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Victoria University of Technology

From Academic Kids

Victoria University (also known as the Victoria University of Technology), located in Melbourne, Australia, is one of the five dual-sector universities in Australia offering both Higher Education and Technical and Further Education courses.

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Victoria University of Technology

It has over 50,000 full time equivilent (FTE) students enrolled, making it Victoria's largest University.

The Victoria University of Technology was founded in 1991 by a merger of the Footscray Institute of Technology (1968-1991) and the Western Institute (1987-1991). It became known as Victoria University in 1998 when it merged with the Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE. Since then it has had reponsibility for all government delivered tertiary education in Melbourne's Western Suburbs (except for the University of Melbourne agricultural facilities in Werribee).

Contents

History

Phase 0 (1990-91)

The original concept of the Victorian University of Technology was of a CBD-Western Suburbs based University offering top level technical education to the entire state. It was to be a merger of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Footscray Institute of Technology (FIT) and the Western Institute. However, at the last moment, RMIT pulled out. Having lost Victoria's primary technical education institution, the new University had to find a new role.

Phase 1 (1991-1998)

This was to be delivering Higher Education to Melbourne's West. It's secondary role was teaching students from Asia. This was done by both importing students into Australia, and exporting curriculum and other resources to Asian institutions. A proportion of it's Higher Education students completed their courses in Asia without seeing one of it's campuses.

While the second role proved lucrative, the first did not. Very few of Western Melbourne's top students chose the University. For Melbournians, it had largely become a university of last choice.

Phase 2 (1998-Today)

In 1998, it changed tack. It decided to broaden it's role in Melbourne's west by taking over all of the TAFE campuses there. On July 1st it merged with the Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE, and it was suddenly suppling nearly of the tertiary education in the region.

This newfound broadness in courses allowed it to launch a "guaranteed place" program the following year. The marketing for this did not prominantly mention that this place was likely to be a TAFE one.

The University also had much more lenient entry requirements for Mature Age students. This made it relatively popular with them.

The University's three foci were now:
1. Higher Education and TAFE for Western Melbourne
2. Higher Education for Asia
3. Higher Education for Victorians who had trouble getting in elsewhere

After a few years however, the guaranteed place program was dropped. A lack of popularity was mentioned as it's downfall.

In 2002, the University untook a review to find a new direction. The two options were (paraphrased):
1) to become a university of "first choice" (like Monash and RMIT) or
2) become a local integrated educational force
The decision: both options looked good. This discussion and its results were not publically released.

As a result of this indecision, the University still lacked a clear identity. It did however succeed strongly in a few areas, most notably in hospitality. Its social sciences contain some strong researchers. It has also greatly increased the number of Western Melbourne people attending university. And in both 2003 and 2004 it had the top TAFE student in the country (Australian Vocational Student of the Year).

It is succeeding at the second goal. Western Melbourne is better off for it being there.

In 2004, a major Strategic Plan (http://www.vu.edu.au/library/pdf/Strat%20Plan%202004-2008.pdf) was released. It either gives little away about the University's direction, or is yet another sign that it doesn't have one.

Also in 2004 it was revealed that staff had defrauded the University of $10 million, up until 2001, mainly by awarding tenders at elevated rates, and them receiving back a portion from the money from contractors. [1] (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/01/10/1073437522774.html)

In April 2005, the University applied to the federal government to remove the last traces of "of Technology" from paperwork, in preparation for a mid-year rebranding. The Australian (http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,12836792%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html)

At this time, Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Harman said of the word "technology", "The word reflects the past, not the future and it suggests we are a narrow specialist when in fact we are a broad educational provider".

A change of name was said to help the Uni "position itself for the future in ways that are not about an old technology specialist label or traditional approach - we are not trying to be Cambridge on the Maribyrnong River, either." The Australian (http://australianit.news.com.au/articles/0,7204,12836792%5E15306%5E%5Enbv%5E,00.html)

What exactly the university was trying to be, wasn't mentioned...

Campuses

It has 13 campuses. These are City Flinders, City King, City South Melbourne, City Queen, Echuca, Footscray Nicholson, Footscray Park, Melton, Newport, St Albans, Sunbury, Sunshine and Werribee.

The Melba Conservatorium of Music is an independent body affiliated with the University that delivers courses at it's main Richmond campus and also at the Sunbury VU campus.

It's courses are also delivered by a number of affiliated institutions throughout Asia.

Footscray Park

Footscray Park is the primary campus, delivering the most contact hours and student services. It delivers almost exclusively higher education courses. It is the only campus that comes close to having a traditional university atmosphere.

It is located next door to Footscray Park, a large botanical and recreation garden on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. It overlooks Flemington Racecourse.

It was main campus of the Footscray Institute of Technology (FIT) when VUT was created.

St Albans

St Albans is the next largest campus by EFT students taught, and delivers both higher education and TAFE courses. It is located on Jones Creek on the site of an ex-army base. It was the original (and main campus) of the Western Institute.

The main subjects taught there are psychology, nursing, arts and environmental science.

Footscray Nicholson

Footscray Nicholson is slightly smaller than St Albans. It delivers only TAFE courses. It is located in central Footscray. It was the main campus of the Western Metropolitan Institute of TAFE when that became part of VU, and was earlier the original campus of FIT.

City

This collection of campuses each have a specialised focus. City Flinders is for postgraduate students working in the CBD. City King primarily teaches hair and beauty courses. City South Melbourne teaches graphic design and sports science. City Queen teaches law.

Echuca

This tiny campus is a shop in an Echuca shopping strip. It teaches Aboriginal studies courses.

Faculties

The university has five faculties: Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Business and Law, Faculty of Science Engineering & Technology, Faculty of Human Development and Victoria University TAFE

External link

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