Faculty of Education
50 year

Foundation and first year (1961)

A second university for Melbourne was a long time coming. Monash University commenced in 1961 named after Sir John Monash, regarded as the most able General of World War I, a brilliant engineer who pioneered reinforced concrete in Victoria, and who also headed the innovative brown coal development as head of the State Electricity Commission (SEC). He was also a scholar and vice-chancellor (honorary) of the University of Melbourne. A truly great Australian, he had in many ways been overlooked.

The main purpose of starting an Education Faculty was for initial teacher training of secondary teachers. So given most degrees BA, BSc, BMus etc. were of three years duration- the Faculty needed to start offering a graduate Diploma in Education in 1964. Education was housed in the west wing of the multi-purpose Sir Robert Menzies Building (the Ming Wing as it became known). The headmaster of Scotch College Richard Selby Smith became the first Professor and Dean. It was estimated that up to 50 students would want to enrol in the DipEd in 1964. Selby Smithy set about accommodating a head of department, secretary, three full-time staff and 3-4 part-time staff. In the first Handbook, he stated the objectives of what students must achieve:

… they must learn to understand something of how children develop and of the ways in which knowledge, skills and attitudes to life are acquired. They must study methods appropriate to classroom work and have practice teaching under the guidance of those experienced in this work so that they will be able to introduce students to the subjects they have been studying in their own first university degree course.
Professor R. Selby Smith, Dean of Education 1964–1971
Menzies building, July 1965
Photographer: Sir Louis Matheson

This was the beginning of the Faculty of Education at Monash University.

Dr Alan Gregory generously accepted the task of writing the Faculty history and that project is now nearing completion. The book will be launched in the middle of the year.

If you'd like to find out how to purchase a copy of the book, please register your interest below.

Attendees of the 50th gala dinner will receive a copy of the book on the night.