La Trobe spares Indonesian but 37 jobs to go in humanities and social sciences

The Australian    11 August 2012

La Trobe University Fact Sheet    15 August 2012

La Trobe University has bowed to intense lobbying and retained Indonesian language in a revised cost-cutting restructure of its humanities and social sciences faculty, while also making concessions on gender studies, linguistics and art history.  Under the changes Indonesian will remain a major while art history, linguistics and gender studies won’t have major streams but are being retained as minors.  Linguistics will now lose one position rather than three.   The university said it is aiming to restore a “cross-disciplinary” major in gender studies in 2014.

While the job cuts are down from an originally estimated 51,  La Trobe is still seeking to cut up to 37 jobs by the end of this year and a further four positions by the end of 2015, which puts it on a collision course with the National Tertiary Education Union.

The university says that declining student demand, poor student retention and a very high number of subjects offered relative to the number of enrolled students have resulted in a deficit of $4.3m and the need for the extensive restructuring of its humanities and social science faculty.

The university says:

From 2013 the Bachelor of Arts degree will offer more than 400 subjects in any one year and up to 560 subjects over a two-year cycle. This is either more than or about the same as the other faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences in Victoria.

The university has guaranteed that the changes will not affect study programs of existing students. Any subjects and courses students have commenced will continue to be available for them for their normal course duration.

The curriculum changes take effect for new enrolments from the start of 2013.

There are also extensive changes planned throughout La Trobe’s regional network, which might signal a retreat from its regional outliers, apart from Bendigo.

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