It is hoped that the plan will entice more students to Bendigo from Australia and overseas, and boost the social, cultural and economic prosperity of the city – which aligns with the City of Greater Bendigo’s Economic Development Strategy 2020-2030.
La Trobe’s Dean of Engineering and Mathematics Professor Wenny Rahayu said Bendigo was an ideal location for students to study engineering.
“We aim to bring up to 50 more engineering students each year to the city, with a view to grow that over time,” Professor Rahayu said.
“Every year we partner with Bendigo’s thriving local industries to give our students a unique and deep understanding of the world of engineering, so that they can take those skills out into the real world.
“The feedback we get from employers is extremely positive – which, in many cases, leads to a job offer even before graduation.
“Basing our undergraduate engineering program in Bendigo makes sense, as it gives students from across Australia and the world access to state-of-the-art facilities and close partnerships with thriving local employers,” Professor Rahayu said.
La Trobe Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO said under the plan the Bendigo campus will continue to offer some of the University’s most popular and successful courses – including in rural health, computer science and IT, science, engineering, law, arts, business, planning and education.
Professor Dewar said the delivery mode of some courses will change in response to market desire for greater choice and flexibility.
“Some disciplines will move to a mixed-mode approach – with some content delivered online, some on-campus – and other courses will be available entirely online,” Professor Dewar said.
“We’ve been receiving positive feedback from students on our innovative and engaging approach to online learning.
“If we can provide students greater flexibility and choice in how, when and where they study, and this entices more students from across the country to commit to higher education – including in rural and regional communities – then we have achieved an important part of our mission,” Professor Dewar said.
Key highlights of the plan include:
- A continuation of many courses that are unique to the Bendigo campus, and meet regional workforce need – including dentistry, oral health, pharmacy, paramedicine, planning, visual arts and outdoor education. The next generation of rural doctors will also continue to be trained through the campus’ competitive Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical).
- A commitment to working in closer partnership with Bendigo TAFE to ensure students have seamless pathways between vocational and higher education in areas of student demand and workforce need.
- A stronger focus on the arts and the arts community in Bendigo, demonstrated through a renewed commitment to the La Trobe Art Institute – the University’s hub of arts practices, engagement and cultural collections – strong partnership with Bendigo Art Gallery, a proposed newly refreshed Visual Arts degree from 2022, and proposed fully online Bachelor of Arts which will offer greater choice of subjects, and more flexibility.
- A new focus on Bendigo as the University’s hub for undergraduate engineering education – attracting students from Australia and overseas who seek to connect with vibrant local industries, and study in state-of-the-art facilities that were completed as part of the campus’ $50 million transformation project.
- A commitment to continuing to offer wide-ranging Education degrees, including a proposed new Outdoor Education program focused on producing career-ready graduates with increased employability.
- A commitment to working closely with the Bendigo community to attract more international students to Bendigo, including those seeking to benefit from the additional post-study work rights provided to students based in regional Australia.
While some courses would change their mode of delivery, Professor Dewar said the key factors that make regional study so attractive will remain.
“We know regional students deeply value the strong connections they build with lecturers and fellow students, the experience of attending a vibrant regional campus, and the strong links they form with local employers,” Professor Dewar said.
“Our new Regional Connect program gives students access to events, networking opportunities, placements and project partners – meaning that whether studying online, face-to-face or a mixture of both, they will continue to reap the benefits of regional study.”
Research in Bendigo will focus on the campus’ key strengths in rural health, biomedical science and digital transformation.
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