Maurice Strong's UN environment conference in Stockholm, 1972, provided international legitimacy for environmental concerns. From that springboard a number of Australian universities established the nation's first environmental studies programs, all Masters degrees. Ten years later Monash University made its program's first and only substantial transformation, a formal obligatory (‘core’) introduction to transdisciplinary thinking. This special sectionof the AJEE offers six examples of student writings from that attempt. They are drawn from the work of the year 1999 students who undertook part 1 of the three part core subject Systems Thinking and Practice.
In 1979, seven years after its commencement, an Ad Hoc Committee to Review the Master of Environmental Science Program at Monash University proposed to ‘integrate the diversity of subjects that comprise the core’ and to minimise the ‘dangers of superficiality … and narrow specialisation’. No further guidance was given as to what this meant nor how it was to be done. Nevertheless, from this seed began the intellectual transformation the program. No additional funding was provided. The project was simply supported by the good will of staff from various faculties. To date a thousand students have wrestled with the new program in one form or another.