Managing academic support for international students: the appropriateness of a learning support unit in an Australian tertiary institution
journal contributionposted on 08.06.2017, 02:51 by Chung, Mona, Kelliher, Martin, Smith, Wendy
The higher education environment in Australia has undergone a radical change since the 1980s with the phenomenal increase in the intake of international students, particularly from what are referred to as Confucian Heritage Cultures (CHC): China, Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore. Students from these countries view the Australian higher education system very favourably. The present increase in the proportion of full-fee paying students at Australian universities is also a result of decreasing government funding to the Australian higher education sector, which has now risen to be one of the most important elements of the Australian economy. These push-pull factors have drawn more Australian tertiary institution providers into the market place, as they seek more international student enrolments for their domestic campuses and also establish campuses overseas. Potential higher education students are becoming more discerning in their choices and are choosing learning environments that offers them both relevant and stimulating educational experiences and good qualifications, along with a range of both IT and academic support services that cater to their individual learning needs. Increasing competition, both within Australia and internationally, calls for a focus on student satisfaction in order to sustain the existence of the providers. This paper addresses the issue of what international students seek in terms of academic support and demonstrates that present levels of cost efficient services by Australian higher education providers, generally characterized by IT and language support services, are inadequate and do not meet the specific needs of the students.