Ramsay Centre staff would be able to sit in on classes and observe how the subject matter is being treated, details of the University of Wollongong's deal over the Western Civilisation degree show.
This has drawn the ire of academics, whose union says it could have a "chilling" effect on university independence. But UOW said these visits would not amount to "monitoring" or "supervising" how the subject matter is being delivered.
Ramsay observers were one of the reasons the Australian National University rejected the proposal, a version of which Wollongong has accepted - accepting $30 million from the Ramsay Centre to deliver a liberal arts degree focused on Western civilisation.
The Memorandum of Understanding between Ramsay and the UOW shows Ramsay Centre staff are invited to visit and "observe the teaching and facilities" the deal has paid for.
The university would deliver written reports to the Ramsay Centre each year, and a decision would be made in the fifth year whether funding would be renewed.
National Tertiary Education Union NSW assistant secretary Damien Cahill said the observers were a significant concern.
"The Ramsay Centre clearly has the ability to monitor both the teaching and curriculum content at the University of Wollongong," he said.
"The fact that they'll be reviewing their relationship with Wollongong after four years means that they are effectively holding a funding guillotine over the university's neck, and that the Ramsay Centre will be calling the shots - not the University of Wollongong."
UOW executive dean of the faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts Theo Farrell said the observers would not be "monitoring" UOW staff.
"While this may include observing some classes, these visits will not impede academic independence because they will not be for the purpose of assessing individual academics, or teaching quality or as part of any formal evaluation," he said.
"Small amendments were made to the MOU because all parties wanted the document to reflect their shared intention to protect UOW’s academic independence by explaining, as clearly as possible, the purpose and parameters of any visitation."
Academic independence is not mentioned in the document.
UOW will submit an annual report to Ramsay, which will include student evaluation of the program and its teaching.
"This this is something academics have every right to be very concerned about, and it could well have a chilling effect on campuses across the country," Dr Cahill said.
"We know that the Ramsay Centre has a very strict ideological agenda - they've been absolutely clear about that would be surprising if they didn't bring that ideological lens to bear in evaluating what goes on in classrooms."
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