Are you the person who...? Reflections on the challenges and opportunities of the role of student ombudsmen in an Australian university

Thomson Reuters
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australasian Dispute Resolution Journal, 2011, 22 (4), pp. 228 - 237
Issue Date:
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The feeling is often expressed that there are increasing numbers of students who are less interested in the student experience than in completing their qualifications with the best marks in the shortest possible time. In many instances this translates to a greater readiness to express dissatisfaction when the delivery of a course does not match up to expectations or when there is a perception of having been dealt with unfairly in terms of assessment or in other processes. It is ever more important that universities ensure that their processes and procedures are transparent, fair and consistent, and accommodating of diversity. Student ombudsmen playa vital role in this process, both in their investigations of requests for assistance and in their recommendations on systemic matters. This article considers the challenges faced by the authors in their roles as student ombuds in an Australian university. It contrasts the "last resort" model of student ombud used in that university with models used in other Australian universities and those in comparative jurisdictions, and considers which may be best suited to today's climate of higher education.
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