Turning DoTS into university degrees

Federation University is establishing itself as an “open access policy” institution integrating coursework geared to help students transition into university learning.

Monash University Gippsland’s Diploma of Tertiary Studies (DoTS) program – once providing a one-year alternative pathway to students who did not meet the requirements for direct entry into a Monash bachelor degree – is being incorporated into FedUni degrees.

FedUni Gippsland head of campus Harry Ballis said the DoTS program was an attempt to get around the policies of Monash.

“It worked for a while for us, but because Federation University has an open access policy, the access is so much easier than the DoTS.

“It almost means we’ve blasted the walls apart so students can actually come into the place,” Dr Ballis said.

The DoTS program founded at the Gippsland campus 13 years ago will no longer be offered as a pathway.

But two of its core units will be embedded into the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees – and offered as an elective in most other degrees at FedUni’s Gippsland and Ballarat campuses.

The two units in the newly named Embedded Academic Transition hopes to give students the appropriate study skills and attitudes to succeed in university.

Former director of the DoTS program and incoming lecturer and coordinator of the EAT courses, Stuart Levy said the two subjects would be gradually phased in over the next 12 months.

Dr Levy said FedUni was more interested in prerequisite subjects in VCE rather than fixating on the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) score.

He said statistics conducted last year by Monash University pro vice-chancellor (social inclusion) showed diploma students had the highest retention rate at the university, above average completion rates and average marks that were on par with other students.

“Federation University wanted to capitalise on the success of the DoTS program and broaden it so its preparatory subjects were available to all students,” Dr Levy said.

“We’re teaching students to be successful at university. They don’t have to come to us with high scores – this is where the DoTS subjects come into play – it gives them the skills they need at university rather than requiring them to have the skills when they first arrive.”