Say Goodbye To Lilydale

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Swinburne University Lilydale
Photo: Swinburne

Benjamin Hansen – @ben_hansen

Cuts appear to be the consistent answer to a prolonged operation of business in the uncertain economic environment that the globe is in. News Corp, Fairfax, and Qantas- all major companies announcing cuts and reshuffles.

Darrel Lea’s employees are expecting a rocky road to come as the family-owned company went into voluntary-administration yesterday, with many believing that this is just the beginning of companies closing.

Swinburne University of Technology is the latest to cut dwindling areas and slim up. Recently announcing that as of July 2013, the Lilydale campus will be closed. Meaning all TAFE and High Education courses at Lilydale would be cut or moved to the Hawthorn campus a 45 minute journey from Lilydale, also announcing 120 voluntary redundancies and moving courses out of its Prahan campus.

The decision to close the Lilydale campus and discontinue TAFE courses came after the state government slashed $290 million for TAFE from the 2012/13 budget – a decision likely to affect institutions across Victoria.

Vice-Chancellor of Swinburne, Professor Linda Kristjanson said, “Ceasing operations at Lilydale is certainly the hardest decision of all.” Identifying fewer students interested in studying higher education at the rural campus and slowing numbers enrolled in TAFE courses, leading to the campus becoming uneconomical.

“The changes we are announcing today are designed to support our vision for Swinburne in 2020,” Prof Kristjanson said.

Prof Kristjanson ensured students and staff that the closure of the Lilydale campus would not be at a loss for students at the other campuses, announcing more courses and double degrees.

“I am confident that with these changes, we will transform ourselves again and that the Swinburne of the future will be even stronger than it is today.

“We expect that there will be no impact on the students themselves.” Prof Kristjanson said.

Higher Education Minister Peter Hall identified the budget cuts as having some impact on the TAFE courses.

“There is no doubt that some of the changes for vocational training and funding have led to some of those decisions,” he said.

Later saying that universities are responsible for their own decisions.

“Universities are self-governing bodies. They make their own decisions, and they have decided to refocus and concentrate on their strength, being science, technology and innovation,” he said.

The cuts and shuffling of course has caused many to question the motives of the university, with a planned protest set for Monday 16th of July at the Lilydale campus, and a Facebook page set up dedicated to ‘Keeping Swinburne Lilydale alive.’

It is unknown as of yet, what will happen to the Lilydale campus after its closure in 2013.

Swinburne University has been recognised as the highest-rating university in Melbourne for teaching quality for the last six years, and highest in Victoria for graduate satisfaction.

Social Media Responses

UPDATE:

Thanks to Swinburne, we now have a fact sheet on what the future holds for the university.

You can view it here – Transforming Swinburne

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