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New Age Psychology: Pyschology Of The Virtual

New course available for Monash students in Gippsland

By Helen Kennedy - 5th November 2002 - Back to News

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The combination of Psychology, Information Technology, Engineering and Philosophy will now be made available uniquely to Monash University Gippsland Campus, situated in Churchill, under the Bachelor of Cognitive Science.

Dr. Dianne Wuillemin and Dr. Barry Richardson developed a course for "the study of thinking in both humans and machines," says Richardson. After the final approval in July 2002, it is set for graduates to be presented with career opportunities in such fields as artificial intelligence, cybernetics and robotics and information technology.

After organising and financial support from the Head of School, Harry Ballis, this degree will fall under his school the Facility of Arts, who is "delighted to have it." The first student intake will be in 2003, the total number of students being 20 – 25, "it is one of the elite programs," says Ballis. He expects the students will experience a lot of hands on work and as the research laboratories grow so will the intake of students.

"It is certainly unusual for students at a regional campus to have available to them something that’s academically innovative and exciting when it’s not available on the metropolitan campuses," says Wuillemin. With the expectations for this course to expand it will never go beyond the Gippsland campus. "I am as greedy as hell," says Ballis whose future expectations lie with a larger government grant in partnership with the industry that would allow the university to build a larger research centre, "almost like Dr. Who labs."

With the Facility of Arts providing financial backing for the initial development and advertising it was due to the Federal Government for the large amount of money. Richardson and Wuillemin applied for funding under a Government grant and earlier this year received $360,000 to build a Centre for Cognitive Science and Human Bionics. "This research centre and the degree will compliment each other," says Richardson who believes student will gain most out of this course by being able to complete their PHD at Gippsland with a complete research centre at hand.

With a wide range of benefits for Monash’s Gippsland campus covering both finance and student intake it is with the local region that the real benefits will be seen. Ballis says, "the government has vowed to make it (Gippsland) a high tech region of Australia. Gippsland needs activities that encourage researchers and students to come here, as well as to stay." Richardson agrees "that it is quite important to the region. It has been supported by all the facilities of all the schools at this campus and will work better here than elsewhere because of the cooperation among the Gippsland schools that are harder to find at other universities."

With Monash Gippsland set to enter into an independent area of study, 2003 looks to be an exciting year for both students and lecturers at Gippsland.


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