TOP marks have been awarded to the University of New England for overall student experience by the Good Universities Guide.
And, if anyone can rank a good experience – it would be student Sangay Dorji from Bhutan, where the philosophy of Gross National Happiness guides his entire government.
A decade earlier, Mr Dorji enrolled at UNE to develop skills and knowledge he could take back to the Department of Forests and Parks Services in Bhutan.
“Ours is a small country - just 700,000 people - and education is very important to protecting our environment and culture,” Mr Dorji said.
“Environmental conservation is one of the four pillars of Gross National Happiness, introduced by the Fourth King of Bhutan.
“The smaller university suits me and I have had good opportunities for research here, I am looking forward to taking what I have learned and contributing to my own country.”
The university’s students can expect a higher starting salary and likelihood of being hired than the national average, but, with a lower retention rate than most – only one per cent are sticking it out.
The Good Universities Guide annually ranks Australian universities to provide benchmarks students can use when choosing their place of study.
The university ranked above average for social equity, student and teacher ratios, staff qualification, teaching quality, student support, and first-in-family students.
Learner engagement, learning resources and skills development were found to be below average, placing the university outside the top 20 per cent in-demand universities in the country.
Vice-chancellor Annabelle Duncan said the ratings were earned by staff.
“It is due to the hard work and capability of our staff that UNE’s students feel well supported, and a testament to this support that UNE is a top-rating university for graduate employment and graduate starting salary,” she said.
“UNE’s emphasis on supporting students, wherever they are located and whatever their status in life, has been central to the University’s outlook since it became a global pioneer of distance education in 1954.
“I’m proud that we are keeping the flame alight on this vital aspect of our service to the community.”