Deakin doesn’t see a future at Warrnambool

But Federation Uni does

ABC News  |    11 March 2016

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Deakin University is considering withdrawing from its Warrnambool campus, about 250km south-west of Melbourne, amid a steep decline in student numbers, from 1,342 students in 2011 to a forecast 872 students this year.

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WarrnamboolDeakin vice-chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander says the university hopes to maintain the campus, but that “all options” are on the table. Den Hollander has made it pretty clear that the preferred option is another provider – such as Federation University –  taking over the campus but if that can’t be negotiated then closing the campus is a real option. In any event, she doesn’t seem to see a future for Deakin at Warrnambool.

She said there is a growing gap between what Deakin offers and the “particular needs of the region’s students, businesses and the broader community” which is mostly in the sub-degree space (certificate and diploma level).  While Deakin doesn’t itself offer sub-degree programs, it does have partnerships with other providers.  In particular Deakin College, formerly MBIT, provides a Certificate IV in Tertiary Preparation and a range of diploma programs on the three other Deakin campuses (Burwood, Geelong Waterfront and Waurn Ponds) and off-shore in Jakarta.  Successful completion of the Certificate can lead into the first year of a Deakin degree while completion of a diploma leads into the second year of a Deakin degree.  Some 15,000 students have taken this pathway since 1996.

Federation University would be in a strong position to take over Deakin’s Warrnambool campus, according to vice-chancellor David Battersby, due to similar missions and strong links between the Ballarat-based institution and Victoria’s southwest.

The news of Deakin’s likely exit has led to dismay within the Warrnambool community.

Students have launched an online petition, which has gathered more than 1,000 signatures in less than two days, calling on Deakin University to “stand by Warrnambool”.

Second year law student Mikaela Ryan-Pinch is behind the campaign and said the campus was the “fabric” of the regional hub.

If the university was to close its doors or change providers, it would put an end to a lot of students, young people and mature age people, trying to seek a higher education.

Wannon MP and Liberal frontbencher Dan Tehan says the community had been blindsided by the announcement.

It’s come as a total shock and what we need is a full explanation as to what has happened and we need that this week.

He said a public forum to discuss the university’s future will be held on Friday 18 March as a “show of solidarity”.

. The National Tertiary Education Union’s Matthew McGowan said the loss of the regional campus would “cripple” local prospects.

Students, particularly in regional areas, are significantly impacted by access to higher education. If you’ve got a university in your town, your chances of getting a higher education and greater opportunities in life are significantly increased.

He said the union will fight moves to reduce services.

See
Federation University conducts talks with Deakin over Warrnambool campus

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