Full Name: Michael Louis Brisk
Original Appointment at Monash: Adjunct Professor, Chemical Engineering
Date of Commencement: 1993
Date of Retirement: December 2002
At the time of his application for Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Monash, Mike Brisk was an Engineering Associate with ICI Australia Engineering. He had been working for ICI (originally known as Imperial Chemical Industries) in various positions for almost twenty years. He had also recently been appointed an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash.
Brisk graduated from the University of Sydney in 1960 with a Bachelor of Engineering, specialising in chemical engineering. He went on to complete a PhD also in chemical engineering, at the same time working as a Lecturer at the University of Sydney. After completing his PhD, Brisk began working in Research and Development at ICI Central Instrument Laboratories, in the United Kingdom.
After five years with ICI, Brisk returned to Sydney to take up a position as Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering. He remained at the University of Sydney until 1982, when he left to take up another position with ICI, this time as Manager of Research and Development at the Botany Bay Site, Sydney.
In 1988 Brisk relocated to Melbourne, working with ICI in the Advanced Process Control Group. In 1992 he became Engineering Associate for ICI Australia as well as International Technology Leader, Advanced Process Control for ICI Group worldwide. It was while he was in this role, that he applied for the position of Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Monash University.
Brisk had become an Adjunct Professor of Chemical Engineering at Monash University in 1993 and he designed and taught the final year undergraduate process control course/subject. He was a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and the Institute of Chemical Engineers. Brisk was also a member of various industrial advisory committees and provided advice on course design to universities across Australia.
By the time of his application for Dean at Monash, Brisk’s professional career had been divided roughly equally between industry and academia. He noted in his application:
I have held academic appointments in Chemical Engineering for a total of 16 years ranging from Lecturer and later Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, to my current Adjunct Professorship at Monash University. My industrial career with ICI spans 17 years, five years in R & D in ICI UK, and the last 12 years in senior technologist roles in ICI Australia, and the ICI Group worldwide. My career history shows a strong commitment to teaching, not only during my university periods, but also within ICI, where I have built up a strong culture of continuing technological education for the Group’s process control engineers.
Brisk applied for the Deanship on 8 December 1994. A decision was reached at the start of 1995. Brisk was made Dean of the Faculty of Engineering for an initial period of five years, starting 1 March 1995. He was reappointed for a further three years in March 2000, as well as being given a tenured position as Professor of the Faculty.
Mike Brisk was Dean of the Faculty of Engineering during a time of tumultuous change. He had taken over the Deanship from Peter Darvall who had steered the Faculty through the mergers and amalgamations of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Strong leadership was required from Brisk to unite the Faculty during this post-merger period. There were many challenges that specifically related to what had become the Gippsland campus of Monash. When the Head of the School of Engineering at Gippsland resigned, Brisk found himself acting Head for almost a year during 1996–97.
Brisk recalls that there were both many highs and many lows during his Deanship. One of the memorable high points was in 1998 when the Monash Malaysia Campus opened.
Seeing our work to establish the Engineering School at the (original) Monash Sunway campus bear fruit and the School begin to prosper was very gratifying. Malaysia had become a favourite destination of mine during my involvement in consulting work there in my chemical industry days in the early 1990s. Visits to the Malaysian campus to meet the students and participate in the School’s Industry Advisory Board meetings were stimulating and enjoyable.
While he was Dean, Brisk also continued teaching, taking a final year Chemical Engineering course in process control every year. Brisk was appointed Dean until the end of 2003, but in October 2002, he was advised by his doctor to take early retirement. Brisk was bestowed the title of Emeritus Professor in January 2003 to mark his distinguished service to Engineering at Monash.