How McMaster Engineering has pivoted during COVID-19

McMaster Engineering is a community that pivots.

Our community of researchers, instructors, staff and students is quick to embrace change and meet new challenges.

No challenge has been greater than COVID-19.

Like many sectors, higher education has had to evolve rapidly to meet the challenge posed by this virus. I am proud to report that our faculty and staff have embraced these challenges.

As a Faculty, we have invested almost $1.5 million to support our professors as they transition to virtual teaching. We have made investments in everything from kits for hands-on projects to studio spaces for recording lectures to creating augmented reality learning environments.

We are working closely with educational company, Quanser to offer the latest in transformational and innovative engineering labs for our new first year experiential-learning focused program, which launches this September, and for many of our upper-year labs, which range from accurate simulation-based models of chemical plants to robot programming and control systems.

We are ensuring that our incoming first year students are set-up for success.

This August, we will run a new online preparatory program for incoming students: EMBER. The Engineering Mentorship and Bridging Engineering Resource program will offer students fundamental skills in mathematics, physics and chemistry as well as opportunities to socialize and network. To date, more than 1,000 incoming students have registered.

We are finding innovative ways to give students experiential learning opportunities.

In late June, we launched a change-a-thon to address COVID-19 challenges in Hamilton through our MacChangers program. Selected from among over 400 applicants, more than 130 students completed the first-ever MacChangers: Change-a-Thon, a virtual program designed to bring together students and community partners to co-create proposals to solve challenges during COVID-19. 

We have successfully pivoted our research enterprise. Within weeks, we launched new research in support of creating improved masks for health care workers and created testing sites for personal protective gear.

This has spurred the launch of a new Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials, led by Ravi Selvanagapathy, which aims to create an ecosystem of local expertise to build domestic supply chains for PPE and innovate existing products, including face masks and shields. 

We will continue to innovate in the face of COVID and challenge ourselves to look for the best ways to contribute to society and to improve our world.

McMaster Engineering is in good health and we look forward to serving our students and society with creativity, enthusiasm and hope.


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