About UsFrequently Asked Questions

ABOUT THE RAMSAY CENTRE

 What is the purpose/objective of the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation?

  • Our formal goal, as expressed in the Centre’s constitution, and as envisaged by our remarkable benefactor, the late Mr Paul Ramsay, is “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”.
  • We emphasise “partnership” as courses cannot be developed until universities agree to them following their own internal processes.

 Why do you think this program will be a game changer?

  • This is all about teaching and learning: a unique and exciting educational opportunity for undergraduate students. They will be able to study the great texts of western civilisation (including art and music) in small groups of 6-8, in a sequential arrangement developing an integrated sense of traditions of thought and art going back 2,500 years.  At no cost to the tax payer!
  • This model is relatively common in the United States but is unusual in Australia.
  • At least 150 generous scholarships will be offered to students in each partner university for study in the program. There will be up to three partners. So at least 450 scholarship recipients.
  • Students will be able to use the scholarships to complete not just a BA in Western Civilisation, but an honours program in a different subject of their choice, or a second degree.  Depending on the university partner a student could take a degree in Western Civilisation and Indigenous Studies, or Western Civilisation and Asian Studies, (or Law, or Business…..).
  • Ramsay is looking for scholarship students with diverse backgrounds who will be able to give back to their communities.
  • Some University partners may also wish to open up the degree to non-scholars.
  • See “Why take this Degree” on this website

Are you a think tank?

No.We are not funded to carry out independent research or produce policy papers.  We are not connected in any way to IPA or other existing think tanks.

How can sitting members of Parliament be seated on your Board?

It is common for MPs and Senators to contribute in an advisory capacity on many community, education and philanthropic boards.

I would like to contribute to the Centre. How can I assist?

There are a number of ways to contribute to the Ramsay Centre.  Apart from the University partnerships and under graduate scholarships we are developing a Public Outreach Program.  Please email (info@ramsaycentre.org) to enquire about opportunities.

Can the Ramsay Centre assist with the funding of my project? Are you able to partner with my association?

The Centre is not a deductible gift recipient (DGR) (under the Taxation Act) so is unable at this time to assist with providing funds for projects outside our remit or conduct activities outside our scholarship fund rules. 

UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIPS

 What is the benefit to Universities in partnering with the Ramsay Centre? 

  • This is an unprecedented opportunity to revitalise the Humanities in Australia. Funding will be made available for the employment of significant numbers of academic staff as well as scholarships – the funding being entirely subject to normal university hiring practices.
  • Depending on what’s agreed with each partnering university, staff may be able to teach in other courses too.
  • They will receive sabbatical funding to pursue their own independent research.

Who decides on the curriculum?

  • The remit of the Centre is to partner with a select group of universities, in order to create a new degree, along the lines of the classical liberal arts degrees offered at such institutions as Columbia and St John’s Colleges in the United States, but adapted to the structures and requirements of contemporary Australian degrees.
  • The Ramsay Centre has invited selected universities in Australia to propose curricula that fit this description. Any new degree would go through our partnering universities’ usual processes for development including final approval by Academic Boards.
  • A purely indicative sketch of a curriculum can be found on this website under BA Degrees.

Aren’t many of these courses already taught in universities?

Arts faculties are financially stretched. While there are courses in “western” subjects they are not integrated into a holistic structure. Many of these listed are not actually taught.

Is the Ramsay Centre committed to Academic freedom? 

The Ramsay Centre is absolutely committed to academic freedom and university autonomy.  This is a fundamental bastion of western civilisation itself. Final curriculum and hiring decisions will rest with the university. 

What universities are you negotiating with?

In October 2017 we invited a significant number of universities to propose their own curriculum along the broad lines referred to above.   A majority responded and most of these are still under consideration. 

Is the Ramsay Centre considering setting up its own liberal arts institution like the liberal arts colleges in the US?  

The Ramsay Centre is not considering setting up its own liberal arts institution. Nor will the Centre exist as a unit within universities.  It simply funds degrees.

I am an academic. Can I apply to teach this course?

Academic appointments can only be made by our partnering universities. The Ramsay Centre will be represented on a selection panel but will have no determining voice in appointments.

ABOUT THE PROPOSED UNDERGRADUATE DEGREE 

The study of western civilisation: why take this degree? 

See “Why take this Degree” on this website. The degree will develop to a high degree your ability to analyse and articulate complex structures of thought.

How is this BA specifically different from existing degrees? 

The BA (Western Civilisation) will enable students to consider western civilisation as an object of study itself, through a close, integrated reading of a number of canonical works from multiple disciplines – literature, history, philosophy, religion, politics and economics, art and music, and so on. While many great works of western civilisation find a place in different university departments in Australia, a ‘core curriculum’ in the humanities, integrating multiple disciplinary perspectives, is currently not on offer in Australia’s largest universities.

