June 24, 2019
University of Wollongong Council independently approves BA in Western Civilisation
Additional certainty provided for 2020 commencement
At its meeting on Friday 21 June 2019, the University of Wollongong (UOW) Council gave its seal of approval to the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation and associated double degree programs due to commence in 2020.
The Council resolved to use its legislative authority to independently approve the degree to remove any uncertainty about its commencement at UOW next year.
In coming to its decision, Council was satisfied with the academic quality of the degree, the rigour of the academic assessment process and its compliance with the Australian Qualifications Framework.
Under the University of Wollongong Act 1989 (NSW) and the University of Wollongong By-Law 2005 (NSW) the University Council has broad-ranging powers to ‘act in all matters concerning the University’, and to ‘provide such courses, and confer such degrees… as it thinks fit.’
On Monday morning (24 June 2019), the University advised the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) of its governing body’s decision to approve the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation. The NTEU initiated court action in April challenging the Vice-Chancellor’s approval of the degree in January 2019.
UOW Chancellor, Ms Jillian Broadbent AC, said the Council had full respect for the University’s academic process, particularly the role of the Academic Senate. However, under the particular prevailing circumstances, Council has used its legislative powers to specifically approve this degree. The Council was mindful of the tight timeframes involved in preparing to begin teaching the degree in 2020 and the potential impact of any uncertainty regarding the course’s approval status.
“By approving the degree the Council has acted in the best interests of the University. It will enable progress to continue despite any continuing legal challenge to the Vice-Chancellor’s earlier approval decision.
“The Council remains prepared to continue with its legal defence of the Vice-Chancellor’s exercise of his delegated authority if required, but we hope that will not be necessary given the changed circumstances,” Ms Broadbent said.
The University has now invited the NTEU to withdraw its challenge of the Vice-Chancellor’s decision to approve the degree.
“Following this decision our way forward is clear. I encourage the whole university community to unite in a shared commitment to our legislative objectives of encouraging ‘the dissemination, advancement, development and application of knowledge informed by free inquiry’ and ‘the provision of courses of study … across a range of fields’,” the Chancellor said.
The University looks forward to welcoming the first cohort of students for the new course in 2020.