Your views: on a university thought experiment

Today, readers comment on an evidence-based business case for a uni merger that the public isn’t allowed to see.

Jul 12, 2023, updated Jul 12, 2023
Photo: NEOSiAM/Pexels

Photo: NEOSiAM/Pexels

Commenting on the opinion piece: Peter Malinauskas’ university thought experiment

As a Ph.D graduate from the University of Adelaide in the 1970s and a senior lecturer at The University of Western Australia from 1980 till 2000, I believe the proposed merger between the two Adelaide universities is an idea based on imagined economic advantages at the expense of sound educational values.

Some little time ago there was a plan to merge two Perth universities, The University of WA and Murdoch University, using most of the current arguments. The plan was finally rejected after a great deal of detailed discussion and it seems to me that the reasons for the final rejection should be a subject for investigation in the present case.

My own opinion is that the historic upgrading of all Colleges of Advanced Education to university status was a colossal mistake and any idea that the larger the institution the better the educational outcomes is also a mistake.

On the contrary, there is an argument that a larger number of separate smaller institutions each specialising in their own educational areas is more likely to meet the varied requirements of a majority of students, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach which is the present intention.

Any argument that a single large institution is able to offer the necessary variety of courses can only be true in theory rather than practice. – Ronald Shapiro

We know very little about the economic and academic ‘impulse’ behind the university merger proposal, however the ‘momentum’ is likely to be irresistible.

The revived interest in the sinking of the Titanic has provoked James Cameron, director of the eponymous movie, to frame a metaphor which has unnerving relevance to the overblown justification of the creation of a megalithic tertiary education institution.

Cameron extracts from the Titanic parable the imperatives of hubris, arrogance and ‘too big to fail’, and the political and business momentum which cannot be turned to avoid a disaster. – Warren Jones

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If Peter Malinauskas’ LIV-Saudi-Australia obsession was a bit of a joke, this one takes the cake.

Half a billion dollars of SA taxpayer’s money for two universities to marry one another. What a dowry that is! And Malinauskas has not even read the business case for it, and nor will anyone else in government. And he has not been able to utter anything but bromides and vague aspirations to support the case.

All it takes is one dud VC to cause untold damage to an institution. Moving from three such options to two is a 50 per cent decline in risk management. No sane retiree would do such a thing in their own share portfolio. The idea is to spread risk. – Michael Galvin

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