I honestly haven’t got a clue what the best way to change the university system would be. There are a lot of problems and a lot of benefits to being a university student and there is so much that any one change would impact.
The one topic I do feel strongly about changing right now is how students in clinical programs are treated. In my experience, at least in veterinary medicine, students during their clinical year kind of get treated as disposable labour. They can be at the hospital until all hours of the morning and still are expected to show up and learn at 7 in the morning (or earlier) and take care of patients. We know unequivocally that sleep deprivation retards learning (1) and impairs performance (2), yet we force students, interns and residents to work ridiculous hours to no good end. I honestly don’t know the rationale behind this aside from a sense of “I went through this so you have to as well,” and I think it really hurts the ability of our students to learn at times.
- Drummond, S.P., Brown, G.G., Gillin, J.C., Stricker, J.L., Wong, E.C. and Buxton, R.B., 2000. Altered brain response to verbal learning following sleep deprivation. Nature, 403(6770), pp.655-657.
- Lockley, S.W., Barger, L.K., Ayas, N.T., Rothschild, J.M., Czeisler, C.A. and Landrigan, C.P., 2007. Effects of health care provider work hours and sleep deprivation on safety and performance. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 33(11), pp.7-18.