12-week semesters update

Since the end of last year, the Guild has sought a large amount of student feedback on the implementation of 12-week semesters. This led to the production of a report that was tabled to the University’s Education Executive. You can read the full report here.

These are the six key recommendations, and the University’s response to them so far.

1. Reinstate  13-week  semesters.

The university said that this is near impossible, citing the immense difficulty of having academics teaching over summer school and 26 normal semester weeks. We also appreciate that changing the timetable again would cause further disruption.

2. Explore the introduction of an additional study-free week.

The feasibility of this is being investigated by the university. The main concern is the possible impact on staff and students taking winter study abroad programs. If possible, we hope to pursue adding an extra study free week into each semester.

3. Invest into support services.

This was noted – the university’s wellbeing services are being reviewed later this year, and we will work with the university to formulate a mental health strategy.

4. Ensure that each unit’s content is appropriate for the teaching period.

This intersects with a live academic conversation about the amount of content taught in a unit vs. the learning outcomes and competencies themselves being important. Support will be offered to unit coordinators to structure their unit’s content within the 12-week period. The university is also going to take a more in-depth review of content in disciplines where this appears to be the biggest problem.

5. Ensure that assessments in majors and courses are appropriately aligned.

This paper has initiated a review of the timing of assessments. Faculties are being directed to review the timing of assessments in units that are usually taken concurrently in majors and courses, with the view to arrange them more favourably for students. If you have a lot of assessments occurring right at the same time, please let us know so we can help you to try and get them moved.

6. Ensure that future changes that impact the student experience are effectively communicated to all current students.

The University acknowledged the shortfalls in the communication. In the future big changes like this will be communicated in depth by the university.

We’ll keep you up to date when we know more. If you have any suggestions about what the Guild should do moving forward, email me at president@guild.uwa.edu.au.

All the best,


Posted on April 15, 2019


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