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Monday, 17 August 2020 12:34

Monash IT faculty marks 30 years of research


The only dedicated Information Technology (IT) faculty in Australia’s coalition of the Group of Eight research universities - the Faculty of IT at Monash University - is marking its 30th anniversary in 2020.

Monash University’s IT Faculty was established in 1990 as the Faculty of Computing and IT by Professor Clifford Bellamy and now has more than 33,000 alumni across 155 countries, and a student cohort of almost 6,000.

The Group of Eight (Go8) comprises Australia’s leading research-intensive universities – the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, the University of Sydney, the University of Queensland, the University of Western Australia, the University of Adelaide, Monash University and UNSW Sydney.

“As a faculty, we have always been agile in times of change, and celebrated and explored the possibilities of disruptive technologies,” said Interim Dean of the Faculty of IT, Professor Ann Nicholson.

“Standing at the forefront of this next wave of transformation, we will continue to undertake ground-breaking research and collaborative projects to build better societies and shape our world.”

Monash Faculty of IT claims one of the largest IT student cohorts of any research-intensive university in the world, equiping learners with the “skills, confidence and industry expertise to drive change in the jobs of tomorrow”.

Recently appointed Deputy Dean (Research), Professor Maria Garcia de la Banda has been with the Faculty for over 25 years, and says: “Our biggest achievement to date has been our ability to continue to thrive in the face of adversity and upheaval. Thanks to the incredible work of the people within this faculty, we’ve been able to achieve outstanding success in both research and education.”

“We’ve continued to collaborate on world-leading projects that impact the world for good and have led the way in both cultural and gender diversity with the recent appointments of two women to senior faculty positions,” said Professor Garcia de la Banda.

Monash says continuing to collaborate with organisations that share the faculty’s mission - IT for social good - has “helped guide both industry and government through some of society's biggest challenges”.

“Recent transformative partnerships include with the Australian Federal Police to develop the AiLECS Lab which explores the use of AI technology in law enforcement and community safety applications. A primary focus of the lab has been developing machine learning tools to detect and classify highly distressing illegal online imagery,” the University notes.

"AI tools for the automated triage of abhorrent material will in the future speed investigations. It will also enhance police workplace safety, by going some way towards moderating exposure of law enforcement practitioners to this material,” said Dr Campbell Wilson, Associate Dean (International) of the Faculty of IT and AiLECS Lab Co-director.

The faculty says it is continuing to pave the way for women in IT, with 29% of the faculty’s student cohort being women – higher than the national average of 23% - and embracing equity, diversity and inclusion has been a focus for the faculty from the outset, with Pearl Levin first breaking down barriers for women in computing by becoming Executive Director of the Pearcey Centre for Computing in 1990.

“Looking to the future and beyond, the faculty continues to lead the way in innovative curriculum and pedagogy that produce world-class graduates. Professionals who are prepared to thrive in an unchartered post-pandemic world,” Professor Nicholson said.

“While new challenges will be faced, exciting opportunities are also on the horizon and the faculty’s mission to achieve social good through IT will be more critical than ever.”

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