Starting the Department of Information Systems

Starting a new department at the University of Melbourne was exciting.

Information Systems has been a stand-alone department twice, in the 1970s when it was called Information Studies, and again in 1996, before becoming a part of the Department of Computing and Information Systems in 2012.

When Mike Vitale became the inaugural Head of the Department of Information Systems he couldn’t find anyone at the University to ask about starting a department, because “nobody could remember the last time a department was started.”

We were building the labs and the classrooms right up until the moment the students started, the first two years I remember as being very fun all the time, it was bigger than a dotcom start up. Somebody transferred into the student group in the late 1990s and he said, ‘It’s like the movies. I feel like I’ve joined a cult. The IS cult ….’ They were really focused.

Mike Vitale

When I joined the IS department as a staff member there was a strong camaraderie and a bit of a party atmosphere… The department is very dynamic and has continually changed in a number of ways. What we teach has changed radically, and the research topics have moved with the times and continue to.

Greg Wadley

Around 1996 Marg Ross came on board as Administrative Assistant for the Department of Information Systems. Her first big job was working on Discovery Day for the Department — an annual university open day that was very important in showcasing the new Departments’ courses to potential new students.

Suelette Dreyfus

For further information, see the Department of Information Systems History [PDF] by Suelette Dreyfus.

Women in computing

DIS Students at Open Day, c1998. Image courtesy University of Melbourne.
Mike Vitale, Head of Information Systems. Image courtesy University of Melbourne Archives.
Ask a DIS Wizard badge. Image courtesy University of Melbourne.
Marg Ross, staff member, 1996. Image courtesy University of Melbourne.

View full size images in photo gallery