A Message from Dean Cristina Amon
In this issue of the Engineering Newsletter, we celebrate another remarkable year of accomplishments and progress at U of T Engineering.
July 3, 2014
Our Faculty continues to make outstanding progress toward achieving the ambitious goals identified in our Academic Plan 2011-16.
The Year Two: Progress and Achievements Report and Annual Report 2013: Performance Indicators, published last fall, measure and assess the progress of our activities in our continual pursuit of excellence. The externally-focused Year in Review: 2013 Annual Report provides a high-level summary of our Faculty’s most significant achievements for alumni, donor and industry audiences. Look for updated versions of these reports this fall.
At U of T Engineering, our strong programs and international reputation continue to draw the brightest future engineers from around the world.
The number of first-year applicants for fall 2014 rose to a record number of 11,132 students, representing a 10 per cent increase from the previous year. This enabled us to be more selective in our offers of admission. The mean average for students accepted to our programs from Ontario high schools was 93 per cent – the highest ever recorded for the Faculty.
We continue to enrich our undergraduate learning environment with diverse and global perspectives. Currently, more than 35 per cent of students this fall are coming from outside Canada, and 30 per cent of our incoming first-year class are female.
Our first- to second-year retention rate rose to 94.6 per cent. This reflects the effectiveness of programs within the Faculty that support students, such as First-Year Foundations, Success 101, first-year math support and an extensive advising program that provides embedded counsellors, an international transition advisor, a learning strategist and a wellness coordinator.
The Faculty’s outreach activities are designed to inspire the next generation of engineers, while encouraging them to study at U of T Engineering. For example, this year we welcomed 31 high school students from Kazakhstan for an inaugural two-week mini-DEEP program, providing them with experiential learning opportunities on the U of T campus.
This year’s GLEE (Girls Leadership in Engineering Experience) empowered and inspired 95 female applicants – 76 of whom accepted their admission to U of T – by connecting them with women faculty, students and alumni. Engineering also partnered with Google Canada and Actua to host an outreach workshop for 125 girls from grades three to six.
U of T Engineering attracts diverse and exceptional graduate students, demonstrating our reputation as a global leader in engineering research, education and innovation.
The Faculty reached an all-time high of 2,064 graduate students, an increase of nearly 40 per cent over the last five years. This surpasses our Academic Plan goal, two years early, of 2,000 graduate students by 2015.
Overall applications to our master’s and PhD programs rose 12 per cent since this time last year, with an increase of 17 per cent in domestic applications. Interest in our professional master’s program is growing. Applications to our Master of Engineering (MEng) program rose by 35 per cent compared to last year.
The increasing interest we receive in our graduate programs is due in part to our ongoing strategic recruitment activities. This year we partnered with the top Canadian engineering school to launch the first Canadian Graduate Engineering Consortium. Events were held across the country to connect with high quality domestic applicants and encourage them to learn more about our programs. We also hosted department events, such as ChemE’s Graduate Research Weekend, that allow prospective students to meet professors whose research interests them.
The diversity of our research and learning community continues to increase. Enrolment of women in our graduate programs was relatively on par with last year at 25.9 per cent, while our international enrolment rose over the past four years to an all-time high of 24.6 per cent in 2013-14. We also expanded our involvement in the Science without Borders program to offer new scholarship options to Brazilian PhD students.
This past year, our faculty members have devoted tremendous efforts to enhancing our curriculum, exploring new teaching pedagogies and offering experiential learning opportunities to prepare the next generation of global engineering leaders.
Through the Engineering Instructional Innovation Program (EIIP), U of T Engineering faculty are leading eight projects that engage new teaching methods. Five projects began earlier this year, including the creation of mixed-media teaching resources for MSE courses and a retrofit of the IBBME Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory to enhance curriculum delivery. Three new EIIP projects will start this fall.
In addition to EIIP, we piloted the inverted classroom approach for the second year, developed two online calculus with engineering applications courses and created our first massive open online course (MOOC), Our Energetic Earth. A second MOOC on sustainable energy will launch this fall.
