[Humanist] 26.218 changing times for Ken Friedman

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Aug 8 15:54:03 CEST 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 218.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2012 07:42:07 +0000
        From: Ken Friedman <kenfriedman at swin.edu.au>
        Subject: Changing Times

Dear Colleague,

Five years ago last month, I had coffee in Amsterdam. Some people travel to the Netherlands for drugs. Others go for the pleasures of the flesh. I went to meet with Ian Young.

In those days, Ian was Vice Chancellor and President of Swinburne University of Technology. Ian was looking for a Dean to head the Faculty of Design and my name was on his list.

As everyone must know, I had no ambition to be a dean. I had been a research professor for many years, working in leadership and strategic design at the Norwegian School of Management. While my research included leadership and organization theory, I had not been responsible for managing an organization since my entrepreneurial days several decades back. Even so, the issues and challenges of leading a design faculty in a university moving toward a top research profile interested me - and Ian Young is persuasive. You know the rest of the story.

For the past five years, I have been a dean at one of the world's 500 best research universities. I'm proud of what we have achieved. I have enjoyed the challenges of the job working with outstanding colleagues in the faculty and across the university.

Today, we have begun a process that will move the Faculty of Design to the Hawthorn campus. This requires intense logistical planning and operations management. When I interviewed for the dean's post, I stated in plain language that I'm not an administrator. My mission was an emphasis on research, and I hope that I brought new dimensions to the faculty as the kind of dean one might find in a classical Scandinavian research university. Today, we face a different challenge, and the faculty needs a new kind of dean. We need a leader with different skills, and the ability to juggle complex transition issues while maintaining our momentum in education and research.

On September 1, I will be leaving the Dean's office to focus on my role as University Distinguished Professor. Dr. Scott Thompson-Whiteside will become the Acting Dean. Over the past five years, it has been my pleasure to work with Scott as our Associate Dean International. He has also served as Acting Deputy Dean, distinguishing himself in the complex planning and resource management issues that converge in modern university leadership. I am confident that Scott Thompson-Whiteside is the right person for this job, and I am certain that Scott will lead Swinburne Design with skill and the sense of purpose that makes a vital difference.

In my first day on the job, I said that I want to build the kind of design faculty where I'd like to work as a professor. This transition gives me the opportunity I've been waiting for, with a return to life as a research professor. My responsibilities will include working with the Swinburne Design Factory. I will also work with the Design Research Alliance, an association of design faculties at seven leading research universities: Aalto, TU Delft, Hong Kong Polytechnic, Loughborough, National Chen Kung, Politecnico di Milano, and Swinburne.

There will be other projects coming up as well. In the first week of October, I'll be in Helsinki for Design Factory Week, together with colleagues from Aalto and Tongji. At the end of October, Shanghai will host Radical Design Week, an international extension of Helsinki's year as the World Design Capital 2012. At the Emerging Practices Forum, I'll give a keynote on design in the global knowledge economy and the role that design education must play. (Attached, you'll find an article on this theme, courtesy of Visible Language. The current issue contains ten views on design education - visit the Visible Language web site to learn more.)

That brings me up to date. I'd also like to inform you that email address has changed, though only slightly. It is now:

kenfriedman at swin.edu.au<mailto:kenfriedman at swin.edu.au>

Other addresses will stop working before long, so please keep in touch at my new address.

Warm wishes,


Professor Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS | University Distinguished Professor | Dean, Faculty of Design | Swinburne University of Technology | Melbourne, Australia | kenfriedman at swin.edu.au<mailto:kenfriedman at swin.edu.au> | Ph: +61 3 9214 6078 | Faculty www.swinburne.edu.au/design

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