Issue 20 - 21 June 2000

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Medical work wins Queen's Honours

Monash Institute of Public Health director Professor Chris Silagy (pictured) was last week named in the Queen's Birthday Honours for his contribution to medicine.

Professor Silagy was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for service to medicine, particularly in research and education and developments in evidence-based medicine.

He said the accolade had surprised and thrilled him. "I'm 39, and never dreamed of getting an award like this now, or even at any stage of my career," he said.

Professor Silagy completed a PhD in epidemiology at Monash before undertaking postdoctoral studies in Oxford as the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Scholar in Medicine.

While at Oxford in 1992, he became involved in setting up the Cochrane Collaboration, which others have dubbed the 'applied version of the Human Genome Project'.

"We are trying to gather into a single electronic database all the evidence of which treatments in health care work and which don't, so that when people make health care decisions they have access to the latest scientific evidence," he said.

"The award recognises that the Cochrane Collaboration exists and survives and that there are now 3000 people around the world collaborating on the database, producing and updating it every quarter.''

In 1993, aged 32, Professor Silagy took up the post as professor and head of the Department of Evidence-Based Care and General Practice at Flinders University.

He was appointed professor of public health and director of MIPH last year.

He is also director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre and the National Evaluation of Coordinated Care Trials and co-director of National Information Service.

He has been a member of numerous national committees including the National Health and Medical Research Council health advisory committee.

Among the current and former Monash staff and alumni receiving Queen's Birthday Honours were:

AO - Officer in the Order of Australia

OAM - Medal of the Order of Australia

CSC - Conspicuous Service Cross

CSM - Conspicuous Service Medal

PSM - Public Service Medal

APM - Australian Police Medal

Indonesian guest for gamelan performance

The authentic sounds of Indonesia filled the Monash School of Music - Conservatorium recently.

Indonesian guest Mr Lili Suparli (pictured) sang and treated about 220 listeners to a performance on various instruments from West Java during the last Thursday lunchtime concert for first semester.

Instruments included the xylophone, rebab (bowed lute) and kacapi (plucked zither), an instrument associated with royalty in West Java.

The Monash Gamelan, one of six ensembles for music students, also performed at the concert decked out in Indonesian costumes.

Mr Suparli, from West Java's Indonesian Academy of Music and Dance in Bandung, is a skilled musician, dancer and puppeteer.

He is spending this year at Monash teaching two units in Indonesian music with School of Music head Professor Margaret Kartomi.

Professor Kartomi said Mr Suparli was guest lecturing in gamelan performance while she was teaching the theoretical and historical aspects of gamelan.

The gamelan is a large orchestra of about 60 to 70 instruments of bronze, wood and leather including xylophones, lutes, gongs and drums.

"Monash was the first Australian university to develop its own full gamelan program," Professor Kartomi said.

"Since 1971, we have invited different teachers from Indonesia to come to Monash and work with us."

These have included Mr Suparli and others from Central Java, West Sumatra, North Sumatra, Bali and South Sulawesi.

"Indonesia is our closest neighbour, and its music is a very attractive means of getting to know its cultural values," she said.

"We can also get to know the history of Indonesia through the enjoyment of its music culture."

Professor Kartomi has pioneered the research and teaching of Indonesian music in Australia at Monash.

She has published widely on the music cultures of most of Indonesia's 27 provinces, where she has carried out field work.

The School of Music's major dance production The Black Monkey and the Princess, accompanied by the Monash gamelan, will be held on Thursday 14 September at 10 am, 11.45 am and 7.30 pm in the Alexander Theatre.

The good, the bad and the cuddly

Ceramics lecturer Michael Doolan used his childhood icons for the basis of his exhibition The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly, now on show in the Faculty Gallery at Caulfield campus.

Mr Doolan said his collections of oversized ceramics figures, made using the coil building technique, were based on familiar childhood toys such as the teddy bear, GI Joe and Miffy, and played with the good versus evil theme.

For example, 'Friendly Fire' consists of a collection of cuddly bears, a rabbit and a duck - all painted in black - positioned opposite a mad gunman complete with pistol and scattered shells - all painted in white. "In religion, black always symbolises evil and white symbolises good. I was trying to bring together a bunch of pure objects and colour them black to throw people,'' Mr Doolan said.

