SCU WELCOMES MINISTER'S COMMENTS ON THE HUMANITIES

Published 7 December 2001

Comments by the newly appointed Federal Minister For Education, Dr. Brendan Nelson, about the value of studying liberal arts subjects at University have been welcomed by Southern Cross University's Executive Dean of Arts, Professor Paul Thom.

Speaking at a function in Parliament House earlier this week to honour outstanding University teachers, Dr. Nelson said the study of subjects such as literature and music was "just as important as science based subjects in ensuring the country's economic and social development".

The Minister added, "What I want to do is to see that we are able to have an education system, and higher education in particular, that places as much emphasis on humanities and literature and fine arts and language and history? those things that are the basis of our society".

Dr. Nelson also said the arts "defined Australians as a people and how they related to one another" and were just as important as other areas of education in ensuring economic and social development.

Describing the Minister's remarks as "enlightened", Professor Thom said "Education is not the same as training. The provision of a generalist education has always been part of the mission of universities. That mission has never been more relevant for the good of society than in these troubled times".

Professor Thom said SCU's courses in creative writing, cultural studies, and contemporary music were among its unique contributions to the general education of both Australian and Study Abroad students and were taught by highly regarded academic staff, many of whom had made significant contributions to Australian cultural practices.