Drastic cuts at La Trobe University

La Trobe University has announced the most significant restructure the institution has seen in 50 years.

The changes will reach across every faculty and some of the staff will lose their jobs.

Management met with several faculties today to inform them of sweeping reforms. 

A statement released by the university said there would be changes made to course availability, course structure, research, teaching and online learning.

Staff were first informed in 2013 that changes were likely because of federal government university funding policy, rising operating costs and insufficient enrolment numbers.

The most drastic changes include merging five faculties to two colleges and reducing 48 departments to 29. 

La Trobe Vice Chancellor Professor John Dewar said the changes came in the context of the university sector entering a "period of radical reform". 

"We must adapt to the likely reality of market de-regulation, reduced federal funding and much greater competition both between universities and other tertiary education providers – both public and private," he said. 

"In addition, we need to assure our students that we are not passing on to them the costs of our own inefficiencies."

He said job cuts had to happen to improve efficiency and bring in new skills.

The statement released today said the vast bulk of staff would be retained though some could have different roles and responsibilities.

Some details of the reforms are being put to staff for consultation during the next two weeks as part of industrial requirements. Staff will have up to one month to provide feedback and make suggestions on the plans.

The university said it hoped the majority of reforms would be in place before semester one, 2015.

La Trobe University said other proposed changes included:  

• The creation of five flagship Arts Degrees and new Education courses 

• A closer connection between health sciences teaching and clinical placements 

• A greater focus on student support services 

• Stronger teaching links with business and industry 

• More use of technology to foster learning teaching innovation and flexibility 

• The streamlining and simplification of administrative functions such as IT and Finance 

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