STUDENT EXPECTATIONS FOR HIGHER EDUCATION IN BIOLOGY AT COMENIUS UNIVERSITY, BRATISLAVA, SLOVAKIA
International Journal Of Biology Education
The traditional value of higher education to train students to be productive and informed citizens who appreciate the arts and who are critical thinkers is now being challenged. The popular media in particular is weighing the cost of higher education against the employability of graduates and asking if it is worth it. In this study we examined the expectations of students in biology at Comenius University. We also examined faculty members to see if they understood the expectations of their
... tions of their students. Questionnaires were administered to BSc and first year MSc students and a sample of faculty members in the program. There were differences between student and faculty member responses. Among them were that 2nd year students and beyond selected 'learn things that interest me' as a reason to attend the university, whereas biology faculty selected 'get a good job' and 'prepare for a professional career' as most important. Another difference was that 'raising a family' was the student's most voted option regarding their futures, while faculty members considered 'becoming an authority in my area' as what they thought was most important for students. Students and faculty members, on the other hand, did agree on some of the questionnaire points, for example, both students and faculty indicated that 'laboratory and field instruction' are the most important teaching method. Both students and faculty considered 'soft skills' as important and both stated that the current curriculum included some of that training, and they both agreed that the most important role for a university teacher was to 'motivate students to learn'. The long-term goal of the study was to help faculty members better understand student expectations and then to apply any learned insights to updating the curriculum to better meet them.