Over 100 courses are dropped or changed at one of Australia’s largest regional universities.
Charles Sturt University (CSU) has revealed 116 degrees that will no longer be offered, merged with other courses, or moved online.
The changes are being made at its seven campuses across NSW and ACT and are designed to help recoup a deficit of nearly $ 50 million.
The National Union of Higher Education (NTEU) expressed alarm at this decision.
“It is an extraordinary statement to make,” said NTEU deputy secretary Damien Cahill.
“He’s going through a massive restructuring of his workforce where you’re going to potentially see 200 or more people lose their jobs.
“This expertise and knowledge is going to be taken away from the university.”
Among the withdrawn bachelor’s degrees are: Outdoor Education and Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in Albury / Wodonga, Postgraduate Course on Sustainable Agriculture at Orange and Information Technology on Wagga Wagga campus.
Course to merge
CSU’s renowned media courses are consolidated, with communications, theatrical media and the creative industries merged into one degree.
CSU Theater Media graduate Abby Gallaway said the consolidation of her old class was devastating.
“A lot of people go into this degree knowing they have a passion for the arts, but don’t know where they can go for a career.
“The degree means that you are able to try out a wide range of theater and production roles that you don’t really get in other theater degrees.”
Ms Gallaway is on tour with her own show after winning a scholarship while studying at CSU.
She said she believed communication professors had struggled with the university bureaucracy for some time.
‘End of an era’
Former lecturer and coordinator of acting, theater and television design and television production courses at Wagga Wagga CSU, Pat Sproule, said the changes were sad, but inevitable.
“We were under a lot of pressure when I was involved in the lessons with some difficulty in getting the students to the lessons,” he said.
“These are fairly specialized courses that had a niche and were well regarded by the industry, but also not very attractive courses for students who might apply at the time.
In a statement, CSU said 48 of the affected courses had little or no enrollment and were not viable to continue.
The NTEU said this did not justify the removal of diplomas and that the real reason they were being removed was to save money.
“Specialty courses and higher level courses are almost always small in enrollment, this is the nature of specialization and it is the nature of sequential and advanced learning,” Cahill said.
Students who have registered for courses undergoing modification will be contacted by the university.
Editor’s Note (July 30, 2020): An earlier version of this story quoted a CSU employee who was not acting as an official spokesperson.