Past Heads of School
- 1946-1966 Eric O. Willoughby
- 1966-1972 Jack L. Woodward
- 1973-1979 Robert E. Bogner
- 1979-1992 Donald W. Griffin
- 1992-1999 Anthony M. Parker
- 2000-2001 Ken W. Sarkies
- 2001-2010 Michael J. Liebelt
- 2010-present Cheng-Chew Lim
Eric Willoughby was a gradute of Melbourne University with a B.E. (Civil), B.E. (Electrical) and M.A. (Mathematics). He spent a year studying for a dipoma at Imperial College, London, and was subsequently employed for 12 years with Standard Telepones and cables (STC) on research and development in such areas as antennas, transmitters and communications systems.
During the 1930s he spent a great deal of time in India, Malaya and surrounding countries supervising the construction and installation of large radio transnmitters and communication links. During World War II he was responsible for the design and production of advanced communications equipment used by the armed forces.
Professor Willoughby was appointed the foundation Professor of Electrical Engineering at The University of Adelaide in 1946. He introduced and developed courses in communications, electronics, antennas, acoustics, automatic control and power engineering. In many cases the source of equipment was war disposals.
His stimulus and ability to obtain support from government and private industry led to the development and construction within the department of: (i) a high-voltage impulse generator, 1950 (ii) and analog computer, 1951 (iii) a dynamic AC network analyser, 1959 and (iv) a digital computer (CIRRUS), 1960-63.
He also spurred interest in the biomedical engineering field, resulting in the development of a lesion generator for the treatment of Parkinson's disease (a technique that is still in use by modern neurosurgeons), an electrical plethysmograph (for study of the penis), and interdisciplinary studies on mammalian olfactory systems.
His interest in antennas was almost legendary, with antenna models of all shapes and sizes being constructed at various times and tested using the antenna platform on top of the Engineering building.
He also took great interest in radio-wave propagation and the effect of meteorological conditions. In the 1970s he supervised experimental work on links operating between Port Stanvac and Kangaroo Island and across Aldinga Bay.
His later interests were in the field of navigation systems for air, land and sea craft. An amusing Willoughby anecdote is that he presented a proposal for an aircraft landing system, before the Aviation Authority, that involved placing transceiver towers either side of each runway. When questioned about the possible landing hazards this arrangement would cause, Willoughby nonchalantly replied: "Well, you'll just have to train your pilots better."
On his way home, each evening, Willoughby would start his car and then realise he had forgotten something in his office. Often he would leave his car running as he dashed inside. On one occasion the police came knocking on his office door - Willoughby had left his car running outside for two hours!
He was a very intelligent, complex and driven person, who by dint of often being totally unaware of anything but his most immediate project, sometimes inadvertently generated animosity. Equally, however, numbers of his former students felt a strong loyalty to him. His intense enthusiasms sometimes ran ahead of his better judgement. An example of such an enthusiasm was when he identified a new antenna configuration as having radical advantages for aircraft landing systems. He later discovered an earlier Masters Thesis (which he had supervised) on his own bookshelf, which disproved any such advantages for the antenna. Typically, however, he was completely frank about this lapse.
Another story about his absent mindedness was when he turned up to a morning lecture with two ties knotted around his neck. His lecture style consisted of him holding chalk in the right hand and a board eraser in the left hand - as he wrote with his right hand he would simultaneously be rubbing out with his left hand.Willoughby typified the eccentric academics who are the source of many a University legend.
Jack Woodward was born in Ohakune in 1926 and attended the Ohakune District High School before going to Canterbury University where he graduated BE Electrical in 1947. After two years working for the NZ State Hydro Electric Department at Kings Wharf in Auckland and Palmerston North District office, he moved to Canada as a Test Engineer for Canadian General Electric Ontario, Davenport power transformers and Peterboro heavy rotating machines and industrial control. He studied in 1951 for a Master of Applied Science at the University of Toronto, which he was awarded in 1952 before moving to the systems analysis division of Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission.
Jack then returned to New Zealand and the academic world where he held a post in the School of Electrical Engineering and Canterbury University from 1953 to 1965. In 1966 he was appointed Professor and Head of School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Adelaide, also serving as Dean from 1967 to 1969.
From 1972 to 1977 he was Professor and Head of School of Electrical and Communication Engineering, Papua New Guinea University of Technology at Lae where he also served as Dean of Engineering, Acting Vice Chancellor, and a member of the University Council. During this time he undertook various roles, including President, in the Institution of Engineers Papua New Guinea, the Governing Council of Lae Technical College and the Committee of Technical Education for Papua New Guinea.
Returning to Auckland University in 1977, he became Professor of Electrical Engineering and Head of Department until his retirement as Professor Emeritus in 1992. With Professor John Boys he developed a low cost electronic load governor particularly applicable to micro hydro generation systems. Jack has had a long involvement in studies of the control and speed governing of hydro power turbines and his published work is still cited in current literature. The results of his work appear in 58 patents, reports, discussion papers and publications in international journals. Jack served as Deputy Vice Chancellor of Auckland University in 1982, 1989 and 1991. He was Acting Vice Chancellor in 1991 and Pro Chancellor in 1997. He was a member of the University of Auckland Council from 1986 to 1991 and 1996 to 1999. He has been Chairman of Trustees of the University of Auckland Primary Health Care Trust since 1991 and was a member of the University of Auckland Alumni Association Committee from 1989 to 2000.
In Auckland Jack also shouldered an enormous load of activities on voluntary organisations. He was Chair of the IPENZ Electro Technical Group Auckland Branch and National Management Committees, the Electrical Engineering Advisory Committee and the NZ Committee if the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He was a member of the Management Committee of the Sustainable Energy Forum and has been Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Water for Survival since its formation in 1988.
