Ramsay Centre degree in Western civilisation to be offered at Wollongong University after rejection from ANU
The University of Wollongong is set to become the first institution to deliver the controversial Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree.
The Ramsay Centre will provide about 150 scholarships for the new course, to be funded by a bequest by the late health pioneer, Paul Ramsay.
The partnership is worth more than $50 million over eight years.
The centre was knocked back earlier this year by the Australian National University, which said the conditions attached affected its academic autonomy.
But Vice Chancellor Paul Wellings said he was not concerned.
“We’ve looked into a whole range of issues to do with the autonomy of the university and our governance processes to make sure that we don’t fall into the same traps that ANU and possible others thought they were falling into,” Mr Wellings said.
The university plans to create a new School of Liberal Arts for the degree with academics specifically recruited to teach it.
In a statement, the university said the curriculum would “focus on a detailed examination of the classic intellectual and artistic masterpieces of the Western tradition that demand and repay careful philosophical attention”.
It would encourage “critical reflection” and include overseas trips for students to experience, “exemplars of Western culture, art and architecture”.
Ramsay Centre CEO Simon Haines students would be left room to take an outside major or double degree.
“We have always said that the success of the degree would depend on the quality of the teaching and UOW attaches great importance to teaching standards and quality,” he said.
The Ramsay Centre, chaired by former prime minister John Howard, is also in talks with the universities of Sydney and Queensland.