IT Faculty commemorates 30 years of innovation and excellence

As the only dedicated Information Technology (IT) faculty in the Group of Eight universities, the Faculty of IT at Monash University continues to lead the way in research and education, while pushing the boundaries of digital innovation.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Monash University’s IT Faculty, which was established in 1990 as the Faculty of Computing and IT by Professor Clifford Bellamy.

Over the past three decades, the Faculty has made great contributions to society through innovation, world-class expertise and dedicated students, using interdisciplinary approaches as a vehicle for social good.

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

With more than 33,000 alumni across 155 countries, and a student cohort of almost 6,000, the faculty has always prepared its students to become empowered,socially-conscious professionals. With one of the largest IT student cohorts of any research-intensive university in the world, the Faculty of IT equips learners with the skills, confidence and industry expertise to drive change in the jobs of tomorrow. Expanding opportunities across borders, students will soon be able to study a range of postgraduate courses as part of the newly established Monash Indonesia Campus.

Recently appointed Deputy Dean (Research), Professor Maria Garcia de la Banda has been with the Faculty for over 25 years and is most proud of its members’ resilience and hard work.

“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.

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.

"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.

Other significant cross-disciplinary collaborations have seen the Faculty contribute to the Monash Data Futures Institute and the Monash Energy Institute, specifically involved in the RACE for 2030 and Building 4.0 CRCs.

The faculty is continuing to pave the way for women in IT, with 29 per cent of the faculty’s student cohort being women – higher than the national average of 23 per cent. 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.”