by Shannon Smith Houle
Facing an auditorium full of students can be daunting, but two Concordia
engineering assistant professors like teaching so much, theyve organized
an international conference on the subject of engineering education from
Feb. 16 to 18.
There is so much dynamic change [in engineering] right now,
explained assistant professor Nadia Bhuiyan, one of the conference organizers.
The conference is an opportunity to talk and share information.
This is the first ever International Conference on the Future of Engineering
Education (ICFEE), and it has already attracted 30 papers from engineers
and engineering professors as far away as Austria and China. The conference
was the brainchild of Nadia Bhuiyan and Paula Wood-Adams, who spent the
past year organizing the event.
Wood-Adams said that its important to open up discussion on
things we dont talk about as much as we should, and bring in people
from different universities to exchange teaching techniques.
The main focus of the conference is on teaching, grading, accreditation
issues and other aspects of education, but there are several panels on
other subjects like aerospace engineering and women in engineering. In
one panel presentation, for example, industry leaders will discuss what
skills they look for in graduating students.
The link between engineering in school and in the real world isnt
always clear to students, and they dont always see the interdisciplinary
nature of the profession, the organizers said.
Of course, the conference guests wont just talk about students
they will also be talking to them. Both professors are encouraging students
to attend the conference. Theyve even invited high school students
to attend. Weve asked them to give a technical paper or to
talk about their personal experiences in engineering, Bhuiyan said.
Part of the reason Bhuiyan and Wood-Adams are organizing the conference
is because of how they feel about engineering and teaching. Someone
told me an engineer made more money than a chemist, Wood-Adams said,
laughing. Now, I cant imagine doing anything else.
Both professors are recent arrivals at Concordia. Wood-Adams joined the
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science in May 2001, and Bhuiyan joined
last January. Both work in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial
Bhuiyan said enthusiastically, There is so much you can do [in engineering],
and teaching is so rewarding. Its like second nature to us now.
For more information, visit http://www.me.concordia.ca.