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Media Release

December 19 2003

UniSA wins million dollar contract for new defence industry Masters degree

UniSA has won a contract worth more than a $1million to supply the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) with a customised Master of Project Management degree.

The contract, for up to three years, was developed by Associate Professor Joseph Kasser to provide the DMO with a graduate program to meet their requirements for the academic component for their Project Manager's Development Program (PMDP).

It combines courses in an existing Master of Project Management award in the School of Geoinformatics Planning and Building (GPB) with courses offered by the Systems Engineering and Evaluation Centre (SEEC) in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE).

Associate Professor Kasser says the customized Master of Project Management degree program is optimised for the engineering management of the acquisition of information technology and other Defence materiel while providing flexible delivery options to meet the needs of a geographically distributed workforce in more than 54 locations.

"The objectives of the degree are to provide the DMO students with the ability to manage fairly complex projects," Prof Kasser says.

"DMO graduates will have to be able to assess the degree of risk in a project, the political, cultural and social factors that may apply, the consequences of failure, and the responsibility and accountability framework. This requires significant judgement in program planning and control, resource allocation, financial management, technical and logistics considerations, operational requirements, and contract and contractor management.

"We are pleased UniSA will be taking a major role in the PMD and we believe we will be able provide an education tailored to meet the DMO's needs for its staff."

The purpose of the PMDP is to provide selected staff in the DMO with a best practice framework for project management; a thorough appreciation of the components of effective project management, the integration of these into the DMO environment; and practical skills and experience in project management that can be readily applied in the DMO environment. On completion of the PMDP, DMO participants will have the skills and experience necessary to undertake senior project management roles within the DMO environment.

The UniSA tender was selected for best value from an Australia-wide field of nine tenders. The customised degree was crafted by a team of three, Associate Professor Joseph Kasser (SEEC), Professor Stephen Cook (SEEC), and Professor Douglas Larden (GPB), providing a unique combination of skills and knowledge.

Associate Professor Joseph Kasser, himself a Certified Manager, contributed his knowledge and expertise in project management, distance learning, and systems engineering, his experience in creating and teaching in the Master of Software Engineering award at the Graduate School of Management and Technology at University of Maryland University College, and experience in determining the curriculum for the United States Government General Services Administration Chief Information Officer University program. Professor Stephen Cook contributed his broad knowledge of overseas Defence procurement and Australian Defence needs and processes gained in his time with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) and his expertise in systems engineering, while Professor Douglas Larden brings his broad knowledge and expertise in project management both at a national and international level to the program. Professors Cook and Kasser also initiated the curriculum development for the DSTO postgraduate Continuing Education Initiative (CEI) and currently teach in that program. This curriculum development experience for Defence helped shape the winning tender.

Associate Professor Joseph Kasser will serve as the project manager for the program while Professors Cook and Larden will supervise the quality of the content.

The project will be based in SEEC which is currently growing at a rate of 20 per cent per year. SEEC has widely recognised knowledge and credibility within its fields of activity and performs consulting, collaborative research, and education, and publishes many conference papers annually.

The Centre offers short courses at customer's locations as well as courses leading to its post-graduate awards in Systems Engineering and Test and Evaluation. It also offers undergraduate courses through the School of EIE. It develops the majority of its course content and supporting material internally based on its research program. The major research themes running within SEEC are:

For more information contact Associate Professor Joseph Kasser at 08 8302 3941 or joseph.kasser@unisa.edu.au


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