McMaster Engineering: Our future lies in innovative solutions

McMaster Engineering is committed to excellence. We have therefore invested in opportunities that are designed to enhance our local, national and global reach, in keeping with the intent of our university and McMaster President Patrick Dean’s Forward with Integrity vision.

Over the past two years, with the goal of amplifying our current impact, we have engaged in a discussion through our Invest for Excellence (IFE) initiative. I have met with almost all of our faculty and staff members through small group and individual meetings, and retreats, and with some of them very many times.

Our investments, as a result of those discussions, are beginning to bear fruit. We see gains in a number of areas from recruiting more women students and faculty members to improving student experiential learning to supporting our community through the new Faculty Development Academy.

We recognize that there’s still more work to do. Therefore, we have entered the next phase of the initiative, Innovation from Excellence (also IFE).

Our future lies in overcoming challenges with innovative solutions. There will be no substitute for excellence.

  1. INCREASING DIVERSITY | Improving gender representation in McMaster Engineering.

We must engage more women in engineering. Recognizing this challenge, we’re boosting the number of women students in a variety of ways, including: female-centred events and camps, new Dean’s Excellence entrance scholarships aimed at high achievers, undergraduate summer research awards, and travel awards to support gender equity. These initiatives have helped increase enrollment of women. We are proactively recruiting women faculty members. All search committee members now require certification in diversity hiring practices.

  1. STUDENT RETENTION | Improving retention and graduation rates and time to graduation.

We have considerably improved student retention but more can be done. We will offer students paths to grow into thought leaders and world changers, as well as being employable. In support of this, we are offering leadership programs and seminars; building the Gerald Hatch Centre for Engineering Experiential Learning (GHC); and offering a new program to further improve teaching and learning.

  1. GRADUATE STUDENTS | Improving post-graduate careers.

We lag behind peers in mentoring doctoral students. To address this, we will increase remuneration for Ph.D. students; streamline programming so students graduate in a more timely way; offer competitive scholarships to outstanding students; and establish an industrial Ph.D. program to attract more domestic students. Capitalizing on our expertise in experiential learning, we are developing professional Master’s programs to enhance alumni careers; building a work placement option for graduate students; and offering career and professional skills development for graduate students.

  1. STRENGTHENING FACULTY-STUDENT INTERACTIONS | Increasing the number of faculty.

To become more student-focused and improve faculty-student interactions, we must increase the size of our Faculty. We are doing so in our priority areas of micro-nano systems, smart systems and biomedical engineering. As a corollary, this will also enable faculty members to interact in research cohorts and further leverage the anticipated increase in research funds through new hires.

  1. COMMUNITY | Improving mentoring and support, and sense of community.

We will continue to recruit and retain the best talent by improving our workplace. The Faculty Development Academy, launched in 2014, will be strengthened to further help faculty and staff members foster personal and professional growth in research, teaching, engagement and leadership. To increase personal interactions, the Faculty will continue to invest in the creation of community spaces. 

  1. ENHANCE REPUTATION | Improving the global reputation of McMaster Engineering.

Our efforts to engage our exceptional students, facilitate their development into high-achieving alumni, improve teaching and learning, facilitate more research scholarship, and greater engagement should improve our worldwide rank. We are developing two new undergraduate programs: a five-year undergraduate engineering and biomedical program, and a similar smart systems program. We will nominate more faculty members for major awards, improve media relations, facilitate academia-industry mixers and improve the quantity and quality of large-scale research proposals.

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