Australian National University student Rosanna Stevens says her fondest learning memories of being an undergraduate were of tutorials, where she learnt how to think and how to express her thoughts.
Now a post-graduate student, Ms Stevens has also tutored other undergraduates and is extremely concerned about moves to phase out small-group learning experiences in favour of larger forums, as is the plan for the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
The college has informed students that tutorials will be phased out for ''interactive workshops and forums'' and the tutorials which remain in some subjects are likely to increase in size due to budget cuts.
''When I was an undergraduate I didn't attend lectures - I learnt in tutorials. I looked forward to them. They shaped the way I think - they've made me the kind of postgraduate student the ANU wants to have,'' Ms Stevens said. ''As a tutor at the ANU I saw the silences any lecture-sized open discussion brings about. Put a group of unsure, shy, or learning students in an intimate environment and people begin to learn not to be vulnerable in their opinions and reflections.''
She said a loss of tutorials would also deprive many post-graduates of the opportunity to teach and broaden their skills as they themselves became tutors.
Ms Stevens says she has already suffered academically due to budget cuts, having to move from the School of Music when it was restructured last year.
As a post-graduate student completing her masters in ethnomusicology, Ms Stevens moved to the interdisciplinary humanities group.
She was informed this week that the group was being ''disestablished'' and she was being moved into a new School of Language and Literature.
A number of academic positions are also likely to be lost in the changes. The National Tertiary Education Union is considering its response to the management proposal.
''This will be the second time I have moved schools due to disestablishment and changes in teaching and learning models,'' Ms Stevens said. While she was desperate to stay with her supervisor - whom she admired deeply - she had considered leaving the ANU.
''This has been one of the most unpleasant experiences in my entire life and I am close to packing it in.''