Monash and Ballarat plan to go ahead
The governing Councils of Monash University and the University of Ballarat have decided to proceed with the proposal for the Monash Gippsland campus to join forces with the University of Ballarat to form an expanded, regionally focused university from 1 January
Vice-Chancellor Professor Ed Byrne said that following the Councils’ decision to proceed, the focus will move to seeking the necessary approvals from the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments and to detailed implementation planning and activity. A new name for the university is being consulted upon, and will require approval of the Victorian Parliament.
“Whilst the proposition cannot be implemented until these approvals are received, we can make preparations while they are being sought. The next seven months are going to be very busy for everyone involved,” Professor Byrne said.
Pro Vice-Chancellor, Gippsland campus, Professor Robin Pollard extended his appreciation to local stakeholders, residents of the Gippsland region and the campus community for their interest and involvement in the consultation process.
“Since late February, we sought input and engagement with all those who will be affected by this development. While some concerns and disagreement were expressed, we also received support from organisations and individuals who see the benefits of the changes proposed,” Professor Pollard said.
“It was apparent that different community groups care deeply about the campus, while at the same time confronting the region’s low participation in university education. The campus intends to maintain the healthy dialogue.
“The next few months will mean working closely with the University of Ballarat to ensure a smooth transition and we expect minimal disruption to current teaching and research. Students who are currently enrolled will remain Monash students, and will be able to complete their studies at the Gippsland campus graduating with a Monash degree.”
Discussions are continuing with the NTEU and staff regarding the detail behind the proposed staffing arrangements. However Gippsland staff can be assured that all eligible staff will be offered employment by the new university on terms and conditions no less favourable than they currently enjoy.
The Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills, The Hon. Peter Hall, MLC, has offered his in-principle support for the proposition, which he said would benefit students across the
state, giving them access to a wider range of courses and services that are tailored to the needs of regional students.
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ballarat, Professor David Battersby said the initiative would bring together the skills and expertise developed in Gippsland, Ballarat and the Western regions of Victoria to further benefit these and other regional
"It holds great potential to develop new ways of delivering courses that better suit regional communities including better and closer connections with other regional education providers especially TAFE Institutes,” Professor Battersby said.