The university responds to student concerns

The University of Western Sydney is not planning “massive cuts” to courses, has not

disbanded its Student Learning Unit, and, contrary to recent claims, actually allocates over

80 per cent of its income to its core activities of teaching, research and student services.

Recent statements about changes at the University and claims that UWS is not supporting

its core business of teaching and research are unsubstantiated.

Claims that the University is also cutting its Student Learning Unit are simply wrong. Rather,

UWS is expanding the Unit to deliver more frontline services – a vital part of the University’s

commitment to helping students, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to

succeed at university and achieve their educational goals.

The expanded Student Learning Unit will see it renamed the Learning and Teaching Centre,

and will receive an increased budget and an additional seven staff who will be based within

the Schools to provide even more frontline mathematics and academic literacy services for

students.

Claims the University spends more on administration than teaching are also wrong. On a

fully-allocated basis, administration makes up just 17 percent of the total UWS budget, with

71 percent for academic activities and 12 percent for student services.

The University of Western Sydney is currently undergoing a review of units (subjects) which

have had consistently low student enrolments in recent years, making them financially

unsustainable.

These subject offerings with low enrolments include the Arabic, Spanish and Italian

language majors within the Bachelor of Arts, and the sub-majors of writing, performance

studies and animation within the Bachelor of Communication. It is proposed that these units

will not have an intake of new students for next year.

The Bachelor of Economics course has significantly declined in demand. The University

plans to continue to offer economics as a major and sub-major within the Bachelor of

Business and Commerce program, as well at the honours level. Students currently enrolled

in economics will be able to complete their degree.

These difficult decisions around these courses and units are not taken lightly, however they

are necessary to ensure that UWS can continue to be in a strong, and financially sustainable

position for the future.

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This is part of a broader strategy for the University. The UWS ‘Our Future Action’ program

also includes initiatives such as a review of the UWS academic year and the continued

development of a blended learning strategy to take greater advantage of new modes of

delivery and meet the changing learning needs of our students.

The University of Western Sydney is a strong and vibrant university, and is proud to be a

university of both excellence and opportunity, having the largest numbers of students from

lower socio-economic backgrounds of any university in Australia.

It has also been one of the fastest growing universities in recent years, growing by

approximately 6,000 students from 2008 to 2011, having embraced the Federal

Government’s policy to lift the caps on enrolments and widen higher education participation.

UWS is a proven leader in its core business of teaching and research. UWS is among the

top performing universities nationally in research performance, ranked 11th out of 40 in the

sector for Australian Research Council funding.

In key areas of research strength, UWS is performing at or ‘above world standard’ in the

Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) rankings.

UWS has also won the Prime Minister’s Australian University Teacher of the Year for an

unprecedented two consecutive years, with Professor Roy Tasker and Dr James Arvanitakis

winning the prestigious award in 2011 and 2012 respectively.

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