The Good, the Bad and the Cuddly was launched on 7 June by the head of Applied Arts and Fine Arts, Associate Professor Bernard Hoffert, and attended by the dean of the Faculty of Art and Design, Professor John Redmond.

An exhibition showcasing student drawings, Drawing Studio, is also being held in the Link Space at the end of the Concourse Gallery.

Both exhibitions will run until 1 July. Gallery hours are Mondays to Fridays, 11 am to 5 pm, and Saturdays, 2 pm to 5 pm. For further information, contact extn 32882.

Dazed bunnies on the superhighway

Insults flew from both sides at last week's CHED Great Debate 'Online Education: Good for Learning or Good for Nothing?'

The affirmative team was accused of being "dazed like little bunnies by the lights of the superhighway", while the negative team was called "just plain nostalgic".

The lively debate demonstrated the considerable skills of student world debating champions Ms Kim Little and Ms Cathy Rossouw, who were on opposing sides.

Ms Little, on the affirmative, was joined by Education's Professor Dick Gunstone and Swinburne academic Dr Peter Ling.

Ms Rossouw, on the negative, was joined by Law's Dr Kumar Amarasekara, and La Trobe academic Dr Lorraine Ling.

Trying to keep order, debate host Associate Professor David Murphy entertained the 200 onlookers with anecdotes about his 'virtual' degrees.

When time was up, audience acclaim for the debaters was measured on a 'clapometer', and the affirmative team declared the winners.

Summing up, deputy vice-chancellor Professor Alan Lindsay wondered why the affirmative team bothered turning up at all.

"If they believed so strongly in online learning, we didn't need to see them in person," he said.

The debate 'Online Education: Good for Learning or Good for Nothing?' was videoed for staff unable to attend. Email to register your interest in accessing a copy.

Feisty debaters were, from left, Professor Dick Gunstone, Dr Peter Ling, Ms Kim Little, Dr Lorraine Ling (front), Ms Cathy Rossouw and Dr Kkumar Amarasekara.

Getting into flexible learning and teaching

The free CeLTS winter workshop for 2000 will introduce staff to important aspects of open and distance education, and other forms of learning and teaching flexibly.

It has been planned particularly for academic staff who are new to these modes of learning and teaching, with a view to facilitating the planning, design, development and timely production of quality teaching materials and the provision of first-class student support.

The workshop will also be of interest to general staff who support academic staff in these endeavours. Issues covered will include:

Workshop details are as follows:

Date: Friday 14 July

Time: 9.30 am to 4 pm (lunch and refreshments provided)

Location: Sir George Lush Room (room G33), ground floor, building 3A, Clayton campus

As places are limited, please book in advance with CeLTS on extn 26277 or email CeLTS@

London website launched

Pro vice-chancellor Professor Richard White returned to the Monash University Centre in London on 10 June after a three-week visit to Melbourne.

Based at the Clayton campus during the visit, Professor White had invited staff to discuss proposals for activities in London and to make arrangements for publicising Monash research and programs there.

"I was delighted to find that I had more than 40 appointments with individuals and groups from a wide range of departments," he said.

"I heard about distance education courses that are ready to go and plans for short not-for-credit courses that are to be taught at one of the King's College sites.

"Others are negotiating with counterparts at King's over collaboration in putting on undergraduate and postgraduate programs. People have also discussed with me student exchanges, study tours, website links, research collaboration and administrative staff contacts.

"This encouraging level of energy and enthusiasm fulfils one of the prerequisites for the success of the Monash venture into Europe."

While in Melbourne, Professor White and London Steering Committee chair Professor Stephen Parker launched a special website on the Monash Centre London to keep Monash staff informed of developments.

The site at will be updated at regular intervals by the Internal Communications Unit.

WIF workshops

Web and Internet Facilities is hosting weekly workshops on web and internet-related issues of interest to the Monash community.

Workshop video-conference locations

Lecture theatre S12, Clayton; Room A1.11, administration building, Caulfield; Room 2W262, main building, Gippsland; Room A1.10, administration building, Peninsula.

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