling in a university degree straight from Year 12 now account for less than half of all enrolments (44% in 2014) at Australian universities.3

“The pathway programs offered by Bond University College address this new trend by helping students of all ages and from all walks of life transition to the university classroom of the 21st century.”

Sources:

1 Department of Education: 2015 Appendix 4 – Attrition, Success & Retention – pg 1 Domestic students (this is the figure widely used in the media at the time these statistics were released; https://docs.education.gov.au/node/41761

2 http://www.austrade.gov.au/Australian/Education/Education-Data/2016/Summaries-and-news/summaries-and-news - see December Full Year Analysis .pdf

3 Universities Australia: HESP Consultation on the Transparency of Higher Education Admissions Processes - May 2016; https://www.universitiesaustralia.edu.au/Media-and-Events/submissions-and-reports/HESP-Consultation-on-the-Transparency-of-Higher-Education-Admissions-Processes/HESP-Consultation-on-the-Transparency-of-Higher-Education-Admissions-Processes#.WL0IH39p_wQ