Wednesday, 1 August 2012


“Freedom of inquiry, freedom of discussion, and freedom of teaching - without these a university cannot exist” - Robert Maynard Hutchins 

The weather in Brisbane has been glorious. Sunny, warm and fine with at least some opportunity in between meetings to walk around a little and enjoy the sunshine. This is the benefit of a subtropical Brisbane winter compared to our cold, wet and gray Melbourne one. However, it is quite nice for a week or two but I still prefer the definite Winter weather and the distinction of the seasons we get in the more Southern latitudes of Melbourne.

I have been extremely busy with work and with the visits to various campuses of Universities here in Brisbane. At least, the meetings have been interesting and I have met with some very intelligent academics and have had some useful discussions. All is going very well...

Griffith University is where I am spending most of my time, and this is a public research university in the southeastern region of the Australian state of Queensland. The university has five satellite campuses located in the Gold Coast, Logan City and in the Brisbane suburbs of Mount Gravatt, Nathan and South Bank. Current total enrollment is approximately 43,000 with 4,000 full-time equivalent staff. Griffith University offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees across ten discipline areas including Arts, Education, Business, Health, Law, Engineering, Information Technology, Environment, Music and Visual Arts.

In 1965, 174 hectares of natural bushland at Nathan were set aside for a new University campus. Initially the site was to be part of the University of Queensland which was experiencing strong demand in humanities and social sciences. However, by 1970, a new institution was being suggested, this to be independent of the University of Queensland. The university was formally founded in 1971 and opened its doors in 1975 to 451 students in four schools: Australian Environmental Studies, Humanities, Modern Asian Studies and Science.

The University started with its Nathan campus, and several of its campuses are distinctive for their nature-based settings within large urban agglomerations. Buildings were designed to fit into the environment by following the slope of the land and by using architectural means of cooling. The library building was designed by Robin Gibson and won the first national award for library design. The clusters of buildings, sports facilities, bushland reserves and recreational areas are connected by integrated networks of walking paths.

The university was distinguished by its “problem-based” rather than disciplinary approach to course design and research. The University is named after the former Premier of Queensland, and High Court of Australia justice, Sir Samuel Walker Griffith, who was also the principal author of the Australian constitution. The QS World University Rankings places Griffith in the 291st place amongst universities in the world.

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