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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 33 No. 11. 22 July 1970

Student Participation

Student Participation

A decision on the question of student participation in academic appointments has been deferred by the Joint Committee of the Council, the Professorial Board and the Students' Association until the next meeting of the Committee.

Student representation was opposed by a Professorial Board representative, Dr T.H. Beaglehole, and by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr D.B.C. Taylor, and was supported by Council representative Denis Phelps and by Margaret Bryson, representing the Students' Association.

Dr Beaglehole said that "senior staff members are often unaware of how their junior members perform in the eyes of students," He said that, while he was opposed to student representation on appointment committees, he felt the views of students should be sought when a staff member within the university applies for a position.

Dr Taylor said that applicants may be sensitive to being interviewed by academic inferiors. Applicants, he said, expect to be evaluated by superiors. He felt that students should only take part in the appointment process at the interview stage.

Margaret Bryson said that once a person is appointed he is "there to stay." The student has a natural interest in safeguarding his own interests, she said.

Denis Phelps said that students have an interest in appointments. "Not enough emphasis is placed on teaching skills," he said. Student representatives would ensure that attention was paid to teaching ability.

Student's representative Colin Knox attacked the suggestion that students should be consulted at departmental level on the subject of staff appointments. "In some departments," he said, "student participation is non-existent."

Mr Knox said that while "there may be some consultation between Honours students and staff, the wishes of under-graduates are not taken into account."

"The academic staff," Mr Knox continued, "appear to feel a need for mutual protection against what they consider to be uneducated opinion. They feel it is not done for one academic to criticise another," he said.

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