Interim Report of the Dean’s Task Force on Globalization and Engineering - Summary

The Dean’s Task Force on Globalization and Engineering has issued an interim report (PDF) summarizing its work to date.  The Task Force welcomes your comments on the Report and on the topic of globalization and engineering as it relates to the Faculty.  Selected highlights of the Report are included below.

Please send your comments to members of the Task Force via the Dean's Office:

After reading key reports and books, and interviewing thought leaders, the Task Force has unequivocally concluded that globalization is a reality, and that the education and research missions of this Faculty must be informed by globalization trends.  The three key components of globalization identified were:  competitiveness/collaboration, sustainability, and international development.   Our graduates will collaborate and compete with engineers from around the world, and engineers should engage with the world's most urgent problems including poverty, hunger, environment and energy. 

The Global Engineer
The Task Force has identified several abilities that define the Global Engineer.  He or she:

  • understands the broad context of engineering work,  including cross-disciplinary aspects, and the business and social implications; 
  • has expertise in a specific field, but is comfortable in many engineering disciplines and able to work in an interdisciplinary way;
  • is a problem solver and is creative; 
  • can adapt to new situations, deal with complexity, and is skilled at systems thinking;
  • is able to collaborate on a global basis, including knowledge and/or understanding of culture and language, and knowledge of collaboration techniques and software;
  • is able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing in English, and is able to communicate across language and cultural differences; 
  • has an understanding of sustainability efforts, and the ability to factor environmental impact and energy use characteristics into all aspects of his/her work;
  • has a well-developed sense of social responsibility and ethics, with due consideration in his/her personal and professional activities for the world's poor;
  • is entrepreneurial, and is prepared to work with a varying level of resources and in various types of organizations. 

Opportunities for the Faculty
Only a handful of engineering programs related to globalization exist now.   Within those, even fewer are also (a) comprehensive across multiple key areas of globalization, (b) offered by universities ranked in the Top 50 global engineering schools and (c) offered in universities and cities that have the depth of diversity of the University of Toronto and Toronto. 

The tremendous research strength in the Faculty is something upon which we can build.  Many colleagues already work on areas that address globally significant problems.  There is an opportunity to further enhance and expand these efforts in highly impactful and visible ways. 

Selected Preliminary Recommendations

  • Cultivate innovative, critical and systems thinking, adaptability and ability to manage complexity within the curriculum.
  • Develop global sustainability perspective through complementary studies courses.
  • Incorporate global sustainability through the technical curriculum.
  • Develop expertise in global knowledge through formal programs ranging from minors to degree programs. 
  • Provide students with increased opportunities to develop a level of global experience and skill set through international experience.
  • Seek to more directly link the research of the Faculty with major global mandates, and generate a culture that encourages faculty to address key problems.
  • Evaluate the feasibility of, and recommend start-up and implementation strategies for a new centre on global engineering and sustainable technologies.

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