BIT - 25 years on and flourishing
2013 celebrates the 25th anniversary of the UTS Bachelor of Information Technology (BIT) Co-operative Scholarship program. To commemorate this program , whose birth coincides with the formation of UTS in 1988, the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology held a celebratory dinner.
Attendees included current staff, notable graduates and students, and industry connections, such as John Harvey, the current Business Development Executive at IBM Australia, as well as BIT graduate Katie Payten now Group Director at Lend Lease, and Krystle Ng, the current UTS BiG President, who spoke on behalf of the students.
Also, in virtual attendance was Brian Finn, who in 1987, as then CEO of IBM Australia, recommended in the ‘Finn Report’ the development of IT cooperative education programs at Monash, Swinburne, the University of NSW and of course, UTS.
As a result, the UTS Faculty of Mathematical and Computing Sciences established the BIT Scholarship program – the first and most substantial integrated work-based learning cooperative program in Australia.
Fast-track a quarter of a century and the program has not only survived but flourished, despite the faculty changes (Mathematical and Computing Sciences metamorphosed into the Faculty of Information Technology, which then combined to become the current Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology).
The program is a great example of the best UTS has to offer: industry-relevant, practice-based education, grounded in the real world – and has consistently produced highly-accomplished and sought-after graduates, many of whom now sit in senior positions in esteemed companies all over the world.
Testament to both Brian Finn’s vision and the hard work of UTS staff over the years is the strong and ongoing support from industry. As a measure of success, the four founding sponsors of the program, American Express, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, IBM and Westpac, continue to sponsor the program. In addition, there are a further 29 sponsors, including WiseTech Global, who sponsors a record six places.
No doubt the program will only strengthen with the opening of UTS’s purpose-built Broadway Building, soon to become the new home for the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. Technology-rich, the building will be embedded with wireless sensors and will feature a 3D data visualisation arena on the ground floor, along with a disruptive technology lab and software design studio – all of which creates a living building adaptable to the needs of the ever-changing nature of Information Technology.