Moving the Boundaries of UQ Entomology

Margaret Schneider


The University of Queensland is unique in providing Australia’s only specialist entomology teaching program. Undergraduate and postgraduate coursework degrees as well as research higher degrees are offered. Our historically low enrolment numbers in coursework subjects have allowed us to offer highest quality education but this practice is not sustainable given current funding restraints. On 1 January 1999, the two existing Departments of Entomology and Zoology were amalgamated. The Faculty and new Department of Zoology and Entomology have a verbal and written commitment to maintaining the national role and international reputation of Entomology at UQ. However a consequence of the amalgamation is that where Zoology and Entomology used to each have a set of discipline-specific subjects, the Faculty now requires one composite set of subjects. We are being forced to dramatically cut the number of Entomology subjects we can offer and are already struggling to maintain what we consider to be the core undergraduate subjects for good training of Australia’s future entomologists.

To overcome these problems we are developing a flexibly delivered curriculum in Entomology at the undergraduate and coursework postgraduate levels. To date ‘flexibly delivered’ has equated fairly loosely with remote or external. We have been offering a few subjects to ‘off-campus’ students since the beginning of 1998. Included in these have been two subjects offered through Open Learning Australia. This year we are working to improve the subjects we already offer and develop additional ones. By the end of 2000 we will have our second year and core third year subjects of our curriculum available for non-classroom based enrolment.

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