Jack organised, led and has been keynote speaker at many conferences on electrical engineering, micro hydro, and energy. He has served on many NZ and Australian Government investigations, led a mission to ASEAN countries and provided advice on control equipment and training in China, Thailand and Vietnam.
He has travelled widely in Africa, India, Nepal, South East Asia and the Pacific in the course of his work. He has climbed extensively in NZ mountains, the Canadian Rockies and MT McKinley National Park, Alaska.
Robert E. Bogner was born in Melbourne on 26 Aug 1934, graduated in 1956 from the University of Adelaide in Electrical Engineering and gained the Master of Engineering degree in 1959, while employed as a research engineer by the Postmaster General's Research Laboratories, for work on speech signal processing. In 1961 he joined the University of Queensland as a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering and developed their courses in electronics and telecommunication engineering. From 1967 to 1973 he was a Lecturer in Electrical Engineering at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. He was awarded the Ph.D there in 1973 for research on signal processing of phase modulated signals, part of the work being done at Bell Telephone Laboratories, New Jersey.
In 1973 he was appointed Professor of Electrical Engineering in the University of Adelaide. He was Head of Department from 1973 to 1977, and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in 1976 and 1977, and in 1981 and 1982. He was founder member and first co-ordinator of the Adelaide Consortium for Telecommunication Studies in 1987, and a founder member of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sensor Signal and Information Processing (CSSIP) in 1992. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a Life Member of the Indian Science Congress Association. He was General Chair of the International Conference on Speech, Acoustics and Signal Processing in Adelaide in 1994 and was a director of the IEEE Signal Processing Society and Chair of this Society's Standing Sub-committee on Education and founding chair of its Technical Committee on Signal Processing Education.
He has authored or co-authored about 140 technical papers including one book, and has supervised some 30 higher degree students.
Professor Bogner's major technical field is communication engineering and he has contributed to this in signal processing, electroacoustics, speech communication, pattern recognition, human factors, and microwave modeling. Later efforts were primarily directed toward sensor signal processing with reference to radar track association, data fusion, visual sensing and neural networks. He always maintained an interest is in energy conversion, with expression in unusual electrical machines and in many electrical demonstrations for freshman students.
On retirement in 2001 he was elected to Professor Emeritus, and has developed a keen interest in blacksmithing, including the design and construction of a somewhat novel power hammer.
A principle that Professor Bogner has found to be invaluable is: "When in doubt, go in to the unknown."
Don Griffin obtained his B.A. and Ph.D. (in physics) from the University of Adelaide. His Ph.D. topic was on the use of microwaves for probing semiconductor material properties. His experience after graduation included positions with the Australian Defence Scientific Service, the Royal Radar Establishment in England, the S.A. Institute of Technology, Comell University, Ithaca, NY, and Syracuse University, New York. He was a member of the academic staff of the University of Adelaide for over 30 years and at retirement, in 1997, was an Associate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. His teaching and research interests were in the microwave and antenna engineering fields.
Tony Parker was born in Portsmouth, UK and was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School. He obtained a Traineeship with the Central Electricity Generating Board which combined a variety of industrial experiences with studying for a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southampton. He followed his Honours degree with a Masters by research before taking up a position as a Research Officer with the CEGB at their Marchwood Engineering Laboratories. Here he was involved in work in the early days of High Voltage Direct Current transmission, in particular the design and optimisation of harmonic filters.
He enrolled as a part-time PhD candidate at Southampton while undertaking lecturing duties at Portsmouth Polytechnic, and worked on the dynamic simulation of power systems. During this time he also acted as a technical consultant to the Science Research Council, surveying the scope of electrical machines research in British universities. He obtained his PhD in 1974 and shortly after joined the University of Adelaide as a lecturer in Electrical Engineering.
During his time in the Department he lectured on electrical machines and power systems as well as fundamental first-year material. His research interests centred on the dynamic simulation of power systems and machines, and branched into the planning of electric energy systems. In the latter role he was engaged by the State Government to undertake long-term generation planning studies for South Australia and also adapted the widely-used WASP planning software package to incorporate the modelling of wind generation and energy-limited generation sources. He contributed to several United Nations sponsored training courses for developing countries in the use of energy planning methodology and software in various parts of the world.
He took on several administrative duties within the University including being Dean of the Engineering Faculty in 1980. He was elected Head of the Department in 1991 and re-elected in 1994 and 1997. During this time, the Departments student load more than doubled, new degrees in Computer Systems Engineering and Information Technology and Telecommunications were introduced, and the twinning program with Sepang Institute of Technology was established.
In 2000 he was made Academic Dean of Engineering and in 2002 Deputy Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences. He is currently the Universitys representative on the State Energy Research Advisory Committee, the Accreditation and Registration Council and the Council of Kathleen Lumley College. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.
Ken Sarkies was a graduate of Melbourne University in Physics and Mathematics in 1970, and completed a Ph.D. on intermolecular forces at the Australian National University in 1972. Following that he worked at the Defence Research Establishment in Salisbury, SA until 1986, where he worked on radar, in the signal processing and microprocessor control aspects.
In 1986 Ken joined the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering and lectured mainly in Telecommunications. His research interests were in the performance aspects of telecommunication switches for the new high-speed Asynchronous Transfer Mode protocols for integrated data/multimedia communications. These protocols are currently being used over the well-known ADSL Internet services.
Ken's interests in teaching developed and, along with other lecturers in the department, he tried a number of innovative teaching methods. These were designed to help students apply their theoretical knowledge in practical ways, to develop design skills and to account for the non-technical issues associated with engineering design. As Head of Department he contributed to reforming the courses, a task that was improved and extended by the department after his departure in 2001.
Currently Ken is working with various non-profit organizations to provide computer and communication system advice and support.