By Eleanor Wilson
Federation University will discontinue its Bachelor of Arts degree at all campuses from 2023, it announced this week, 3 July.
The University, which runs the Arts program at several campuses including its Berwick campus, said “an ongoing and steady decline in student numbers” was the reason behind the decision.
Federation University acting vice chancellor Professor Wendy Cross said the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused a significant decline in both domestic and international student enrolments.
“Student commencements have fallen from 83 in 2018 to just 27 in 2022,” Ms Cross said.
“As part of our plan to be strong and sustainable, we regularly review our programs and courses to ensure they meet student and industry needs and remain viable to operate.
“Federation will continue to offer many of the courses that were part of the BA program.
“We are working with three impacted employees and the union in good faith, and we will redeploy staff where possible.”
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) today condemned the decision, criticising Federation University for failing to consult with the union, staff or students before announcing the decision.
“This is a demoralising day for humanities in Victoria,” NTEU Victorian assistant secretary Sarah Roberts said in a statement.
“It is a hammer blow for students who want to live regionally and study arts.
“There’s no underestimating how important arts graduates are to society. The critical thinking skills and breadth of knowledge students are equipped with make our nation stronger.”
Meanwhile, Federation University Branch President Mathew Abbott urged the Federal and Victorian governments to intervene.
“Regional university staff and students deserve access to this core program, and without having to leave their communities and move to metropolitan areas,” Mr Abbott said.
“We need an urgent intervention with emergency funding to save this key pillar of regional higher education. Rogue Vice Chancellors making destructive and shortsighted decisions need to be reigned in by governments.
“That would send a clear message that a Bachelor of Arts is a non-negotiable offering for all universities.”