9 January 1998

Professor Andrew Lister intends his University of Queensland faculty to be an exciting and stimulating environment for staff to work and for students to study.

Professor Andrew Lister, appointed as Executive Dean, Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture from early January, said his vision was for the faculty to be a place of high quality intellectual activities and ideas.

'In my view, this is what good universities are all about - a view which can sometimes be lost in financially difficult times,' he said.

'In an area of declining government funding for universtities, the only way to retain world class standing in teaching and research is to obtain alternative sources of funding.

'These could include international students, contract research, and through closer links with industry. I'll be working with departments and centres to achieve this.'

Professor Lister said one way of strengthening industry links would be for University of Queensland engineering undergraduates to undertake internships in industry.

He said the University would explore the concept of industry internships for one or two semesters under some kind of sandwich arrangement.

'The University has been very successful in collaborative schemes with industry such as SPIRT (Strategic Partnerships with Industry - Research and Training), because of the relevance of our projects to industry,' he said.

'We were the third highest revenue earner nationally in the 1998 SPIRT scheme which brings together Australian Research Council Collaborative Research Grants; and the Australian Postgraduate Awards (Industry) and Australian Postdoctoral Fellowships (Industry) schemes.

'These projects have all been at levels of postdoctorate and above. We believe engineering internships at undergraduate level will advance the high level of collaboration between university researchers and eligible industry partners and make our graduates even more aware of industry requirements.'

Professor Lister said he was fortunate to inherit a Faculty with great strengths in teaching and research. The Faculty, which has a $30 million budget, covers 667 staff and 3335 students in the Schools of Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Information Technology, and Mathematical and Physical Sciences.

'One of the first priorities will be to carry through the recommendations of the national review of engineering education initiated by Professor John Simmons, who is also faculty deputy Executive Dean,' Professor Lister said.

'As part of the review, the Faculty will reduce over-teaching and I would like to see teaching quality improve to even higher standards.

'We will be working towards a new course structure to be implemented by 2001 across the University, and approved by the Academic Board last year.'

The new system will replace the current credit point system with a new course structure based on units of common values across all courses and subjects. The new system provides for standardised work loads and simplified course structures, making for better understanding by new and potential students.

Professor Lister said the Engineering, Physical Sciences and Architecture Faculty had developed many areas of research excellence.

'I would like to increase their number so there are more areas one could unequivocally say were the best in the country and competitive internationally,' he said.

Professor Lister is targeting an increased number of international students and further 'two-way street' opportunities for University of Queensland students to study abroad as part of their courses.

Professor Lister, who last year was president of the University's Academic Board, succeeds Professor Paul Greenfield, who has been appointed University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research).

A Cambridge graduate in mathematics and computer science, Professor Lister worked in two English universities before joining the University of Queensland in 1976. He headed the Computer Science Department for 13 years from 1982 to 1994 before his appointment as Academic Board deputy president and subsequently as president.

His research interests are in distributed computer systems, and he is author or co-author of three books and numerous academic papers.

Academic Board deputy president Professor Cindy Gallois succeeds Professor Lister as president pending a new election within the next few weeks.

For further information, contact Professor Lister, telephone 07 3365 3329.