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Fri, May 21, 2010
my paper
Wollongong's USP: Its teaching quality

By Victoria Barker

MAINTAINING quality teaching standards is something Professor John Glynn of the University of Wollongong (UOW) in New South Wales takes very seriously.

And that commitment certainly shines through at Singapore's PSB Academy, a private learning institution which offers degree courses awarded by the university in Australia.

The newly appointed Executive Dean of Business at UOW told my paper: "UOW and PSB have a shared vision of what we want to provide the students with during their time with us.

"There's no magic formula, but it's about being consistent in our (teaching) philosophy and putting in a number of quality checks and balances that ensure we meet our commitments to the students." That philosophy seems to be working.

For its excellent performance and research standards, UOW was ranked among the top 2 per cent of universities in the world by both the prestigious Times Higher Education QS World University Rankings, and the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities last year.

The former compares universities across a range of criteria, including peer reviews, while the latter is a ranking system compiled by the China university.

Said Prof Glynn: "Ultimately, though, you can see the teaching quality come out by the employability of our undergraduates.

"In Australia, for example, 94 per cent of them gain employment within eight to 10 weeks of graduation."

The university also regularly conducts surveys on student satisfaction to ensure teaching standards do not slip.

For the five Bachelor of Commerce courses awarded by the university at PSB - with majors in Finance, Management, Public Relations, Marketing, and Supply Chain Management - students can expect to experience the school's "blended learning" style.

That means that modules are taught using a combination of mediums, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and industry visits, among others.

In addition, the university helps students develop soft skills that they can use once they enter the working world.

"For example, if a student was doing a particular subject in marketing, we would set academic learning outcomes, but also (help students) develop attributes such as the ability to make a winning presentation or to work as a competent team member," Prof Glynn explained.

He added: "We blend the academic rigour along with the personal character development to equip students to enter what's increasingly becoming a very competitive working environment."

Modules are also taught by a mix of teachers in Singapore and visiting lecturers from UOW.

Students at PSB also have full access to UOW's extensive electronic library.

For Prof Glynn, the perfect balance between academic excellence, providing character development, and a high standard of teaching and facilities are what sets PSB apart.

"We strongly believe that the backbone of any university is their students, which is why we continually strive to uphold what's best for them," he said.

vbarker@sph.com.sg

>> Next: UOW'S BACHELOR OF COMMERCE AT PSB

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