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The Faculty takes shape

Hunt’s early vision

Ken Hunt had a strong, clear vision for the Faculty. Looking back, the earliest glimpses of his vision can be seen in this first set of staff appointments. He had gathered together a group of experts with a combination of industry and traditional university experience, each with a specialist area of expertise. Already his staff complemented each other with a combination of academic training and the practical experiences of the industry sector – it was precisely this combination that was to characterise the Monash Faculty of Engineering.

Each of the new appointments was a specialist in a particular strand or sub-discipline of engineering. This was another tactical move from Hunt. Sinclair was appointed Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, Crisp in Mechanical Engineering, Phillips in Electrical Engineering and Murray in Civil Engineering. There were two main reasons Hunt took this approach. The first, as another early academic appointment to the Faculty, Bill Brown, recalls, was to get the first teaching programs off the ground – each of the Senior Lecturers taught in the areas of his own expertise for the first few years of the Faculty’s existence.

The second reason behind Hunt’s appointment of specialist Senior Lecturers relates to his overall vision for the Faculty. Hunt strove to establish a unified Faculty structure with hubs, or clusters, of teaching and research coordinated by scholars with specific areas of expertise. In Hunt’s Faculty there would be no stand-alone departments with boundaries and divisions. There would be an expert in thermodynamics who taught subjects on thermodynamics and conducted research into the area, rather than a specific department of thermodynamics. Frank Lawson, another early appointee to the Faculty, commented that ‘Ken Hunt's view was that he wanted an open faculty … rather than departmental breakdowns’. The Faculty would continue to expand and additional appointments would be made according to Hunt’s plans – expert Senior Lecturers would be joined by expert Professors and teaching and research within the Faculty would flourish.