Students are being promised a brand-spanking new student services system that is “operationally excellent in both performance and efficiency”. It’s big chat from the Uni, but will it live up to the hype? With the limited description Campus Life has shared, students are mostly in the dark with how the new system will affect them. To find out how the centralisation process is being received, Craccum chatted to four students on how they feel about the incoming Te Pākārito.
“Right now I feel cautious about these changes, yet at the same time if it’s done well centralisation could be beneficial to some degree. There has been lots of concern that a centralised service won’t meet students’ needs as well as faculties can. The University needs to ensure that there’s enough support for those working in Student Services so that these services don’t diminish in quality with the new system. Without talking about the knock-on effects, I’m relieved that the amount of staff changes and departures isn’t worse. Honestly, I think it’s a wait and see issue.”
“Being Māori, I haven’t seen a change in the support I’ve received from the Uni since starting here four years ago. But in saying that, the support that I do receive has been pretty helpful to me and my studies. I know for me and a lot of my friends that are also a part of the Māori community here, we don’t always feel comfortable going to mainstream staff. But then the staff that we do feel comfortable going to may not provide us with all the advice we need. Having a new system with increased support for Māori to participate and succeed wouldn’t just help existing students like me, but future ones too. I feel that having staff tailored to Māori students that also have the knowledge of programme-specific advice would be majorly beneficial.”
“I understand why as an institution UoA is centralising their student services. I just hope this doesn’t mean students can’t personalise their degrees. As a Global Studies student, the best part about my degree is how I’ve tailored my courses to my liking. I’m concerned the Uni’s insufficient student consultation means they don’t understand how centralising such a service won’t necessarily solve many of the issues students face with Ask Auckland or their Faculty Student Centre. It may create more problems because centralising usually means inflexible decision-making and limited communication between the centralised service and Faculties themselves. Hopefully, centralisation means that we will have more student facing services. I want to be able to discuss with a 4th year/5th year law student who is trained and hired for this service to provide enrolment/degree planning advice, not sit in front of a person with no practical experience of studying my degree.”
“I never knew it changed, I never knew it existed in the first place, and I don’t know what’s being changed. So I don’t know how I feel. I don’t know what it is so I don’t know how it’s gonna affect me. It’s probably concerning that there hasn’t been much communication from the University, I mean, maybe it might affect me but I don’t know what I’m doing in the future so it might affect me once I know what’s happening. I don’t really know right now about what I’m supposed to be doing with my papers and my degrees and stuff. I just have no plan at the moment—I’m just going with the flow.”
*Name changed to protect student’s identity.