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July 17, 2006 | by  | in News |
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Bit Bites the Dust: Engineering Degree gets the (Provisional) Nod

A PROPOSAL to introduce a Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree at Victoria from next year is one step closer to becoming a reality, after the business case was approved by the Academic Board last week.

If final approval is given by the University Council in November, first year courses for the BE would begin in 2007, with the Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) and the Bachelor of Science and Technology (BScTech) being phased out by 2010.

However, despite the fact that final approval is pending, advertising and promotion of the degree will begin in August.

The new BE, focussing mainly on electronics and software engineering, is expected to bring in 360 equivalent fulltime students (EFTS) by 2012.

Head of School for Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science John Hind says the new degree is not designed to replace the BIT, but to attract more research grants and fill a niche in a potential growth area.

Hind says the BIT, which has only been offered since 2002, suffers a perception problem among employers, especially as Victoria is the only university to offer the degree. Enrolments into the BIT will still be taken next year, but students will be advised of the decision to wind down the degree.

Although he admits that a similar degree at the Wellington branch of Massey University – which began courses this year – will be the most direct competition, he says the BE will specialise in different areas.

Cordelia Black, the student representative on the University Council, says Massey’s decision to offer a degree has “given impetus” to the proposal, but adds that the Council was aware of the need to differentiate the Vic degree. She says the proposal has been well received by the IT industry.

While several members of the Academic Board expressed concerns about implementing the proposal in 2007, a working party is to be put together to work through the problems. None of the academics who raised concerns contacted by Salient were willing to comment on the matter.

Although some current BIT students will be able to get their degrees cross credited, Hind says generally there is too much difference between the two degrees. Despite this, BIT students spoken to by Salient were generally supportive of the new degree.

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About the Author ()

Nicola Kean: feature writer, philanthropist, womanly woman. Nicola is the smallest member of the Salient team, but eats really large pieces of lasagne. Favourites include 80s music, the scent of fresh pine needles and long walks on the beach.

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