The science and engineering of computing, electronic, biomedical and mechanical machinery is undergoing an unprecedented convergence. It is no longer unusual for multidisciplinary teams to be involved from the outset of scientific discovery to the final engineered product. Computer scientists need to know about hardware and networking; engineers often need advanced programming skills. Mathematics is a core discipline in both engineering and computing. The School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics (CSEM) reflects this by combining the different disciplines into one School, thus eliminating the often arbitrary boundaries that can be created by separating them.
Our courses, and the way they are structured and taught, also reflect this. Movement between degrees is relatively easy and graduates of our courses, and in ICT disciplines generally, are in great demand - see, for example, the CSEM Fact Sheet CSEM_Fact_Sheet.pdf (PDF 3MB) (Sources - Engineers Australia, APESMA, AIIA, ACS, DEEWR, 2001 and 2006 Australian Census).
The advantages of a joint School containing all ICT and Engineering disciplines is significant. There are fewer impediments to developing innovative courses or research programs that cut across boundaries. Examples are computational/discrete mathematics, software engineering, internet networks, and signal and image processing. At the present time, almost half of the School's teaching and research activities cut across the old traditional boundaries.
The School is following a strategic growth path. The School currently comprises over 70 staff and around 750 students ... and is growing fast. The School is located within the Faculty of Science and Engineering, one of the four faculties of the University.
Following a thorough external review in 2007, a decision was taken to expand the Engineering programs offered by the School. We now offer eleven undergraduate Engineering awards including biomedical, electronic, electrical and mechanical. The Computer Science and Information Technology area is also growing with the addition of a new degree in 2014 - a Bachelor of Information Technology (Network Systems) - to the existing Information Technology, Digital Media and Computer Science degrees. A separate review of Mathematics has resulted in the new Bachelor of Mathematical Science. All of these degrees have been warmly accepted with Flinders engineering applications hitting an all time high, and SATAC recording a record number of applications for its awards. This year, our first year engineering cohort increased by 40% after a 50% rise the year before and is likely to rise again next year.
The School interacts strongly with industry. All our engineering students, for example, undertake a nationally recognised 20-week work placement in 3rd year and which is also available as an option to our information technology and computer science students. Over Engineering Industry Placement Organisations (PDF 168KB) are regularly involved. In addition our School has an external, industry-dominated industry advisory committee making our courses relevant and industry focussed.
Having almost the whole of the University (over 17,000 students) on one campus means that we can provide facilities not normally available on smaller campuses. Our students and staff can interact with other disciplines more readily - sometimes formally, for example, through students being able to take minors in areas as diverse as French or Chemistry. Sometimes informally, through the University's student activities or simply a cup of coffee on the Plaza. This interaction often leads to multi-disciplinary collaboration. For example, CSEM staff and students are currently undertaking research with medicine, psychology, biological sciences, screen studies and education.
A New Campus at Tonsley
The School is currently located in two purpose-built buildings on the picturesque Bedford Park Campus at Australia's Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. However in 2015, the School will move to a purpose-built $120M, 16,000 sqm building at Tonsley in a move that will represent a new era in industry interaction and provide the School will substantial space to grow.
This is an exciting time for the School. If you would like to be a part of it, please contact us.