What skills will I acquire after completing an Arts Degree?

See “message to the business community” on this website. We believe high level humanities-type understanding is vital to business, policy and media organisations alike.

What is the structure of the degree?

  • This will be developed with each university partner. However the core of the degree may for example comprise up to 16 ‘great texts’ courses typically taken over three years, with an additional Honours year sequence open to outstanding students. 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 ‘great texts’ programs consider works from a variety of genres or disciplines (predominately works of literature, history, philosophy, religion, politics, architecture, art and music).  This is an interdisciplinary course.

What is the proposed pedagogy of the degree?

The program aims to create active learners engaged with primary texts in small classes. Students will work closely with their cohort over several years.

Can I study your course as a distance education student?

At this stage, there are no plans for distance education. Face-to-face discussion is a key part of the envisaged academic programs.

Is the course available part time?

We imagine so, but this will be a decision for our partnering universities. 

How can I apply to enrol in the degree?

Further information on the program will be available on our partner university websites once agreement has been reached.

What is the annual scholarship value?

This has yet to be finalised, but it will be one of the most generous undergraduate scholarships in the country and may be awarded for up to a maximum of 5 years, including for degrees and courses taken in conjunction with ours.

How many scholarships will be offered?

Generally, up to 30 scholarships will be available per year for newly enrolled students. Depending on the University partnership agreed, there may also be extra scholarships available for students to join the program in their second year of study in those cases where the degree is open to non-scholars in year 1.

What are the eligibility requirements for the undergraduate scholarships?  

These will be determined in collaboration with the partner university but it is likely that the awards will be available each year to prospective students who:

  1. are Australian citizens or permanent residents
  2. are enrolled/enrolling in the BA (Western Civilisation) or a flexible double degree including the BA (Western Civilisation);
  3. are in Year 12, or have recently completed Year 12 and not yet commenced university level study;
  4. are aged 16 to 21 upon commencement of their program;
  5. have achieved a high ATAR score (including UAC Educational Access Scheme bonus points); and
  6. may have other achievements or potential.

What is the application process for the undergraduate scholarship?

The scholarship recipients will be selected through a comprehensive process combining ATAR score, a written application and interview. The process will be based on academic merit, but also personal attributes.

A selection committee, comprising representatives from our partner universities and the Ramsay Centre, will review all written applications (which may include video presentation), before inviting a select number of applicants to interview.

Who will teach the proposed degree?

Pending an agreement with each university partner it is proposed that academic and professional staff will be employed by the universities to teach and administer the program. The positions will be fully funded.  Applications will be by normal university processes

ABOUT POSTGRADUATE OPPORTUNITIES

What post graduate programs are available for study? 

Our postgraduate scholarships at Masters or PhD level will be for study at international universities.
It is envisaged that up to 25 Ramsay Postgraduate Scholarships will be offered nationwide each year.

The scholarships will be generous, comparable to existing prestige awards such as the Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford or the Monash Scholarships.

It is anticipated that the post graduate programs will be available from 2020 onwards.

For further information see post graduate scholarships on our website.

How do you apply for a postgraduate scholarship?

Information on how to apply will be updated on our website in the near future.

What are the criteria to apply for a postgraduate scholarship?

Applicants will need to show:

  • Evidence of high academic achievement through completion of an undergraduate degree as above;
  • Evidence of significant leadership and/or community contribution and/or talent outside the academic field during the undergraduate years or before. Examples would be including music, theatre and debating; sports; active participation in charitable activities and projects; and entrepreneurial activities;
  • Outstanding academic (2) and personal (2) references; and
  • Evidence of Australian citizenship.

For further information see a link post graduate scholarships on our website

ABOUT SUMMER SCHOOL

I am interested in your summer program.  What will I study and how do I apply? 

The Ramsay Centre hosted it’s first summer program  in January 2019 where students heard lectures and attended seminars on various aspects of western civilisation including some of its great texts (which they read from).

The students participated in rich discussion sessions throughout the Summer School.

To hear more on our Summer Program, please visit this page and to apply for the 2020 Summer Program, please submit your application here.

ABOUT PUBLIC OUTREACH PROGRAMS 

What outreach programs do you have for non-students? 

We are still developing our Public Outreach Programs.  To date we have established a Distinguished Speakers Program.  Australian and international speakers will be from various walks of life and will include politicians, academics, business leaders and others.  Our selected speakers will present from their particular discipline on our western heritage.

There are a number of other initiatives under development, these will be added to our website when finalised. 

How do I apply to attend your public events?

Please email your contact details directly to Jannene.stephens-roberts@ramsaycentre.org to be added to our invitation lists.

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You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation "
- Plato