New this year, we also adopted the University-wide online course evaluation system that allows us to better gather course and curriculum feedback from students. We are now able to share quantitative response data directly with our students while continuing to provide quantitative and qualitative feedback to instructors and department chairs.
At U of T Engineering, we nurture the next generation of engineers to be makers and innovators through collaborative, hands-on learning opportunities. Students in capstone design courses across the Faculty synthesize the knowledge and competencies developed throughout their studies and apply them to open-ended design problems.
This year we launched our first Multidisciplinary Capstone Projects course in collaboration with industry partners such as Bombardier, Defence Research and Development Canada, Magna and others. Teams of students – each from a different department – worked together on new solutions, such as software that helps pilots manage jetlag or new treads on an all-terrain vehicle.
Select undergraduates in our mechanical and industrial engineering programs collaborated with students at Peking University in Beijing, China, for their capstone course. Teams of students from both countries worked together on client-based projects with companies that have operations both in Canada and China, such as Siemens and Litens Automotive. There were two in-person meetings, in Beijing and in Toronto, and the remaining interactions were virtual.
At the ECE Design Fair, this year’s projects included a drone helicopter that can find any charging station, a power grid that can sense its own flaws, a surgeon’s scope that detects internal abnormalities and an app that helps a child deal with cancer.
This spring’s MIE Design Showcase also featured innovative projects such as an app to help patients navigate hospitals, better sales planning tools and a machine that throws the elusive knuckleball.
Students in their first year of the Engineering Science (EngSci) program also collaborated on real-world designs this winter through their annual Praxis design course. They worked with communities across the GTA to solve eight of Toronto’s persistent challenges, like refrigerating meat at farmers’ markets and inventing a mop to eliminate repetitive strain injuries.
More Programming Opportunities for Undergraduates
Our Faculty also introduced new certificates and a minor for undergraduate students to further customize their degree and receive recognition for their focus in specific areas:
The Entrepreneurship Hatchery offers students dedicated space and guidance to develop fledgling business ideas. Thirty seven student teams are participating in this year’s program, which doubles our four-year goal – in less than three years – of 20 student teams, further embedding our culture of entrepreneurship at U of T Engineering.
Our Faculty also recorded the highest enrolment yet for the Professional Experience Year. Over 63 per cent of third-year students participated in the program, with 70 per cent of them returning to their degree with a job offer in hand.
Collaboration Across Disciplines
Graduate-level multidisciplinary research and education increased last year, offering graduate students opportunities to collaborate across the Faculty and the University.
We developed Canada’s first collaborative program in Engineering Education (EngEd) program at the master’s and PhD level, launching this September. In partnership with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, the program enables students and faculty to explore learning concepts as they apply to engineering and education.
The Centre for Global Engineering (CGEN) brought together graduate students from across U of T to develop innovative solutions to global challenges. The projects in the course Interdisciplinary Approach to Addressing Global Challenges focused on childhood malnutrition in Bangladesh. Students developed integrated solutions that combined expertise from U of T Engineering, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Rotman School of Management and the Munk School of Global Affairs.
Students from across the Faculty also worked collaboratively to devise different sustainable design solutions in the MSE course Nanomaterials in Alternate Energy Systems. Competing against other groups, the winning team – which included students from MSE, ECE and two international students from the Brazilian Science without Borders program – created a new type of eco-friendly, zero-emission soybean harvester.
New Graduate Programming Opportunities
To meet the needs of a rapidly changing global society, our Faculty now offers more graduate program options. The new Master of Engineering (MEng) in Cities Engineering and Management prepares students to address the challenges associated with an increasingly urban world, while MIE’s MEng certificate in Financial Engineering equips engineers with the tools to better handle business risk and ensure financial stability.
Two new MEng emphases, Advanced Water Technologies & Process Design and Sustainable Aviation, provide students with in-depth knowledge of water-treatment methods and the development of sustainable aircrafts, respectively.
