As a member of the Civil and Environmental Engineering Advisory Committee at Carleton University, Mike Cleland has been able to play an instrumental role in guiding training and education of future engineers.
The Advisory Committee, comprised of Engineering professionals with varying degrees of experience in a number of relevant Civil and Environmental Engineering areas, provides real-world perspective and input into the program’s curriculum in order to create a program that is reflective of the current work climate.
Since its inception, the Advisory Committee has met to review and discuss the existing curriculum, consider which elements might need to be revised or enhanced, and look at what developments have yet to be added as key foundations of the program.
At the end of 2013, the Advisory Committee provided a list of 7 recommendations they felt would add value to the program, provide graduates with the tools, skills, and knowledge to be productive and successful in their careers, and provide engineering firms with qualified and capable candidates to choose from.
Among the recommendations put forward to date, four have been moved forward for further development and implementation. These are:
- The Introduction of a BIM (Building Information Modeling) course that will provide students with key competencies while also increasing their marketability, both in terms of co-op placements and future employability.
- The creation of a mentorshipprogram that pairs 4th year students with practicing or retired professional engineers and may also see 4th years students acting as mentors to 1st year students.
- The inclusion of an inter-disciplinary coursethat will allow Engineering students to work with Architecture students, leading to an early understanding of the dynamics of this often inter-connected relationship.
- The inclusion of communications coursesthat will help students gain valuable soft skills centered around meeting etiquette, inter-office and/or client communications including by email, and proposal or report writing.
Three other recommendations still pending consideration include:
- The inclusion of Project management as a required course
- The inclusion (or re-inclusion) of 2D and 3D sketching as part of the overall program
- The re-evaluation of certain existing courses to determine their usefulness
Each of these advancements is a step in the right direction in terms of creating a positive, productive, and employable environment for future engineers.