University Breadth Comes Full Circle

30 November 2013

A joint carnival project with the City of Melbourne is the latest in Melbourne University’s attempts to make a Melbourne education more practical, following criticism of the theoretical nature of their degrees.

Farrago has learnt that Parkville will soon acquire the mechanical pieces of Docklands project the Southern Star Observation Wheel, which will form the basis of a cross-discipline student project. Under a deal with the Japanese company that has bought the wheel, students will be involved in the ride’s relaunch.

The Ferris wheel has been sitting inactive since its demise in 2009. Under the deal, the University will pay $50 million to the new Japanese owners for the broken parts, which will be transported to South Lawn on the Parkville campus for a summer breadth subject for Marketing, Commerce and Engineering Students entitled Full Circle: Spinning Cultural Artefacts. Over 12 weeks, students will engage in a reconstruction of the wheel, culminating in a launch on campus during June next year.

The Vice Chancellor’s Office believes the investment will provide valuable lessons for students.

“We are always on the lookout for projects that are bigger than our students, and what challenge is bigger than a smashed up, 120-metre steel structure?” a spokesperson told Farrago.

“We hope the project will be a metaphorical journey as well as an academic one. Being a student at the University of Melbourne is about dreaming large, and rotating to the top of your field for a short month before finding the cracks in the foundational structures of your education,” she said.

“Plus, upon completion we will be able to boast an extra 10 points in ‘recreational amenities’ for tertiary ranking systems. We’re doing everything to ensure we don’t dive from our number one position,” confided the close friend of the VC.

Students had mixed reactions to the plan. “I’m excited to learn from [visiting academic] and spin doctor Professor Bueller,” said one media and communications student. “They are charging us $20,000 in HECs, but it’s an intensive subject that will really take my learning full circle.”

Professor Bueller told Farrago the project would prove a welcome break from his advisory role to senior public servants.

“It will be a chance for students to move forward, not backwards, and I’ll be satisfied to see them twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom upon their graduation days,” he said.

Other students were more skeptical. “Are you listening to yourselves?” one student spun around to ask our reporter. “That’s fucked.”


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