Our Faculty expanded the flex-time PhD option – introduced to mechanical and industrial engineering students in 2012 – to students in both the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS).
We also awarded five Heffernan Commercialization Fellowships to further foster a culture of entrepreneurship. These fellowships enable graduate students to commercialize their research outcomes and spark new technology companies.
At U of T Engineering, we pursue research excellence, enhance collaborations and make tremendous advances in addressing some of the world’s most significant challenges.
For example, Professor Andreas Mandelis (MIE) is using lasers to help diagnose breast cancer and to pinpoint flaws in various industrial processes – research which garnered him a 2014 Killam Prize. Professor Peter Zandstra and PhD candidate Emanuel Nazareth (both IBBME) have made important inroads into regenerative medicine and drug development, with their findings published in Nature Methods. Likewise, Professor George Eleftheriades and PhD candidate Michael Selvanayagam (both ECE) created much excitement when they developed an invisibility cloak that can make objects undetectable to radar.
The Faculty actively encourages diverse approaches through partnerships with other departments, Faculties and the wider community. We amplified our thriving multidisciplinary and collaborative research environment this year by creating two additional EDU:Cs:
To enhance our collaborations with industry, we created a second corporate partnership position. Along with the existing role, these two positions engage potential partners through meetings between researchers and industry, and strengthen ties through participation at events such as departmental open houses, company-specific research days and our Faculty-wide reception for industry partners.
Our cutting-edge research continues to receive considerable support from government agencies, including two CREATE projects (“Manufacturing, Materials and Mimetics” and “The Program in Clean Combustion Engines”) totaling $3.3M over six years, six NSERC Strategic Projects Grants and four Grand Challenges grants.
We have also achieved $26.3 million in Tri-Council funding, surpassing our Academic Plan goal of $25 million per year in Tri-Council funding by 2015.
Select Research Stories From Across the Faculty:
Our Faculty is strengthening our diverse and exceptional community by improving peer engagement, enhancing our communication and celebrating our successes.
In October and February, Dean Cristina Amon hosted town hall meetings with the Engineering Society to engage students in dialogue about their experiences at U of T Engineering. Flowing from these gatherings, we initiated new programming and appointed a task force to examine undergraduate professional development services.
Across our Faculty, our community had another extraordinary year of awards and honours, both nationally and internationally, including: the Killam Prize, the John S. Bates Medal, Engineers Canada Awards, the Alan Blizzard Award, ASEE Awards and the LeSueur Memorial Award. We continue to receive prestigious fellowships, including the Steacie Fellowship and others from the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.
In April, our community came together to celebrate our accomplishments and recognize faculty and staff for their teaching excellence, research innovation and outstanding contributions to the University.
Our Faculty’s research and education excellence continues to receive exposure around the globe. Some highlights include:
At U of T Engineering, we have received remarkable support worldwide for the ambitious goals in our $200-million component of Boundless: The Campaign for the University of Toronto. We also made significant progress in strengthening our alumni network across the globe.
Over the past year, alumni and future alumni have rallied to show their overwhelming support for the project:
In Engineering, we actively foster our alumni community internationally. This year, we hosted two Bizskule events in Toronto and one in California, as well as Skule Lunch & Learns for alumni to interact with current students and researchers, lecture events and Spring Reunion for those graduating from years ending in ‘4’ or ‘9’.
In Engineering, we are creatively addressing the challenges of our existing space, while actively working towards creating newer spaces, such as the forthcoming CEIE building.You will find a complete list of 2013-14 infrastructure projects that are under construction and completed on our Infrastructure Renewal page.
Our Faculty is honoured to welcome new colleagues, recognize promotions and salute this year’s retirees on our 2013-14 Faculty & Staff Appointments page.
The Engineering Newsletter is a monthly summary of key headlines, events and opportunities for faculty and staff in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. If you have questions or comments, please contact: email@example.com.
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