Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


UTAS Launceston move to Inveresk a ‘great deception’

*Pics: UTAS Launceston campus, and Dr Michael Powell, below …


Dr Michael Powell, History lecturer at UTAS Launceston, has broken ranks with the University over the planned relocation to Inveresk describing it as a “Grand Façade to a Great Deception.” He has written the following …

The decision by UTAS to establish a city campus presence in Launceston is sound. The decision to introduce Pathway Associate Degrees is sound.

But behind the grand vision and prospect of 5000 more students and 500 more staff is a more sobering reality – shrinking services and staff on the Launceston campus with functions, courses and staff shifted to Hobart.

The number of staff lost in the past few years has been staggering. Core courses and staff have been moved to Hobart effecting Arts, Humanities, Business, Education, Nursing and Social Work and causing a dramatic fall in enrolments.

The University has admitted that there has been a decline in enrolments of about 5% per year over the past five years. This is a substantial loss of revenue – most corporate CEO’s would be fired for such a dramatic drop in “sales” …….or given a bonus.

There is no strategy for addressing the current decline except for a building program 5 years down the track. But nothing in the Now.

The University talk of extra students and staff from Associate degrees on the Inveresk site seems noble at first, aimed at the large number of Tasmanian young people not moving into further education.

The cultural resistance to further education in regional and rural Tasmania is a well known entrenched problem that must be addressed if parts of Tasmania are not left as pockets of poverty.

But there is absolutely no real plan to address this.

When this is challenged the story then changes to the need for a city campus to attract foreign students. In other words this is not aimed at Tasmanian needs but a nice little revenue earner for the University.

The University will deny it furiously, but they are degrading Launceston to a glorified community college with a skeleton degree program with little to offer the northern region.

Instead of envisaging and badging a vigorous program of higher education in Launceston with Pathways to it we are offered a lame second-rate institution.

Instead of building on the strengths of a unique environment and ability to deliver a highly personalised core education we are offered a dumbed down alternative.

But then everyone knows going north, IQ declines after you pass Oatlands.

• Mike Bolan in Comments: The proposed move to Inveresk looks like a cover for selling the existing university grounds to some mate or other, while simultaneously shrinking services to some minimum – zero if they can’t get their way. That way Rathjen becomes a hero who brought in enough money to cover his new salary, while ‘consolidating’ services to Hobart. Whatever the details, we can be pretty sure that the proferred explanation is a ‘cover story’, particularly as they hope to get the Inveresk site for nix (i.e. tax and ratepayers cop the loss of assets)

FFUTAS: University of Tasmania Fossil Fuel Sit-in Enters 3rd Day: Bob Brown Visits A Student occupation of the at The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is in its third day, with prominent environmentalist and former leader of the Australian Greens – Bob Brown, visiting the protestors. The students are protesting UTAS investments in the fossil fuel industry, as part of a nationwide divestment campaign. With the sit-in entering its third day students have stocked up on supplies, including food, sleeping gear, camera and phone chargers. “This is the first and most simple of actions we can take, if we don’t achieve our aims here, we’ll be back in the new year with more creative and disruptive actions.” “We are frustrated after two years of patient, peaceful campaigning that the university has refused to divest its $300m investment portfolio from fossil fuels,” said Fossil Free UTAS spokesperson Mell Jones.

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  1. virginia wright

    February 19, 2018 at 11:27 am

    1. associate degrees very problematic as already used by UTAS to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to a for-profit service provider selling ‘creative’ courses and owned by a person who has no qualifications, no accreditation, and no reputable business history. Appears to be a case of jobs-for-mates as there is no rational explanation available from the university.

    2. who was responsible for spoiling appearance of the new Inveresk riverside student accomodation building by adding giant ugly UTAS signage onto the city-side of the building? The ex-Vice-Chancellor? Over-the-top, inappropriate graphic design and advertising is always a sign of deception. In this case, is it also a sign of bad-things-to-come?

  2. Garry Stannus

    November 8, 2015 at 12:14 am

    This shifting of the campus from Mowbray to Inveresk, on the very edge of the city’s CBD, runs counter to good sense. When I first heard of the suggestion, I couldn’t believe it. The campus has had a varied history. What had been known as TCAE (Tasmanian College of Advanced Education) became, in 1984, the Tasmanian Institute of Technology (TSIT) and in 1990 the Launceston Newnham) campus of the TSIT merged with / became part of the University of Tasmania which also took over the adjacent Brookes High School premises. Brookes moved to a new site, in Rocherlea. In 2002, the Uni’s School of Visual and Performing Arts moved into new digs at Inveresk, then finally in 2008, the Australian Maritime College was ‘integrated’ with the University. Was this the zenith?

    Over those years Mowbray-Newnham has developed in ways which to me have been inspiring. With the growth of the University campus, so the population of Mowbray began to change. There has been a growing student population living in the houses and flats around the area. So too has the population grown with the the influx of Nepali, African and Hasara Afghans. The result has seen the main street of Mowbray bustle with vitality. You can get a real kebab, shop for Asian deli foods, while Coles and Woolies have established a large shopping centre backup.

