Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No.4

October 23, 2003


Inspiration from the field: Ordre des ingénieurs and Faculty hold conference on values

by Jay Poulton

For the first time, a conference on the core values of engineering has been held under the joint auspices of Concordia’s Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science and the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec.

“Engineering: A Profession, a Passion!” was aimed at raising the profile of engineering, and building a closer bond between the professional order and the teaching community. 

Over three days, Oct. 7-9, invited speakers talked about the four fundamental values that every engineer must subscribe to: competence, ethical conduct, responsibility, and social commitment.

“This event is a starting-point from which to discuss these values, and how we can introduce them to the students,” Dean Nabil Esmail said. 

Ordre president Gaetan Lefebvre supported the Dean’s message, and said he hoped students would come away from the conference with a deeper understanding of how engineers can improve society and the well-being of its members.  

Students packed the D.B Clarke Theatre to hear professional engineers tell of their own successes and failures. Each speaker was asked to describe how one of the four fundamental values of engineering has affected him or her throughout their career.

Dr. Fassi Kafyeke, Manager of Advanced Aerodynamics for Bombardier Aeronautics, told the students that competence in engineering means not only staying focused but continuing to learn throughout one’s career.

“Take advantage of every opportunity there is to learn,” he said. “It is a matter of applying scientific concepts with the combination of technical and communication skills because if you cannot get across what you have accomplished, your project is useless.” 

Reginald Weiser, Chairman and CEO of Positron Industries, spoke about responsibility. Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, president and executive director of Centraide and a professional engineer, discussed the value of social commitment, and Madiha Kotb, of the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec, discussed ethical conduct.

The conference was opened via videophone by Sam Hamad, Minister of Natural Resources, also an engineer. The students who attended were enthusiastic about what they heard, and enjoyed getting perspectives on the profession from a variety of speakers. Engineering and

Computer Science Association president Shahnaj A. Shimmy summed it up: “This conference gave us insight into our future careers.”