UOW students fear for degrees

Undergraduate Students Association president Peter Hughes with Sam Dixon, James Ly and Mitchell Bresser. Picture: ROBERT PEET University of Wollongong students are concerned that degrees may be ‘‘watered down’’ if 11 faculties become five.

Wollongong Undergraduate Students Association president Peter Hughes said students had some reservations about proposed changes to the structure of the faculties announced yesterday.

‘‘We welcome the Vice-Chancellor’s enthusiasm and vision to further cement the University of Wollongong’s place as a world class university,’’ Mr Hughes said.

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‘‘However, with the 11 faculties streamlined into five, it’s possible the broad range of quality degrees may be reassessed.

‘‘There are concerns that degrees may be watered down or become almost inefficiently broad. There are also concerns that the focus may be shifted towards the more vocational or ‘investable’ areas of study at the expense of more traditional areas such as humanities.’’

Mr Hughes said students also wanted reassurance the camaraderie and character of the close-knit faculties would not be damaged.

‘‘What will happen to important areas like law when they fall under the broader faculty title of arts, humanities and law?’’ Mr Hughes asked.

‘‘It’s important to have a particular focus on the different specialisations even within these new super-faculties.’’

Civil engineering student Mitchell Bresser said he was worried the quality and diversity of subjects might decrease.

‘‘The skill requirements for degrees like science are very different to those required for engineering so I would be concerned about the merger of science, engineering and informatics into one faculty,’’ he said.

The president of the Law Students’ Society, James Ly, said he hoped the quality of teaching would remain at a high level.

Mr Hughes said students would take advantage of the consultation process announced by Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Wellings to voice their concerns.

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