In November 2009 Monash University Council endorsed a “strategic directions” paper proposing that Monash move to a differentiated model along the lines of the University of Toronto “federation”. Monash V-C Ed Byrnes has confirmed this direction will be pursued.
The proposal involves retaining a single Monash umbrella for reputational and branding purposes. Differentiation would occur along curriculum, management and geographical lines. The ‘Central’ campuses would be clustered together as the core of research-intensive excellence. The Faculties would retain and strengthen budgetary control and academic ‘ownership’ of those ‘Central’ campuses. It is envisaged that, over time, the ‘Central’ campuses would become even more highly integrated in order to drive interdisciplinary research agendas and to deliver multi-disciplinary courses.
The ‘President-led’ campuses would be directed by one or more Campus Presidents and, in concert with Faculties, would customise their research capabilities to develop and strengthen niche areas. These would have their own discrete budgetary autonomy (within agreed targets) and would be strongly oriented towards ‘open pathways’ of enrolment for commencing students. As part of this approach the implementation of campus-specific entry (application codes) and exits (testamurs) will be explored, though all graduates will belong equally to the Monash Alumni.
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO MODEL
The University of Toronto has traditionally been a decentralised institution, with governing authority shared among its central administration, academic faculties and colleges. Unlike most North American institutions, the University of Toronto is a collegiate university with a model that resembles those of the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in Britain. The colleges hold substantial autonomy over admissions, scholarships, programs and other academic and financial affairs, in addition to the housing and social functions of typical residential colleges. In addition certain colleges (basically of religious denominational provenance) in what is referred to as the “University federation” continue to exist as legally distinct entities, each possessing a separate financial endowment.