Australian Catholic U is negotiating to teach a degree
The proposal is the same as those now in place at University of Queensland and Uni Wollongong, where Ramsay-funded degrees commence this semester – $50m over eight years to pay specially hired staff and fund 150 UG scholarships.
Ramsay is pleased: “This is an extremely good fit for the Ramsay Centre which seeks to give students the opportunity to study the great texts of western civilisation in small group settings,” CEO Simon Haines says.
“People assume that we wanted all Group of Eight universities but we wanted ones with different profiles.”
So is ACU: The Ramsay vision certainly works for ACU’s leadership. Back in 2018 Vice Chancellor Greg Craven made the case for the study of western civ; “Universities are a central part of western culture. Indeed, they are the oldest continuous institutions of that culture, excepting the Catholic Church. Central to the mission of any Australian university is the need to strengthen students’ sense of belonging to this synthetic Australian expression of western culture.
And he pointed to what has now happened, “ACU … is part of western civilisation’s oldest continuous institution. It has a campus in Rome, for God’s sake. It is not frightened of Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Raphael, Shakespeare, Tolstoy or Hunter S Thompson. Obviously, it would be open to a great books course founded in western culture, provided the particular course went through the usual processes of academic assurance and approval, (CMM November 14 2018).
Professor Craven says a Bachelor of Western Civ will be taught from next year at ACU’s North Sydney campus.
The Vice Chancellor also assures staff, “the university will maintain autonomy over all key governance arrangements related to the course, and that all our activities will be consistent with the university’s position on intellectual and academic freedom.”
What’s next for Ramsay: While there are four-year reviews of the three partnerships, the plan for UG education is now in-place and so Ramsay is focusing on its PG programme.
This will support Australian postgraduates to study at prestige universities overseas. Starting next year, there will be 25 annual awards providing $80 000 per annum for two-three years.