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Top 100 : 2009
COVER STORY – TOP 100 AUSTRALIA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL ENGINEERS ACADEMIA / RESEARCH Gregory Hancock, 61 Dean of Engineering and Information Technologies, University of Sydney Structural engineer, University of Sydney P rofessor Gregory Hancock is happy with the faculty’s new master of professional engineering program which began this year. Th e degree allows graduates with a good grasp of maths and science to qualify as professional engineers. Of the 50 enrolled students, about a third are graduates from other disciplines such as science. Another third are engineers who want to switch disciplines. Th e rest are engineers from overseas who want to gain an Engineers Australia-accredited qualifi cation. The faculty has also had some success in addressing the gender imbalance in engineering courses. This year 23% of new students are female, compared to 19% last year. Hancock believes that offering courses Alan Finkel, 56 Chancellor of Monash University, Melbourne Electrical engineer, Monash University A s chancellor of Monash University, Dr Alan Finkel has led the search for the next vice-chancellor to replace Professor Richard Larkins. Th e new vice-chancellor, eminent neuroscientist Professor Edward Byrne, will take up his role next month. As patron of Monash’s alumni association, Finkel writes regular newsletter columns about the latest developments at the university. He feels it is important to engage alumni. He also sits on the board of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering and runs the academy’s Science and Technology Education Leveraging Relevance (STELR) project, which aims to increase science literacy in general and motivate some students to pursue careers in science or engineering. The program began last year in four schools and has now expanded to 30 schools. There are plans to spread it to every high school in the country. STELR is designed to work within the existing Year 9 and 10 science curricula and the federal government’s National Solar Schools program, Finkel said. Finkel is also a cofounder of Luna Media which publishes a science magazine called Cosmos. Last year, Publishers Australia presented him with an award for best analytical writing for his article on reverse-engineering the human brain. 52 52 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2009 ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA | JUNE 2009 Paul Greenfi eld, 62 Vice-Chancellor, University of Queensland, Brisbane Chemical engineer, University of NSW N ext month, Queensland University’s two engineering schools will divide into four: civil, mechanical and mining, electrical and IT, and chemical. Professor Paul Greenfield said the move reflects growing interest in engineering courses, with 900 new undergraduate students this year and about 4000 engineering students overall. To accommodate them, the university is constructing a new engineering building at its St Lucia campus, partly funded by the federal government. Last year, as a new initiative the university offered paid “fellowships” for undergraduate students from many disciplines to take part in research projects over the summer. Greenfield said the feedback has been “very positive” and the university is looking to expand the program this year. Another initiative was to encourage more overseas study. However, he said the number of students studying overseas through exchange programs has been rising only slowly, despite the university setting up the Office of Undergraduate Experience. At the same time, there has been some success in setting up internships overseas for students. Greenfield has been appointed to the advisory board of the Defence Science and Technology Organisation to offer “strategic advice” as a representative of academia and the research community. He is a member of several other boards and committees. that women want is more effective at raising enrolments than gender-inclusive policies. For example, about half of the 30 students that enrolled in the new civil engineering and architecture double degree are women.