Bachelor of Agriculture, MSLE merge to create new faculty

Friday, 2 May, 2014


The University of Melbourne is planning a considerable redesigning of its veterinary sciences faculty. The Bachelor of Agriculture and a host of subjects from the Melbourne School of Land and Environments (MSLE) are set to merge. They will form the single Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences (FVAS).

The redesign of the faculty comes after a review into biological and agricultural sciences at the university recommended better consolidation between the courses.

Dean of the new school Professor Ken Hinchcliff told Farrago that despite the merger there would be no changes to the Bachelor of Agriculture for current students. He said the new faculty will be the “custodial faculty”.

“Because the Melbourne School of Land and Environment is being merged with the faculty of Science, and with Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, the Bachelor of Agriculture needs a home,” he said.

“I anticipate they will not notice any change. It’ll be the same teachers, the same classrooms, the same pracs, all that type of thing. It will have very little effect on students.”

Professor Hinchcliff said that changes could mean improvements to the degree for future students.

“What we’ll be doing in the future will be looking to expand and enhance the Bachelor of Agriculture to perhaps add some more majors,” he said. “We’ll be looking to markedly improve the Bachelor of Agriculture.”

Current Bachelor of Agriculture student Magnus Gillberg said the changes seem to be beneficial for the course. “It’ll be good to have Agriculture in its own space, rather than under another school which is focused towards another degree,” he said.

The changes have also been designed to better accommodate regional students. The Bachelor of Agriculture is currently 46 per cent regional-based students. The new faculty will take responsibility for the university’s Dookie campus.

Professor Hinchcliff said he and other staff members view the degree as an “important program” for helping rural students access a university-level study of agriculture.

The university has also stressed the faculty redesign will also have no effect the teaching of the university’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or other coursework programs.

The faculty restructure will continue to be developed in consultation with students and staff over the coming months. A final decision on the changes from the University Council and is due soon.