School of Engineering and IT

School of Engineering and Information Technology

Dean's Newsletter

September 2018

Dean - Professor Bogdan Dlugogorski

Welcome to spring and the September edition of the School newsletter. This month, we farewell Dr Chris Creagh and Dr Jocelyn Armarego who both retired and Dr Gareth Lee, who resigned. Their combined wealth of knowledge and considerable expertise in the areas of physics, electrical engineering and information technology have provided our students with excellent teaching. Dr Creagh won a national award for teaching excellences and Dr Armarego and Dr Lee were both course coordinators. Whilst they will be sadly missed by colleagues across the School and University, we are confident that they will harness new opportunities, enjoy new adventures and will remain in touch with everyone as our Adjuncts.

Remember, whether you are a student, an academic, administrative or technical staff member, if you have a story to share please send it to the SEIT email - Please mention the article title in the subject line of the email.

If you are a student or staff reading this Newsletter, please let your friends and family know about Scholarships for Honours, Postgraduate degrees, details are included in the Newsletter.

Best wishes,

Bodzio Dlugogorski


Applications open for CommBank 2019 Graduate Program
Are you Eligible for a 'Murdoch First Scholarship'?
Scholarship for Scientific Excellence
Help Lead the Way to Clean Energy Storage
Apply for Honours and Postgraduate Courses
XVI International Conference - Surface Forces
Tech Startup - Weekend Speakspace
Legal Hackathon - An Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Africa Down Under Conference
Learning and Teaching Spotlight
WA University Poster Competition
Tertiary Education Management Conference (Temc) 2018



An invitation to suitable applicants for the CommBank 2019 Graduate Program has been issued to final year students and recent graduates, interested in working at Commonwealth Bank.

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Due to demand, applications are now open for certain streams of CommBank’s 2019 Graduate Program!

We’re looking for final year students, or recent graduates, from all disciplines who are interested in working at Australia’s biggest bank. Specifically, we’re hiring for our Business & Private Banking, Risk Management and Technology (Enterprise Services) streams.

Designed to attract the best and brightest, our Graduate Program is a challenging and rewarding way to kick-start a long-term career with us.

What can you expect?

  • Shine: Contribute from day one by working on real projects that impact our business and our customers, within Australia’s largest bank.
  • Develop: Participate in market-leading training to develop your technical and soft skills. This will help with the transition to full-time work from university and ensure you excel in your immediate and future roles.

Network: Build networks and friendships through unparalleled access to senior leaders, project leads and program sponsors, enhancing your personal and business profile.
Contribute: Give back to the community through graduate initiatives, driving positive change across our organisation and improving the wellbeing of our graduate cohort.

If this appeals to you, submit an application to us today!

For more information, please see our website or contact

Kind regards,
Campus Talent Acquisition Team

Article provided by Professor Graeme Hocking, Head of Discipline Mathematics and Statistics


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If you or someone you know is interested in continuing postgraduate study, see the opportunities available below:


To find out more go to


To find out more go to



Drew Parsons was invited to present a keynote lecture at the XVI International Conference on Surface Forces, held August 20-25 in Kazan, Russia. This conference is held every 4 years and brings together researchers from Europe, Japan, USA as well as Russia. Themes included ordering of colloidal particles and films, measurement of hydrophobic forces, surface roughness and hydrogels, production of detonation nanodiamonds, assembly of liquid crystals and calixerenes.

Drew's lecture was titled "Electrode Surface Forces: Modelling and Specific Ion Effects", where he presented a new perspective on the so-called "constant potential" boundary condition of surface forces. A theoretical analysis of the surface forces measured by a surface forces apparatus (SFA) or atomic force microscope (AFM) is traditionally handled by assuming the surface has either a constant electrostatic potential or a constant surface charge (with the actual force typically lying between these 2 cases). The constant charge condition has a plausible physical meaning and can be found, for instance, on the basal plane of mica platelets. But the constant potential condition is in general physically meaningless. Its usage arose as a nonphysical extrapolation of the mathematical boundary conditions used to solve the electrostatic Poisson equation involved in the system: the Dirichlet boundary condition (the constant charge condition is a Neumann boundary condition).

But the surface potential may be controlled in redox systems or in forces between electrodes subject to control by external electronic units. In this case, however, the surface potential is not determined in isolation. There is always a potential difference between the working electrode and the counterelectrode, with the potential difference determined by electronics or by redox conditions. In general, then, the "constant potential" condition should not be used. Instead, electrode surface forces should be understood as "constant potential difference".

The potential difference still needs to be split to individual electrode potentials, and the split may not be "50/50". Specific ion interactions, such as nonelectrostatic physisorption due to the van der Waals interaction of an ion with an electrode surface, may introduce a bias in the electrode potentials resulting in an asymmetric partitioning of the potential difference. The appropriate electrode potential can be established through conservation of electrons moving between electrodes.

