First Year International Postgraduate Student Open Forum - 8 April 2009
Cafe Facilities at University House
The Faculty has liaised with the Regional Manager of Zouki Catering regarding the quality and cost of food and the opening hours of the University House Cafe. The Regional Manager welcomed the feedback and advised that the University is currently negotiating with Council regarding the refurbishment of the Cafe. The refurbishment will include a new kitchen which will allow for food to be freshly prepared at the Café, rather than being transported from the University. Being able to prepare the food fresh on the premises will help to improve the quality and variety of the food offered and cut down on costs.
The Faculty has also been advised that during Trimester, the Cafe will close at 8.00pm. During Trimester recess, the Cafe will close at 6.00pm.
The Faculty will keep students informed of developments.
The Faculty has raised the issues concerning International students having difficulty in finding employment when they arrive and during their stay in Newcastle, with the University Careers Unit. The Careers Unit has noted that they have in the past, and are continuing to run seminars/workshops for International postgraduate students located at University House.
The Faculty is interested in finding out which particular areas of support students would like with regards to finding employment (writing Resumes, where to look for employment, interview techniques). Once the Faculty receives a response from students, the Faculty will discuss the specific requirements of International students with the Careers Unit and work towards finding the best possible ways to address the needs of International students.
The Faculty has obtained approval to use Facebook as a communication medium with International undergraduate and postgraduate students. Emma Blair, Executive Officer, Internationalisation will shortly arrange a meeting with Anindita Singh for training in the use of Facebook.
The Faculty is waiting for a response from the Examinations Unit regarding timetabling of Examinations at University House and transportation for students from University House to the Callaghan Campus to attend Examinations. The Faculty will keep students informed of developments.
The Faculty has raised, with the International Marketing Unit, the issue of International students undertaking studies at University House, not being made fully aware of the geographical location of University House, before and when they arrive in Newcastle. In future, information on the location of University House will be included in the International Postgraduate Publication, which is distributed to incoming International students prior to their arrival in Newcastle. The Faculty has also requested that a site map and information regarding the location of University House be included on the University's Website.
The International Marketing Unit has also advised that accommodation information for international students is available on the web - several temporary accommodation options for the Newcastle area are provided at this site.
International Student Liaison Committee
On 9 April 2009, the Faculty forwarded an email to all students who attended the Open Forum on 8 April 2009 inviting them to participate on the International Student Liaison Committee. To date, the Faculty has not received a response.
The first meeting of this Committee is scheduled for Thursday, 21 May 2009.
Issues raised regarding Orientation being an "information overload" and that students would find it of assistance if the essential information could be presented to students at a slower pace, has been raised with the Academic Registrar Service Division. The Faculty also requested that reference to, and information (facilities, location etc) regarding University House, be presented to students at Orientation. The Service Division has advised that they will endeavour to ensure that these issues are addressed at future Orientation sessions.
The Faculty advises that the Newcastle City Council Car Park Agreement with the University of Newcastle is still in operation. Students may park on the top floor of the Car Park for $4.80 per day. Students must display their student ID card when leaving the Car Park, in order to obtain a student discount.
The other option available to students required to study at University House is to park free of charge at Warabrook Train Station and catch a train to the City Campus.
The Faculty met with the President of the Newcastle University Postgraduate Student Association (NUPSA) who advised that NUPSA does not charge any fees for student membership. The Newcastle University Student Association (NUSA) does charge a slight fee but, this is likely to become obsolete in the future, once elections for the President and Vice-President positions are finalised.
Teaching and Learning
The teaching and learning issues raised at the Open Forum have been noted and appropriate action has been taken.
Facilities Management have advised that Government buses are available for students who wish to travel from University House to the University. The buses depart from the public bus stop at the corner of Hunter and Auckland Streets. A Security Officer has been allocated to accompany students to the bus stop after dark. Please refer to the University's website which provides you with a bus schedule for travel between University House and Callaghan.
Another direct link to information regarding public transport is also provided on the University's transport page.