Professor Keen did not carry out his threat, which he had posted on the university’s central student computer system. …
The university was not able to say whether students in Professor Keen’s course were eventually failed. But it said in a statement that any student who didn’t pass would be “case-managed on an individual basis to ensure (they) can still finalise their degree”.
So UWS management have referred the Steve Keen case to the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). I would have thought that ICAC might take as long as 20 seconds to decide to not pursue this matter. TEQSA, however, have a far more interesting set of inquiries to pursue.
Before I pursue this – let me say that I have previously argued that TEQSA is a complete waste of time. My opinion has not changed but I do hope to be pleasantly surprised.
I imagine that TEQSA will be asking why UWS has no quality control process to double-check what academic staff place on the “university’s central student computer system”. Even just to ensure that what is put up is consistent with university policy and procedure somebody should be double checking. Irrespective of the merits or otherwise of what Steve Keen did – it would have been picked up if UWS had a quality control process in place.
Then there is a problem of the teach-out strategy. Programs and/or courses are changed and discontinued all the time and in every such situation a strategy is required to deal with the teach-out. Those students in the program or course cannot be disadvantaged by the change. From the report it sounds like UWS had the strategy of crossing that bridge if and when they got to it. I doubt that would be considered good enough by any external observer (indeed internal observers should have raised the alarm – probably too scared to speak up).
It looks to me that Steve Keen was doing a bit more than making a joke at the Administration’s expense or even lodging something of a protest. He has highlighted that UWS actually had no strategy of dealing with students who might fail his subject (as I said before, it shouldn’t happen at third year level but can and does). In that situation failing a student would in fact be a violation of his duty of care to the students.
So it looks like TEQSA has a job ahead of it and it shouldn’t be Steve Keen who is getting rapped over the knuckles.