However, if there is a large asymmetry in electrode surface area, the movement of electrons from the smaller electrode may not affect the surface charge density of the larger electrode. So the larger electrode, and consequently also the smaller electrode, maintains a constant electrode potential. That is, a physical meaning for the "constant potential" boundary condition can be found is a system with a massive counterelectrode, and identified as the limiting case of the more general "constant potential difference" condition.

Article submitted by Dr Drew Parsons


Aubrey Cason, Ose Isiramen and Jack Bridges from Engineering and Information Technology, along with Vanessa Rauland from Curtin University, and Maia, Sarah and Narelle, took part in the Tech Startup Weekend, July 29 to August 1st. Their SpeakSpace project, a tool to improve meeting participation and engagement, was awarded second prize, and they are continuing to develop their project.

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Article supplied by Jack Bridges


On the 24th – 25th of August, Murdoch had its inaugural Legal Hackathon, initiated and organised by Kashmirra Thevar as part of the Student’s as Change Agents of Learning and Teaching program. Students from the School of Law, Information Technology and Business and Governance collaborated to create innovative and scalable tech-based solutions to deficiencies in the legal industry. Students were mentored by lawyers from some of the top-tier law firms and industry experts in product design and data analytics.

The two-day event ended with a pitch night where the 6 teams presented a pitch deck to an all-star panel. The team that took home the ‘Best Idea’ award was Global Citizen – an app that notifies travelers on quirky and interesting travel laws to ensure compliance and a smooth experience when being a ‘global citizen’.

The Hackathon was a huge success and saw students embrace interdisciplinary collaboration to critically analyse the use of technology in advancing the delivery of legal services. Congratulations to Kashmirra, the participants, volunteers, staff, mentors and judges who made the event possible.

A huge congratulations to our IT competitors Michael Moody, Abdulrahman Tala Alrum, Manreen Kaur Badesha, Nicholas Maher, Josh Steffens, Alan Lim and Michael Moody. Also, a big thank you to our IT students Meg Atcheson, Abdullah Awan and Ash Silcock who volunteered their time to support Kashmirra and the competing teams.

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Student feedback included:

"The legal hackathon was a new experience for IT students and really challenged them at a level that they have not experienced before. It encouraged students from Law, IT, and Business disciplines to communicate and produce concepts that could potentially solve problems faced by Law firms as well as common Legal issues by using IT." Abdullah Awan

"As a volunteer for Murdoch's first Hackathon event, I was able to witness first-hand the sheer tenacity, excitement, and incredible teamwork from all the participants. I'm eagerly awaiting my turn to be a part of a team for the next event!" Meg Atcheson

Article submitted by Dianne Noonan


Staff members and postgraduate students from the Mineralogy and Extractive Metallurgy Department in the School of Engineering & IT, attended the recently held Africa Down Under Conference in Perth (29 August 2018 to 31 August 2018). The event is an annual event where players in the mining sector (mining companies, government agencies, mining services providers and other stakeholders) from Africa and Australia meet and network.

We had a lot of enquiries at the Murdoch University booth for both undergraduate and postgraduate placements. Our patrons engaged some in a wide-range of issues and including enquiries on the possibility of offering mining engineering & geology related programs and boldly asked if we had plans to set up an African Campus (Education is big business in Africa, so far Monash University has a campus in Johannesburg & Curtin University has set up a campus in Mauritius).

On Wednesday, Dr Hans Oskierski, Thamsanqa Ncube and myself, Kudzai A. Mchibwa, attended and participated in an interesting panel discussion hosted by Murdoch University : Third Commission on Africa - Extractive Industries Symposium. The very lively and interactive session was co-facilitated by Mr Maximilian Jarret, Honorary Fellow at Murdoch University and former Director-in-charge of the Africa Progress Panel Secretariat and Mr David Doepel, Chair of the Africa Research Group at Murdoch University and as well as Chair of Africa Australia Research Forum. The challenges, opportunities and mechanisms needed for Africa to realise the value of full beneficiation of her resources were delved into with Professor Kevin Urama, Senior Advisor to the President of the Africa Development Bank, providing telling insights. Prof Urama has been recently appointed to the Vice Chancellor’s External Advisory Board, as one of the thought leaders who will provide valuable advice, insights and support for the future success of the University. Professor David Morrison, DVC Research and Innovation summed up the deliberations by mapping the next step as outlining concrete steps which will help Africa create what is best for herself and the society. He encouraged corporates and the society alike to consider the Nudge Theory and be ‘nudged’ into creating more socially integrated and responsible environments for Africa.

The event was also a platform for networking and we managed to establish a number of contacts including with one Australian company which began lithium mining in Zimbabwe recently and is looking at producing lithium carbonate. Another company is hoping to establish collaborative links with Murdoch University regarding the use of artificial intelligence in mining operations. In addition to the keynote Address given by the Minister of Mines Hon. Bill Johnston MLA, there was a rich mix of panel discussions, presentations by African ministers seeking mining investments and networking lunch and cocktail functions such as the Women in Leadership Lunch hosted by Senator Hon. Linda Reynolds.

