Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

La Trobe University expansion plan

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar launches Future Ready 2013-2017 plan in Shepparton.

SOPHIE MALCOLM November 27, 2012 4:44am

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar launched the Future Ready 2013-2017 plan in Shepparton last night.

La Trobe University will aim to increase participation, grow student numbers and support research at its Shepparton campus under a new five-year plan.

Launching the university’s Future Ready 2013-2017 plan in Shepparton last night, Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar said achieving the goals set out in the strategy could have a significant impact on the local community.

The university aims to add 1800 students to the university’s four regional campuses and make food security, water and environment one of five main research streams under the new plan.

Prof Dewar said the strategy outlined a goal to increase the student body at the Shepparton campus to 800 from 560 by 2017.

‘‘(We’re) working to build aspiration among students to come and study at university,’’ he said.

‘‘Sixty per cent of our students who come here are the first members of their family to go to university.

‘‘By training and graduating people locally, it greatly increases the likelihood those people will stay and work locally.’’

He said the university would focus on building partnerships in the community, particularly with schools.

The plan also details the university’s strategy to build an even livelier education institution and identifies research focus areas.

Prof Dewar said each campus would have a role in contributing to research output.

“In these areas, we will aim to lay claim to be one of the best universities in Australia, and the world,’’ he said.

‘‘They will attract the best students, staff, researchers and external partners, including from overseas, to come and work or study with us.’’

The research into food security, water and environment will be university-wide and will include efforts to attract ‘‘game-changing’’ partners to participate and broaden the research base.

La Trobe has also committed to extend teaching and research on the Murray-Darling Basin.

‘‘A healthy and sustainable Basin is essential to Australia’s economic prosperity, fresh water supplies, food security, environment and the lives of more than three million Australians,’’ Prof Dewar said.

‘‘La Trobe has always been committed to social change and making an impact on the most pressing issues facing the global community. Under the Future Ready plan, we will cement our place as a university known for our excellence and innovation in relation to the big issues of our time.’’

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