Hugh selected the research route of our Master of Education, discovering problem solving and writing skills along the way. Since graduating, he has been involved in some fascinating projects as well as implementing education and training for staff in his own workplace.
Q: Can you outline your studies prior to studying this program?
As a mature-aged student I studied Adult & Industrial education at Deakin University. Soon after I commenced a master’s degree at Monash University in the area of educational administration. During the first semester at Monash, I was fortunate to be awarded a research scholarship and tax-free stipend by the University of Melbourne. My thesis looked at how CEOs conceptualise and manage organisational change. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and was given excellent supervision at the Carlton Campus. I was so grateful for the scholarship and tax-free stipend that I became a philanthropist and created a University of Melbourne scholarship.
Q: Why did you choose to study the Master of Education?
I chose to study in the field of education because I was interested in learning as a lifelong process.
Q: What was the most valuable/rewarding aspect of the Master of Education?
University study gave me the confidence to know that I can solve problems. I also discovered I could write, which was a huge bonus.
Q: What interested you most about the area you studied and how did you apply it to your role now?
I am interested in how leadership is also an educational issue. If staff are not learning and growing, then it is likely their organisation is going backwards. I applied it to my workplace now, where most of my staff are regularly engaged in study and or training.
Q: Following graduation, which organisations or projects have you worked for?
During the past 5 years, I have been fortunate to work on projects such as:
- Created a rehabilitation project with Barwon health in Geelong which used technology to empower people to communicate, connect with the internet and perform rehabilitation. We were proud to receive funding for the project from the Transport Accident Commission and then donated the technology to Barwon Health.
- With one of my sons, we created the humanoid robot rehabilitation project in collaboration with Swinburne University and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. While Swinburne University turned the project into a funded PhD research project, the Transport Accident Commission again supported our work with funding. At the end of the project we donated the robot to the Royal Children’s Hospital and our team won a National Disability Award presented to us by the past prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.
- Co-author and published a selection of books, including The Human Rights Game, which went on sale at the United Nations.
- Recently partnered with Curtin University to develop a suite of autism resources.
Q: What do you hope is the next step in your life/career?
Publishing and building assistive technologies such as robots. As well as working towards innovation empowering and liberating people.
Q: What advice would you give to someone thinking about pursuing a career in your industry?
Make sure they participate in student support groups and actively engage in student life, volunteer and get practical life experiences.
Q: Finally, what would you say to students who are thinking about studying your program at The University of Melbourne?
I would encourage them to study education as it is really the life blood of the human brain!