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Article submitted by Kudzai A. Mchibwa – PhD Candidate (Extractive Metallurgy)


Understanding Learning Outcomes 

Most of us came to our academic jobs through the pathway of discipline expertise. The vast majority of us have no formal training in education or teaching, we were simply expected to know what to do when we started working as academics. There are plenty of resources and opportunities for us to learn about learning and teaching, but we are also very pressed for time and find it difficult to avail ourselves of these.

As ADLT, I sit on committees where course and unit level learning outcomes are scrutinised and often criticised. Whenever I get the chance, I advocate for academics when they are being criticised in these forums. Reminding the critics to respect academics for the discipline expertise that got them their jobs, to cut us some slack for not knowing everything about education and teaching, and that not taking professional learning opportunities is mostly about being busy, not lazy or disinterested. While acknowledging these factors, we do work in education and ultimately have to develop our learning and teaching knowledge and skills. This includes the use of learning outcomes.

The next time you are faced with writing or refining learning outcomes (required ones for the handbook or even topic specific ones for your units), you are not alone. The Murdoch website has some helpful information about how to write learning outcomes. I found it by typing ‘learning outcomes’ in the search bar, but the link is below. You can also get in touch with me to discuss learning outcomes if you like.

Using the word ‘understand’ is the most common aspect of learning outcomes that I have seen come under fire. We academics roll our eyes and ask why on earth we would not want our students to understand something. Of course we want students to understand the concepts in our units and courses. The issue with this word is its lack of specificity. The question we need to ask ourselves when writing learning outcomes is: 09 learning outcomes.jpeghow will students demonstrate their understanding of this concept? Hence the use of key verbs that commonly appear in learning outcomes.

Writing learning outcomes can certainly be a chore, but there are resources available to help. While they are necessary for quality assurance purposes, learning outcomes are also helpful to focus attention on what we are trying to achieve in our units and courses.

Image from:

Article submitted by Dr Kate Rowen


The WA University Poster Competition is a great opportunity for the graduate and postgraduate students who are working on a topic related to Electrical and Energy. Students can present their achievements and capabilities to peers, academics and industry, which is a great chance for them to show off their knowledge and make an effective link to industries. The registration is free but with cash prizes of $1,200 for top four posters. Printing of your posters will be provided as well. Australian Power Institute will award $100 to each student who presents a poster paper at this event on Monday 29th October. For winners, this award will be given in addition to any prizes won for placing.

Dr Ali Arefi is the coordinator of this event at Murdoch University. Please fill in the registration form, found in the website, and send it back to Ali by 8 October 2018 at:

You can find more information on the following webpage:


The Association for Tertiary Education Management (ATEM) and Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA) together hosted the 2018 TEMC Conference in Perth at the Crowne Conference Centre from 12th to 15th September. TEMC is the only conference in the tertiary sector that covers the full range of functions in tertiary institutions and is designed to allow delegates to build strong networks across Australia and New Zealand (and indeed beyond). The focus of the conference is practitioner based, allow the sharing of knowledge and know-how from within the sector and for industries and business that support the sector.

The theme for the 2018 TEMC Conference was “A world of opportunity” and explored the future of high education in Australian and New Zealand and how we can utilise the opportunities presented to us to make the transition to a global context happen.

Following the plenary address by Rebecca Hall, Senior Industry Expert – International Education with Austrade, the Vice Chancellor Panel took place with the theme “Universities in the Age of the Learner”. Professor Leinonen together with Vice Chancellors and Deputy Vice Chancellors from Notre Dame University, Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and UWA all provided their thoughtful insight into the future of universities in a national and global context.

With 8 concurrent sessions to choose from under the themes of “The Service Revolution”, “Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability”, “Working together to realise Big Ideas” to “Transformational Leadership” the selection of sessions was vast, interesting and thought provoking. Some of the sessions included:

  • Do academic workload models improve effectiveness? Presented by LH Martin, University of Southern Queensland, Monash University and Deakin University the session gave different perspectives of academic workload modelling, systems and metrics
  • So, you want to be a Faculty Manager??!! Presented by Queensland University of Technology and University of Technology Sydney this session gave an insight into organisational structures, what management ‘at the top’ looks like at these institutions and what attributes of a good leader are required to hold such a position. Very interesting hearing different perspectives.
  • Keynote presentation by Steven Sammartino – Education in a zero barrier world. What will the children of the future expect from higher education as the physical global barriers to tertiary education fall.
  • Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. So in walks STRATEGY! Presented by the Western Sydney University this session provided insight into how strategy, vision and action are all interlinked and which comes (or should come) first.

The conference ended with the Keynote Presentation by the ever engaging, entertaining and extremely knowledgeable, Adam Spencer who presented on maths and the impact of maths in society.

After attending 18 sessions over 3 days, we came away feeling tired, yes, however more importantly reinvigorated and energised full of new ideas for the future.

Article submitted by Rebecca Treloar-Cook, School Manager