STATE parliament yesterday passed legislation to change the name of the University of Ballarat to Federation University Australia as it prepares to take over the Monash University Gippsland campus.
Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall predicted the institution would rapidly become known as Fed Uni.
“Today is an historic day for Victoria. I have long been an advocate for increased access to tertiary education in regional Victoria and this legislation will support the University of Ballarat in expanding its expertise in regional education delivery across the whole state,” Mr Hall said.
Federation University Australia will officially begin on January 1, 2014, and subject to final approvals, will see the existing campuses of the University of Ballarat and Monash University Gippsland come together as the new university.
The new name was chosen to reflect the broad regional focus of the new university which will include campuses in Ballarat, Churchill, Horsham, Stawell and Ararat as well maintaining existing partnerships with regional TAFEs.
Mr Hall said Federation University Australia would transform the educational experiences of students choosing to study in regional Victoria.
“Federation University Australia brings together the expertise of the University of Ballarat and Monash University Gippsland to enhance pathways from VET certificate to post-graduate level in areas of local need,” Mr Hall said.
“The newly named Federation University Australia will also benefit from recent grants totalling $4.6 million which will see three new degrees at Churchill and three new degrees at Ballarat.”
From 2014, a host of new courses will be available including Bachelor of Information Technology, Bachelor of Business (Finance and Investment), Master of Professional Accounting, and Master of Geomechanics and Geohydrology.
Mr Hall said Federation University Australia would facilitate more pathways for Gippsland students to go from vocational training to tertiary education, particularly with regional TAFEs such as GippsTAFE and Advance TAFE.
“Pathways into vital careers such as engineering, criminal justice, midwifery and biotechnology will all continue to grow from 1 January 2014,” Mr Hall said.
The University of Ballarat will add to its existing student cohort of 23,000 and expand its on-campus and distance education offering.
UB chancellor Dr Paul Hemming and vice-chancellor Professor David Battersby both welcomed the announcement.
“Federation University Australia reflects the partnerships, collaboration and co-operation among a federated network of campuses in regional Victoria,” Dr Hemming said.
“The efforts of this merger will provide a new university that is regional in focus, national in scope and international in reach.”
Professor Battersby said the partnership between the University of Ballarat and Monash University had focused on enhancing regional education opportunities from the onset.
“Everyone involved in this project has had a vision of creating a regional university with a more accessible and supportive learning environment,” Professor Battersby said.
Monash University chancellor Dr Alan Finkel said Federation University Australia would play a key role in building strong regional communities.
“This new institution will provide a compelling reason for young people to attend university locally,” Dr Finkel said.
“By being explicitly focussed on the needs of regional communities, Federation University Australia will be able to offer educational options that are more closely aligned to the needs of local employers.”