The merger of the University of Ballarat (UB) and Monash University’s Gippsland campus is set to go ahead in 2014. Under the agreement, which was first discussed in February, the universities will join forces and allow UB to take control of the Gippsland campus in Churchill to form an expanded, regionally focused university.
This will also see UB change its name to Federation University Australia — effective from January 2014. It is hoped that the new name will reflect the broad regional focus of the expanded university, which will now encompass sites across Ballarat, Ararat, Horsham, Stawell and Gippsland.
UB and Monash have expressed that the new partnership will bring together the skills and expertise that have been developed across these regions; provide students with a wider range of study options; and more effectively support students, industry and the local community.
Students are also set to benefit from more flexible entry requirements and an extensive range of pathway opportunities and access programs due to UB’s status as a dual-sector institution. UB offers a range of Vocational Education and Training (VET) options through its TAFE division and already has partnerships with a number of tertiary providers in regional Victoria as well as in Melbourne and Sydney.
Although the merger has not yet received Commonwealth Government approval, it is expected that this will occur in coming weeks to enable the new developments to come into effect on January 1 2014.
How does this affect current UB and Monash students?
Current UB students will be able to choose whether they graduate with a degree from UB or from Federation University Australia. Likewise, those currently enrolled at Monash’s Gippsland campus will still be eligible to receive a Monash degree. It is expected that all current courses at the campus will be ‘taught out’ should changes be made to course offerings.
How does this affect new students from 2014?
Students wishing to enrol at the Gippsland campus in 2014 will study at Federation University Australia. Monash has indicated that the same range of courses currently offered at the Gippsland campus will continue to be offered in 2014, with the new intake of students able to access courses across fields such as business and economics, communications and media, nursing and midwifery, the sciences and teaching. Degrees will still be taught using the same facilities, will feature very similar course content and will be taught by many of the same teaching staff. UB expects that some changes will be made to courses over time, including the development of new programs based on student demand in the region.