The University of Sydney’s Academic Board has today voted down a proposal that would see semesters shortened from 13 weeks to 12 from 2019 onwards.
Deputy Vice Chancellor (Registrar) Tyrone Carlin, who spearheaded the proposal along with Deputy Vice Chancellor (Education) Pip Pattinson, confirmed to Honi that the changes would not go ahead at this time.
One of the key issues raised in the meeting was that the University community had not been “sold” on the proposed changes. Vice Chancellor Michael Spence indicated that should feedback from students and staff improve, the proposal may be reintroduced.
Earlier this month, Honi reported that the changes would mean course coordinators would be required to compress or reduce their content.
Unlike the University’s other leading decision-making bodies, the Senate and University Executive, the Academic Board is dominated by ordinary academics and students who represent their faculties.
Student representative for the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Georgia Mantle expressed concerns about the effects the changes would have on student wellbeing and the wages of casual staff.
“Students would have been getting less for the same price,” said Mantle.
“I voted down the proposal because a number of problems that came from the suggested changes were not addressed and the changes were not in the students best interests.”
Similarly, Student Representative Council President Isabella Brook spoke on the issue of moving the release date for marks closer to the University shut down date, which would be necessary under a shorter semester, meaning many students would not be able to access academic advice around this time.
Campaigners against the proposal stood at the entry of the meeting with placards and encouraged board members to “think before you vote”.