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Our people - Associate Professor Julie Mills

Associate Professor Julie MillsAfter working in industry for 15 years, mostly in structural engineering design and project management, my appointment as lecturer in civil engineering in 1996 was a new challenge for me and one that I’ve loved ever since.

Working as an engineer at a time when women engineers were a rarity, I faced many challenges. It was during this time that I married and had three children (who still keep me very busy through their extensive sporting commitments), and I had to break new ground wherever I worked with regard to maternity leave and part-time work.

I came to the University as one of two women appointed to be the "new blood" in a traditional engineering school, where farewells became regular events as many civil engineering staff retired within my first year there.

Because of my industry background, I was very committed to project-based learning and I was given some latitude to try new things and make changes. Within a short time the courses that I ran were given a more project-based focus.

I gained my PhD in 2002 from Curtin University in the area of engineering education and with promotions to senior lecturer and then Associate Professor, the civil engineering degree was changed to include a significant proportion of project-based learning.

Teaching remains my first priority at UniSA, but I am also involved in research and administration as Program Director in Civil Engineering.

My teaching has been rewarded with University teaching awards and a Carrick Institute citation for outstanding contribution to student learning. I received the citation for my work on project-based learning and for my other passion, equity for women in engineering.

My biggest reward is graduation day, when I see students walk across the stage and know how hard they have worked to get there.

As chair of the National Women in Engineering Committee of Engineers Australia, I was instrumental in getting 2007 designated as the Year of Women in Engineering. My focus in the gender area continues with research projects at the Centre for Gender Studies.

Associate Professor Julie Mills is Program Director of Civil Engineering in the School of Natural and Built Environments.