The University of Adelaide has pledged a ‘fundamental paradign shift’ towards smaller class sizes and the delivery of a premium student experience.


The University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Warren Bebbington, said Beacon of Enlightenment 10-year strategic plan outlines how the University evolve.


Professor Bebbington said the development of the strategy was in response to the systemic ‘dumbing down’ of content owing to the massive increase in enrolments that have threatened to compromise the quality of education offered by Australian and UK universities.


"The ideal of the modern university, the union of teaching and research has been lost," says Professor Bebbington. "The highlight was individual discovery, but research is now almost absent from undergraduate courses."


The plan will be rolled out from 2013 and will see each course move towards “small-group discovery,” where students will gain skills of analysis, criticism, expert search and written communications essential to independent enquiry.


For the highest-achieving students, every Faculty will offer an Advanced Bachelor program, featuring independent research work from the start.


The University of Adelaide will also treble expenditure on digital and online learning support, which it says all students now expect. "Where content can be delivered online with pedagogic integrity, it will be," says Professor Bebbington. But face-to-face classes, especially in small groups, will increase.


There will also be a massive increase in work experience and in study abroad, with all students expected to take at least one of these. Travel grants will be introduced to help with the costs of going abroad, to "prepare students for global citizenship in a near border less world", Professor Bebbington said.