Uni eyes vision for expansion

Uni eyes vision for expansion

24 Sep 2009

In a proposal for significant expansion by the year 2025, La Trobe University aims to boost its undergraduate student numbers by 30 per cent and postgraduates by 50 per cent – creating a multi-campus institution of up to 35,000 students in Melbourne’s north and regional Victoria.

VP Paul JohnsonThe proposal is part of Vice-Chancellor Paul Johnson’s Strategic Options paper that has been endorsed by the University Council.

It also sees the University significantly upgrading the relevance of its curriculum – and the flexible delivery of its offerings, including distance education and non-semester courses.

Much of the growth is expected to be from non-traditional students in line with government objectives to boost higher education rates.

To facilitate this, by 2011 La Trobe would offer non-standard entry pathways in the form of foundation studies through sub-degree courses.

‘Major developments such as the Bioscience Research Centre and the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science will also give the University’s research a larger scale and scope than ever before.’ Professor Johnson said.

Professor Johnson said policy initiatives announced earlier this year by the Labor government will transform the higher education landscape in Australia.

‘We can expect the government to look to universities like La Trobe to take a lead role in expanding the sector,’ he said.

‘Our open culture, commitment to learning for all, and geographic reach in Northern Melbourne and regional Victoria will enable La Trobe to expand student participation across those regions.

‘We have an excellent track record in recruiting and graduating students from families new to higher education, which also sets us in good stead to expand access.’

Professor Johnson said: ‘There will much jockeying for positional advantage within the higher education sector over the next few months, and universities which are unsure of their goals or direction will lose ground.

‘New modes of funding for teaching and research and new national targets for undergraduate education present La Trobe University with enormous opportunities for growth and development.’

He said his paper was intended to lead discussion within the University about its future.

‘Well before the end of the year we need to have decided how we can best respond to the government’s new agenda for higher education, and have in place a set of policies that will ensure that our ambitions are achieved.’

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