The University of Wollongong has released full details of its controversial new Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UOW and the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation has also been released.
The six-page document outlines the Ramsay Centre’s commitment to fund: delivery of a Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation degree developed and internally approved by UOW; 10 academic and two support staff recruited by UOW-controlled selection panels; and 30 annual scholarships to be administered by UOW, including financial support for a study abroad activity.
Academics and students expressed their anger in mid-December when UOW became the first Australian university to partner with the John Howard-headed Ramsay Centre to deliver the controversial new degree already rejected by one other institution.
Union staff at University of Queensland also “overwhelmingly” rejected the Western Civilisation degree last week.
The public release of the course curriculum together with feedback from prominent academics comes as the UOW prepares to receive its first cohort of students in 2020.
The curriculum is based on the course outline developed by Senior Professor Daniel Hutto for UOW’s response to the Ramsay Centre’s 2017 call for expressions of interest.
The program has since been refined after feedback from academics at world-leading universities, liberal arts colleges and at the Ramsay Centre.
Professor Hutto also consulted with representatives of the indigenous community and other stakeholder groups, with 16 of these experienced academics subsequently agreeing to serve on the advisory board for UOW’s newly-created School of Liberal Arts in the Faculty of Law, Humanities and Arts.
Comprised of 16 core subjects, the philosophy-focused program will engage students in an intellectual conversation with some of the greatest thinkers down the ages.
Students will be challenged to critically examine exemplary masterpieces of Western art and thought, enter into respectful dialogue with non-Western perspectives, and address abiding questions of contemporary concern.
They will learn to engage in civil, rational and informed debate in small groups and develop in-depth knowledge and advanced research skills, equipping them to undertake independent humanities research.
“The UOW version of the Bachelor of Arts in Western Civilisation is a unique educational initiative –combining features of five different liberal arts, great books programs at: Columbia College, St John’s College, St Olaf College, Zaytuna College and Yale-NUS College.
“Elements of each were blended, in very specific proportions, to create UOW’s unique liberal arts degree,” Prof Hutto said.
The course curriculum was approved by the university in late January via well-established internal approval processes that enabled achievement of the tight deadlines required for enrolments in 2020.
The full curriculum details and MOU can be viewed on UOW’s website here.