    And now, the powers that be are apparently downsizing the University as it is in Launceston and moving it to Inveresk – which is such a small site in comparison. You should see the dog-box accomodation that is going up, between the river and the old railway line. We’ve got something that works, in Mowbray. It’s not just a Uni, it’s the whole area of which the Uni, the AMC, the refugees, the Aussies and Mowbray itself are mixing in what I think is an exciting and successful place.

  3. Michael Powell

    November 6, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Brian has grasped the nub of the origins of tertiary education in the north. It was hard fought for by Barnard and even that little deceased crook Rouse and the Examiner which now remains strangely mute. I repeat it was hard fought for and a new fight needs to begin.

  4. Brian P.Khan

    October 22, 2015 at 11:53 am

    Utas move to downgrade Newnham campus to Inveresk does not surprise , they have always regretted that former Deputy Prime Minister the late Lance Barnard achievement in having Professor Peter Karmel report to the Whitlam government the need for higher education at tertiary level in Launceston.
    Lance was ably assisted by his old adversary the late media magnate for the north of the state Edmund Rouse.
    Lance had in his armoury the tariff cut by Whitlams Alf Rattigan which decimated the wool manufacturing industry , such as Coats Patons, Kelsall and Kemp ,Thynes ect.
    Whitlam gave Lance the Maritime College over the head of Charlie Jones the minister for Transport who wanted the Maritime College for his electorate in Newcastle.
    With the demise of the Northern Club , Masonic Club and the deaths of Barnard and Rouse Launceston was devoid of strong leaders and former Premier Ray Groom pointed this out.
    Seeing this vacuum the south had an outstanding Lord Mayor in Doon Kennedy and could see the weaknesses in the north of the state and lack of leadership.
    Whilst the late Jack Chambers executive officer of the Launceston Chamber of Commerce was warning the powers to be his warnings were ignored , namely Aquatic Centre Hobart trumped Launceston.

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    October 19, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    In the south of the State the expansion of the University appears to be in a muddle too!

    The Liberal State government wanting to toss the Art School out of the IXL building makes no sense.

    Neither does building a new Performing Arts Centre opposite the Royal Hobart Hospital which will always struggle for space on a limited site within the existing city block.

    A land bridge or tunnel across Campbell St to the vacant site next to the Theatre Royal for hospital services allows more of essentially what I would consider are flexible options for the expensive and somewhat contraversial RHH rebuild.

    In my opinion up to 11 ha of vacant land at Macquarie Point should be the expanded home for the University.

    Currently the State Liberal Government under the inept leadership of Premier Will Hodgman is going now where with regards to future infrastructural planning.

    Without an effective opposition of any kind we remain at the mercy of poor decision making.

    Its a pity the old railyards remain vacant and not open for REALISTIC development, perhaps the government are still unsure about the future of the Brighton Transport interchange versus the reinstatement of the rail link into POH.

    Apart from private investment in the city the government remain uninspiring in their vision for future government infrastructure.

  6. Alex thomson

    October 18, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    It is appropriate to acknowledge that Dr Powell is perhaps the only academic at Launceston who is prepared to speak publically on this issue – other than the senior managerial staff who are responsible for putting the UTas case. That there is not a floodgate of academics independently lauding UTas should cause serious concern. That there is silence in condemning the proposal is because to publically do so is probable academic suicide. As a former professorial academic at UTas I recognise the risk that Dr Powell takes in speaking out. We should judge UTas by its record as well as by its stated current plans. We can take little heart in the plans when they are underpinned by an organisation which believes the “south” to be sacrosanct ” and the ” north” to be expendible

  7. Edna Broad

    October 18, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    Agree with Dr. Powell. The move is a great idea but without much foundation or thought behind it except to hide a downgrading of courses. Great for the building industry but will cost the ratepayers and the surrounding suburbs greatly despite LCC gifting the site to the Uni. No doubt MacDonalds, KFC and other fast foods will benefit whether they stay in Mowbray or move. Students are students anywhere regardless of where they come from and most spread their money around on accommodation and food rather than supporting a revival of central Launceston as suggested in the proposal

  8. Anita Holloway

    October 18, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Star Wars Monopoly, Dr Who Monopoly, Australian Monopoly, and UTAS Monopoly. An institution becomes a commodity.

    Who’s gets to be the Dog?

    if the path becomes too inaccessible (location/expense) we will deviate. The North has many options, don’t make us use them.

  9. Dr Buck Emberg

    October 18, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    In the language of Logic there is no phrase for what the Univ of Tas is doing so I shall invent. The people in charge of the so called move of the campus falls into the trap of “Less is More”. Somehow the ‘movers’ of the changes in the Univ. seem to have kidded themselves that by making the Launceston campus less…it can somehow be more important. Not! This is not kidding the populace this is downright swindling! We have about ten in our family who have graduated from the U Tas…both campuses…Not one of them will have an enhance3d degree because of bad business decisions by the movers and shakers of education in Tasmania.

    Dr Powell is correct. Read his article again!

