1. What is the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation?
Paul Ramsay was a leading Australian businessman. After starting out as a land surveyor in Bowral, NSW, Paul established a private psychiatric clinic in Sydney in 1964. From this beginning Ramsay Health Care continued to grow through the 1970s and 80s, building hospitals across Australia, the USA, the UK and Hong Kong.
The Paul Ramsay Foundation was originally established in 2005.
The Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation was established in 2017 in partial fulfillment of Paul Ramsay’s wishes and has as its objective “to advance education by promoting studies and discussion associated with the establishment and development of western civilisation, including through establishing scholarship funds and educational courses in partnership with universities”.
2. Who is on the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation Board of Directors?
Like many charities, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation is a charitable company limited by guarantee.
The Centre has a Board of Directors responsible for its governance, consisting of: The Hon John Howard OM AC (Chair), The Hon Tony Abbott, The Hon Kim Beazley AC, Mr Joe de Bruyn, Mr Tony Clark AO, Mr Peter Evans, Mr Julian Leeser, Mr Michael Siddle, and Ms Elizabeth Stone.
3. What is ANU negotiating with the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation?
In the second half of 2017, the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation made a call for Expressions of Interest from Universities in the ACT and NSW to develop a new degree examining key elements of western culture and implement a generous scholarship program.
In December 2017, it was announced that negotiations were to commence between the Ramsay Centre and the ANU to develop a new and comprehensive undergraduate program and scholarship program.
4. Who is leading the negotiations?
The ANU is represented by Professor Rae Frances, Dean of the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences (CASS) with input from other ANU staff on specific issues such as curriculum, finances, etc.
Professor Frances is charged with providing advice to Vice-Chancellor, Professor Brian P. Schmidt, who is actively overseeing the negotiations.
5. What is the timeframe?
Pending successful negotiations, it is envisaged that the new program will be established for intake in Semester 1, 2019. Similarly, the first cohort of scholarship recipients would also commence in February 2019.
6. What are the benefits to the ANU?
The generosity of the late Mr Paul Ramsay AO will make this an unprecedented philanthropic funding agreement in the support the study of the Humanities. If an agreement is reached, funding will be used to employ new staff to teach the proposed new program, to provide scholarships, and to support administration and operations.
7. What are the risks to the ANU?
There are a number of common risks associated with any external funding agreement undertaken by the ANU, such as restrictions on academic freedom, integrity and independence.
To mitigate these risks, any agreement stemming from negotiations would result in a comprehensive legal agreement which directly addresses issues such as academic freedom and integrity. The agreement would be backed by strong, defined governance mechanisms and agreed mechanisms for managing conflicts which, where necessary, may involve independent mediation.
The University’s legal framework requires ANU to retain control of the delivery of its programs. Our strong University academic structures govern academic curriculum, delivery and standards and any new degree would need to be approved by the usual ANU processes and subject to the usual quality reviews.
The proposed Ramsay Scholarships would be ANU Scholarships, and, as such, also fall under University policies and procedures.
Students in the proposed program would be subject to ANU legislation, policies and procedures regarding academic progress, misconduct and discipline.
Similarly, staff appointed under any funding arrangements would be appointed by an ANU selection committee and would be ANU employees, subject to the University’s HR processes and procedures.
8. Is it normal for the ANU to accept money from donors to set-up courses and degrees?
Yes. Most universities cultivate philanthropic opportunities to achieve outcomes normally unavailable under current funding arrangements. ANU currently has philanthropic agreements that enable the teaching of courses, provide scholarships, contribute to salaries for staff and even house entire disciplines.
The Proposed Program
9. What is the name of the proposed program?
The name of the proposed program is the ‘Bachelor of Western Civilisation’ but this, as with other aspects of the agreement, has yet to be finalised.
10. Where will the program sit within the ANU?
The program will sit within the ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.
11. How will this new program affect other programs (will others be disestablished to make room for this)?
This will be an entirely new program and will not replace any other ANU program, nor will it divert funding or resources away from other parts of the University.
12. Does this impact on the University’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region and Indigenous studies?
Students will have the opportunity to study Asia-Pacific alongside the study of western culture, either as electives or a major in the bachelor degree or as part of a double degree. Similarly, students could take up Indigenous Studies as an elective or a major. The scholarships encourage double degrees by paying for up to 5 years of study.
