13 December 2022Share
ACU has celebrated its second year of partnership with the Ramsay Centre.
ACU is one of just three universities in Australia to offer the unique Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) degree program, supported by the Ramsay Centre.
ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis hosted the Annual Ramsay Scholars dinner to celebrate the University’s unique Bachelor of Arts (Western Civilisation) degree program.
The event was attended by senior ACU executives, Ramsay Centre CEO Professor Simon Haines, ACU Western Civilisation Program Director Professor Robert Carver, Ramsay Centre board members, and teachers from the degree program.
Students Emily Nix and Nicholas Long spoke about the impact of the degree on their lives, while fellow scholars Abigail Adriano and Caleb Anderson entertained the audience with jazz and folk performances.
The Ramsay Centre and ACU entered a partnership in 2020 worth approximately $50 million over eight years.
The partnership will enable ACU to offer at least 150 undergraduate scholarships and hire world-class educators. Each ACU Ramsay Scholarship is worth $30,000 p.a. for up to five years, with scholars taught in small class groups with tailored academic mentoring.
Professor Skrbis expressed his gratitude to the Centre and the late Paul Ramsay AO for the generosity of the partnership and reported that interest in the BA (Western Civilisation) program had grown considerably since its launch in 2021, leading to the development of more related and combined degrees.
Professor Skrbis said extraordinary opportunities were available to ACU Ramsay Scholars, including studying for a semester at ACU’s Rome campus, participating in archaeological digs in Israel, and joining with fellow Ramsay Scholars from the University of Queensland and University of Wollongong on cultural excursions, like a recent visit to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.
“At the beginning of 2022 we launched the double degree BA (Western Civilisation)/Bachelor of Laws and our staff has since developed a second double degree combining the BA (Western Civilisation) with a Master of Teaching (Secondary),” Professor Skrbis said.
Ramsay Board Director Joe de Bruyn AO praised the degrees, saying the students would never regret their study which would give them “…a broad understanding of Western literature, arts, philosophy, politics, religion, history, and science, and how these have shaped the modern world, the way we live, our civil liberties, and our democracy.”
First year Ramsay Scholar Nicholas Long said the course had been challenging and had helped him truly engage with texts, to feel them and enjoy their hidden nuances rather than simply read them in search of obvious interpretations and answers. He said through this experience, he had come to view his life differently.
“In the space that existed between me and whatever it was that my attention was on, I found interest, I found beauty, I found people and things that I thought about in ways entirely new, catalysing waves of empathy and of appreciation for such minute phenomena,” Nicholas said.
“Aside from the great, world-changing ideas covered in the classroom, what this degree really is, is a study of something really, really importantly invisible, the spaces. The space between you and me, between you and your husband, your wife, your friends, your family. It’s finding meaning in the awfully common, everyday banalities.”
Second-year Ramsay Scholar Emily Nix said being part of the Western Civilisation program was one of the greatest privileges of her life, remarking that her world, comfort zone and curiosity had “expanded beyond recognition.”
“I will never look at the world, culture, and history the same because of this course,” she said. “The skills I have learnt to develop and hone throughout this course are invaluable. Every debate I’ll have, will be well backed by grace, empathy and experience and every conversation between friends and strangers alike will move from being ‘just another conversation’ to one that is built upon a rich and deep foundation of knowledge and tradition.”
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