Experiences and lessons learned as a Chair of anatomy—An 18-year journey

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In 1998, I was appointed Chair of the Department of Anatomy at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. On commencing as Chair, I had three main goals: (a) to maintain and extend the high quality of anatomy teaching in the medical program; (b) to introduce significantly more developmental biology, cell biology, and neuroscience into our existing Bachelor of Science major in human anatomy; and (c) to establish an active research program in the department. Over the next 18 years, I worked with staff and students at all levels of the university to turn this vision into a reality, with the Monash Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology now arguably the top ranked anatomy department in Australia. During my tenure, countless challenges were faced and while some errors were made, and a good number of goals were never realized the general outcome was a vibrant scholarly environment where that rich nexus of research and teaching was realized. This personal account provides some insights into that 18-year journey, which I hope may prove useful for current and future Chairs of anatomy. For me personally, it was definitely a journey worth taking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2516-2525
Number of pages10
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • anatomy
  • Chair
  • department
  • leadership

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