University grappling with challenges

THE University of Tasmania will be challenged by the solutions it has to find when it comes to deregulation, according to its vice-chancellor.

Professor Peter Rathjen was re-appointed to the position of vice-chancellor yesterday, and said it would be critical for the university to build on its momentum over the next few years.

The university is still assessing the full impact of the federal government's planned overhaul and how it will respond.

Professor Rathjen was appointed in 2011, and university chancellor Michael Field said his first term had been ``exemplary''.

``With waves of change washing through our sector, it is to our great advantage to have an academic leader of international standing, someone with strategic vision to see through the myriad issues domestically, nationally and globally,'' Mr Field said.

Professor Rathjen said nothing had been ruled out when it came to the changes facing higher education, and planning was under way for different scenarios. 

``The answers to what these changes mean for UTAS are going to be hard to find,'' he said.

He said it was too early to speculate where a loss in revenue would be picked up.

``We will model all possibilities and wait to see what comes,'' he said.

``If we can't charge higher fees, then in the end we lose our profitability and we have to start looking at cutting back on those parts of our business which are not financially viable,'' he said.

``There are plenty of parts of our business that are not financially viable, we're proud of them, such as those parts of our social mission to support Tasmanians.

``The real question is: can we continue to do that moving forward if we can't charge the same fees as other universities?'' he said.

University of Tasmania vice-chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen and chancellor Michael Field. Picture: GEORGIE BURGESS

University of Tasmania vice-chancellor Professor Peter Rathjen and chancellor Michael Field. Picture: GEORGIE BURGESS

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