  10. Michael Powell

    October 17, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Thank you for all these comments that encapsulate all the reasonable concerns express but particularly thanks Alex (4).

    The University repeats ad nausea that Launceston is ‘overstaffed’ by quoting teacher/student ratios. This is an immense deception and statistics like this are very unreliable. For instance it does not take account of the fact Launceston does more Distance teaching and cross campus teaching than Hobart. In addition the University has been ratcheting up the teaching and research demand on staff across the board for some time which adds to the distortion.

    Beware of UTAS CEOs bearing gifts.

  11. Phillip Mahnken

    October 17, 2015 at 1:56 am

    Considering that Wellington Street – the only major southern outlet – already gets choked up from 4 to 6 pm, flushing out the thousands of vehicles from all-of-Utas-at-Inveresk will hardly relieve this log jam? Are there plans for new roads? May we see them and have a promise no more old Launceston heritage buildings will be knocked down?

  12. SImon Warriner

    October 16, 2015 at 6:55 pm

    What strikes me as most interesting is that the conversation emanating from UTAS is all about real estate and not at all about academic endeavor. Perhaps it is real estate that generates the possibility of paying the outrageous salaries on offer, rather than academic activity? How does UTAS compare to other universities in this regard?

  13. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 16, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    People, both inside and outside the ‘academic community’, are right to be quite skeptical about these proposals, for reasons noted in most earlier posts.

    One month, it seems that UTAS is ‘spreading the love’ about its (grudgingly) adopted child, and the next it seems to be signalling that its northern & NW campuses are a burden to be sloughed as soon as decently (or, goddammit it, indecently) possible.

    Balancing that, and as far as outsiders can tell, so far UTAS has not rooted the Australian Maritime College, in the ways that universities so unintelligently stuffed up teacher training colleges, and Melbourne U was reported as doing to the Victorian College of the Arts.

    As for whingeing about academic standards being lowered, two points: if foreign undergrads without a working fluency in English are admitted to Australian universities, what else would you expect? And who led the charge to dumb down school curriculums in the first place?

  14. phill Parsons

    October 16, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Like many construction projects, this is a gift to the construction industry.

  15. Steve

    October 16, 2015 at 12:00 am

    Talk about smoke and mirrors! I’ve heard all sorts of reasons for moving the uni but unfortunately I’ve heard nothing that convinces me that those making this decision are competent to make it.
    Apparently it’s cheaper to build a new campus, than maintain the one you have. Really?! I’m happy to give this one the BS vote!
    Apparently the association with Brooks, that forms part of the current campus, brings an unfortunate taint of lower socio-economic areas. Really?! Firstly, would any international student (this is all about them, remember) give a rats that years ago, part of the uni was a high school? Secondly, where’s the university’s social conscience? If it feels that it’s located in a lower socio-economic area, surely it should be doing it’s best to improve the area, to the general betterment of society?
    Apparently the uni no longer needs to associate with AMC. Really?! That was a priority a few years ago. AMC have obviously invested heavily in capital works. Can’t see them picking up their tanks and moving. Could it be that the uni’s cherry picked the profitable parts of AMC and shifted them south…?
    All I can see in this suggestion is an attempt to get rid of the Launceston campus. Difficult to do at the moment when it’s a proper campus but split it up and spread it about a bit, then you can snip a little bit there, and a little bit there…

  16. alex thomson

    October 15, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    Dr Powell is correct in his assertions

    The UTas plans are a smoke screen or Trojan Horse that we accept at our peril

    UTas claims that staff numbers in Launceston are better than elsewhere in the state – certainly for senior academic staff this is demonstrably false and it is the senior staff that are key to moving a university forward. If one was able to access accurate data on FTE staff per FTE student I am sure UTas’ s claim woud be seen as false. If one further looked at staff by tenure of employment one would see that UTas Launceston is staffed by academics with more tenuous status than is the situation in Hobart.

    The UTas University Council resolved and has minuted not to let developments happen in Launceston that might adversely affect Hobart – but the reverse is not true. Thus Launceston can only move in the direction of being an increasingly lesser part of UTas.

    The LCC and other supporters of UTas’s Launceston plans are being taken in by short term expenditure in the North which UTas sees merely as the cost of further degrading its Northern arm.

  17. Anne

    October 15, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I have to say, that while the presentation I attended recently spruiking the UTAS move all sounded very reasonable and plausible, I wasn’t entirely convinced. This piece by Dr Powell therefore confirms my BS detector was – and is – spot on.

  18. Karl Stevens

    October 15, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Looks like the UTAS School of Business and Economics has captured the university administration and is now using it as a sock puppet.

  19. Mike Bolan

    October 15, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    The proposed move to Inveresk looks like a cover for selling the existing university grounds to some mate or other, while simultaneously shrinking services to some minimum – zero if they can’t get their way. That way Rathjen becomes a hero who brought in enough money to cover his new salary, while ‘consolidating’ services to Hobart.

    Whatever the details, we can be pretty sure that the proferred explanation is a ‘cover story’, particularly as they hope to get the Inveresk site for nix (i.e. tax and ratepayers cop the loss of assets)

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