Moving to the School of Cybernetics

Some job news—I’ve just accepted a position in the new School of Cybernetics in the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS). I’ll finish out my teaching this semester in the School of Computing then I’ll make the move in July. For those not familiar with the ANU org-chart or acronymicon, there are multiple Schools in each College (so I’m moving Schools but staying within the same College).

I’m really excited by the prospect of designing educational experiences in/around/through the new Cybernetics, and that’s what my1 team in the School of Cybernetics will be doing (under our Director Genevieve Bell). My work as an interdisciplinary computer scientist/computer musician has always been cybernetics-adjacent, and I’m stoked to get a chance to lean in to this interdisciplinarity as we reimagine what a School (within a College, within a university) might look like.

However, this decision is bittersweet; I love my current job, my colleagues and (especially) my students, and I’ll be sad to see them less as I move to the School of Cybernetics. In fact, there are a few things I want to say about this move, and this blog is as good a place to say them as any.

To outside observers, I want to be super clear that I’m not leaving the School of Computing because it sucks, or because there’s no opportunity to do cool stuff there—quite the opposite. I think the future of computing is bright at the ANU and I know there are multiple folks all across the campus working hard to create that future in the present. To that end, if you’re an up-and-coming creative code researcher/practitioner/educator, then you should apply for a tenure-track position in the School of Computing—it’d be great to have you join the team, and we’d have chances to work together I’m sure.

To my School of Computing colleagues, I really appreciate your collegiality, support and friendship over these past nine years (I started as a post-doc on 1 Jan ‘13). I’ll still be around (the School of Cybernetics will sit in the Birch building), and I’m keen to be a sounding board or collaborator. There are a few people in particular who have trained and supported me to be the educator that I am today, and while I won’t do the full “I’d like to thank…” Oscars acceptance speech thing, I hope you know who you are, and how much I appreciate it.

To the School of Computing admin team, you’re awesome. I’ll miss hassling you on Teams to buy weird gear for the Laptop Ensemble.

To my current students, I (and my new colleagues in the School of Cybernetics) will make sure you don’t get stuffed around. I’ll keep supervising all my current students till your projects are complete, and you won’t notice much difference—just that from July onwards we might have our meetings in a different building. If you’re in my new ANU Extension Creative Computing course, then there’s good news as well—that course will keep going as planned. In fact, it’s a high priority activity for the whole College, and there will be amazing doors that open up for you through participation in that course. If you’re a year 11 student in 2022, you can start thinking about applying to be part of next year’s cohort—drop me a line if you’d like some tips on how to prepare for that process.

To any prospective/future students (i.e. those who were hoping to take one of my classes in the future) the news is a bit more mixed. I’ll still be involved with the Laptop Ensemble, and the current plan is that other courses I’ve designed & taught (e.g. COMP2300, COMP1720) will still continue as normal with other (excellent!) lecturers. Finally, while I was previously scheduled to take over COMP4610 Computer Graphics in S2 2021, this now won’t happen. If that stuffs up your study plans, I’m really sorry.

Finally, while I’m taking on new and exciting responsibilities in the School of Cybernetics, I’ll still be the same person with the same interests, strengths and weaknesses. So if we’re excited about the same things now, chances are we’ll still be excited about the same things into the future—and I hope we have the opportunity to support one another to pursue those goals.

  1. This is “my” in the “team I’m part of” sense, not the “team I lead” sense. The new School of Cybernetics is going to be a wildly collaborative place, and I’m just one part of a multi-talented whole. 

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