Berwick residents will continue to have access to a local tertiary education, after Federation University confirmed its takeover of the Monash Berwick campus.
Competing with bids from La Trobe University and interstate Charles Darwin University, Federation has proposed to offer up to 15 degrees from its new Berwick site next year in the fields of business, education, nursing, information technology (IT) and science.
After a transition year where Monash University will continue teaching existing students throughout 2017, it is expected that Federation University will be the sole university operating at the campus by 2018.
“We are delighted that the Berwick Campus will become part of Federation University Australia,” vice-chancellor David Battersby said.
“We stand proud of the excellent employment prospects and careers of our graduates and look forward to welcoming the next generation of Federation University students to the Berwick Campus.
“The university will build on the great work at our Ballarat, Wimmera and Gippsland campuses as we create a strong and vibrant campus at Berwick.”
Federation University – the then Ballarat University – also gained control of Monash University’s Gippsland campus in 2013.
Monash University president and vice-chancellor Margaret Gardner said the arrangement was pending government approval.
“Adding another university offering a different range of courses with different entry requirements in Melbourne’s south-east corridor will provide more choice for the local community,” Ms Gardner said.
“Monash will continue to consult with staff and students at Berwick regarding the transition of Monash education programs, students and staff to other campuses.”
But Monash Union of Berwick Students president Tyrone Badar said there was still “uncertainty” surrounding the transition period next year for existing Monash students.
“Monash University’s decision to leave the campus has meant students have been waiting for an extensive time to hear whether a different organisation would come onto our campus,” Mr Badar said.
“With the news that Federation University would be that organisation, students are still unsure about how the transition will be handled. The announcement has not made the situation any clearer in terms of what it will mean for Monash Berwick students.
“We are apprehensive given how poorly the teach-out period went at the Gippsland campus. A particular concern of ours is how well students will be represented in 2017, given Federation University’s lack of a Berwick student union. We are eager to ensure all students at the Berwick campus are treated fairly and consistently.
“Monash University has stated that Berwick students will be taught by Monash staff and graduate with Monash degrees, should they meet their degree’s requirements. MUBS will continue working to ensure that this promise is carried out and minimise the negative impacts on students.”
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.