13. What is the proposed structure of the program?
The proposed program comprises 16 core courses, typically taken over three years, with an additional Honours year sequence open to outstanding students. Students may replace up to 4 of the 16 BWC courses with 4 courses of classical or modern European language study. Students will be able to take the program alongside other disciplines offered by the University and (in the case of double-degree students) other degrees.
The different courses within the program consider books from a variety of genres or disciplines (predominately works of literature, history, philosophy, religion, politics) but also including architecture, art and music.
14. What is the proposed pedagogy?
A distinct aspect of the proposed program is the use of the ‘Socratic’ approach. The program aims to create active learners engaged with primary texts in classes of no more than six to eight students. These small-group discussions will be supplemented by a series of panel-style discussions where academics from different perspectives engage in discussion with each other and with students.
15. Who will decide the curriculum?
Curriculum recommendations will be made by the Partnership Management Committee (consisting of two academic staff from the Ramsay Centre and two academics from the ANU, one of whom is the Dean of CASS) and considered through the normal ANU academic processes.
16. What are the eligibility requirements for admission to the program?
Students must achieve a minimum ATAR of 97 to be considered eligible for enrolment in the program.
17. How many students will be able to study the program?
The program will be capped at 60 students consisting of up to 30 scholarship recipients in the first year and up to 30 non-scholarship recipients. Up to 10 further scholarships will be made available to students in the second year of the degree.
18. I am yet to apply to ANU, but am interested in studying the program. How can I apply to enrol?
Further information on the program will be available on the ANU website pending an agreement is reached.
19. How many scholarships will be offered?
Up to 30 scholarships will be available in the first year. In the second year a further 10 scholarships will be available to students already enrolled in the Bachelor of Western Civilisation who meet the scholarship requirements. As well, additional grants will be provided to non-scholarships students enrolled in the degree to support them to undertake international study.
20. How much is the annual scholarship valued at?
$25,000 per annum for a maximum of 5 years, comparable to other premium scholarships currently on offer at the ANU.
21. What are the eligibility requirements for the scholarship?
These are still be negotiated but it is likely that the awards will be available each year to prospective ANU students who:
are Australian citizens or permanent residents
are enrolled/enrolling in the ANU Bachelor of Western Civilisation or a flexible double degree including the ANU Bachelor of Western Civilisation;
are a Year 12 student, or a student that has recently completed Year 12 and not yet commenced university level study;
are aged 16 to 21 upon commencement of their program;
have achieved an ATAR of at least 97 (including UAC Educational Access Scheme bonus points)
22. What is the application process for the scholarship?
The scholarship recipients will be selected through a comprehensive process combining ATAR score (97+), a written application and interview. The process will be based on academic merit, and personal attributes.
A selection committee, chaired by a senior ANU academic staff member and comprising representatives from ANU and the Ramsay Centre, will review all written applications, before inviting a select number of applicants to interview.
23. I am yet to apply to ANU, but am interested in applying for the scholarship. How can I apply?
Further information on the program will be available on the ANU website pending an agreement is reached.
24. Who will teach the proposed program?
Pending an agreement, it is proposed that 12 academic and professional staff will be employed by the ANU to teach and administer the program. These new positions will be fully philanthropically funded.
25. Who will be in charge of making hiring decisions?
Hiring decisions will be made by ANU delegates in accordance with the normal hiring processes of the University and in accordance with the ANU Enterprise Agreement. Staff will be ANU employees. The Ramsay Centre will have a limited number of nominees (suitably qualified academics agreeable to the ANU) on the selection committee, but the committee will be Chaired by the Dean of CASS and have a majority of ANU nominees.
26. Will staff and students have the opportunity to participate in consultations regarding the negotiations?
There have been a number of briefings for staff and students since December as well as individual communications with the Dean of CASS from interested staff and students. MOU negotiations are however a matter for the University and the parties involved.
27. Will staff and students have the opportunity to participate in consultations regarding the curriculum?
Pending an agreement, the proposed curriculum will go through the normal University education processes for course and program approvals in accordance with our academic requirements. Each course will be individually assessed to ensure the content and teaching meets the quality of an ANU program.
28. I’d like to provide my feedback. Who can I contact?