University of Calgary improving engineering education

As joint Chairs in Design Engineering at the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, Bob Brennan and Simon Li, PhDs, will help broaden the scope of engineering education through innovative new approaches that blend technical training with hands-on experiences.
“Research has shown that learning can be deeper, richer and more rewarding if it is enhanced by experiences that go beyond the textbook or lecture hall,” commented Brennan, who is also department head for mechanical engineering. “By having our students actively engaging in engineering through real-life design challenges, we are helping create solid foundation of understanding for future engineers.” 

Brennan and Li will increase the amount of experiential learning and collaborative teamwork in courses throughout Schulich. Right now, all engineering students take design courses in their first and fourth years—including a final year project where they design, build and showcase their own work. By increasing the amount of design-based studies, students can gain more problem-solving experience and become accustomed to constantly applying their technical skills to the real-world.
The joint chairs will oversee the development of a new interdisciplinary, instrumentation systems measurement lab, sponsored by Spartan Controls Ltd, a leading provider of automation solutions, valves, measurement and process controls for industry in Western Canada. Brennan says the lab will allow for a more open-ended, design-based experience, and not just for students focusing on the energy industry.

“Investing in the future experts of the industry through support of education is a core principal at Spartan,” says Grant Wilde, president and CEO of Spartan Controls. “In partnership with Emerson and other principals, substantial investments have been made to provide students in post-secondary institutions with the most comprehensive suites of technology.”
Pictured: Bob Brennen, left, and Simon Li, right.

Photo courtesy of Collen De Neve for the Schulich School of Engineering

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