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Take a look at this years Rube Goldberg machine that features nine schools from all across Ontario coming together to build a provincial wide rube goldberg machine with the last step lighting up the CN Tower purple!
February is almost over and that means it’s time to start ramping up for National Engineering Month! NEM is a month long celebration of engineering with events happening across Canada to promote awareness of the engineering profession. Each year ESSCO puts together a large event linking the schools across Ontario in a display of engineering creativity and unity. This year the Rube Goldberg is back and better than ever!
Ten schools across Ontario are currently working to build portions of a Rube Goldberg machine that will be assembled at the end of the month into one provincial wide machine connected electronically. This year schools are also calling in reinforcements and recruiting the help of students from nearby high schools to get them involved and excited about engineering!
The final step in the machine will once again be lighting up one of the provinces greatest engineering feats the CN tower. This event is happening on March 26th and will feature a video of all of the different machines and a live performance by one school that will flick the switch to light up the CN tower purple!
Another great NEM event happening to kick-off the month is the Nothing but NEM event run by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). It’s a chance to watch a Raptor’s game while networking with other engineers in a fun setting. For details and to get tickets visit: http://www.ospe.on.ca/event/13Mar1
From January 2-8 2013, the Canadian Federation of Engineering Students held their annual Congress in Kitchener and ESSCO was represented through my attendance. During this conference I took the opportunity to communicate with Ontario member schools as well as key members in the Engineering Profession. At this conference I made key contacts, which will allow me to discuss Ontario students opinions on things such as the role Engineers Canada plays in student development as well as the new accreditation process.
I sat down with Mauricio Curbelo of the PEO who is in charge of redeveloping the student membership program as well as working on the student’s roles within the PEO. We have been in regular contact during the development stage and we have been working together on trying to figure out what the program should do. Here are some updates:
- The SMP website is done and the Facebook page will be up soon. This will be used as a platform to provide relevant content to students looking to get information about licensure or how to get involved in the PEO.
- Since OSPE also has a student program, the PEO must ensure that they focus their efforts on licensure.
- At bare minimum, it will be a platform which gives students a convenient place to find out about the road they will need to travel in order to get licensed.
Mauricio has some time in his term at the PEO and so we also discussed what he can be doing for students. The two things we came up that he can work on in the next few months is:
- Develop a relationship between PEO chapters and Universities. The suggestion is to create a resource document for the Chapters, which includes strategies on how to communicate with schools as well as suggestions on events that the chapters can run that would appeal to students. This would include examples from chapters who are currently doing a great job interacting with students in the hopes that others can learn from them.
- Investigate areas within the PEO where he thinks students can have an impact and then take steps to implement it. This would include letting ESSCO know about potential opportunities as well as communicate these ideas to the area within the PEO in charge of that initiative.
It is great to have a staff member within the PEO whose job description involves improving the way the PEO interacts with students and what I have seen so far is promising. That being said, we can always use feedback and are still looking for suggestions on the content that will be on the website as well as what type of content students would like to receive over email to supplement information about licensure. Therefore I would invite you all to share your suggestions with myself and we can take them into consideration.
On Friday November 3rd, myself and some of the other ESSCO exec had the opportunity to attend Question Period at Parliament and then have lunch in the Parliamentary dining room. Present at that lunch was Kim Allen, the CEO of Engineers Canada and over lunch we had a conversation about a few topics including the new outcomes based accreditation and the role Engineers Canada plays within the Engineering community.
As many know, the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board is changing the accreditation process, which switches from a program evaluation to an evaluation based on what skills and attributes a graduate of that program will have.
The CEAB is a board under the Engineers Canada Umbrella and so I asked Kim how they are going to approach the rollout of the new accreditation process.
The rollout of this new accreditation is starting with the University of Toronto in 2014 and will continue across the country from there. My major concern is that it seems like schools are coming up with small fixes to make their programs compatible instead of actually improving the curriculum to reflect these outcomes. The purpose of this change in accreditation is to try and improve Engineering education to reflect the needs of the modern engineer. If schools are not being forced to improve their curriculum then the point of this change is useless.
In my conversation with Kim, he mentioned that the assessment will evolve with time. He explained that there will be some front runners who are actively working on improving the curriculum in order to reflect these outcomes and as these programs develop and increase in numbers the accreditation requirements will evolve to adapt. Therefore, for now the smaller changes will be acceptable but schools should not be content with them because they will eventually require some of the more innovative approaches attempted by these front-running schools. I urged the CEAB to push the universities to make major changes rather than smaller patch fixes and Kim has assured me that this is something the CEAB has in mind.
One of the interesting things that came up in conversation was the qualifications and qualities that would make a good dean. He was contacted by a headhunter looking for the new dean of an engineering school and they asked what makes a good engineering dean. He has asked me to investigate the student opinion of what qualities and qualifications would be needed by a person to make a good dean of Engineering. I will be sending out a short survey to the ESSCO mailing list but if you would like to have your opinion included please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On November 2nd seventy-two engineering students from across Ontario descended on Ottawa for the Professional Engineers Ontario Student Conference hosted by the University of Ottawa. On the Friday of the conference the ESSCO executives, PEO-SC organizing Committee, Mauricio Curbelo and Jeannette Chau from PEO, and Howard Brown from Brown and Cohen Communications and Public Affairs Inc. attended question period at the House of Commons. After question period the team met with Kim Allen the CEO of Engineers Canada for lunch.
The conference sessions started on Saturday with talks about the PEO and engineers in policy. Conversations on biotechnology in medicine and grad studies engaged students and great discussions formed. On the Sunday morning of the conference two last sessions on engineering prevention and response of tsunamis and the PEO Student Membership program were followed by a panel of the conference speakers. A recap of the panel session and questions asked can be found here on the ESSCO wiki.
On September 15th the ESSCO student representatives met with the Ontario Engineering Competition (OEC) Advisory Board Executive members including Chair Kevin Shipley, Treasure Stephanie Shaw, Secretary Dan Roth and the Board Appointees. The role of the board is to oversee the regulations of the OEC, approve and suggest specific competitions, and ensure the level of quality displayed at the event stays in high standing. The conference opened with the only bid for the 2014 Ontario Engineering Competition from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). The school was proven a great location for the OEC by two undergraduate students who presented the countless resources the school has to offer and their commitment to the major event. UOIT was thrilled to be chosen as the 2014 host. McMaster University, the host of the 2013 OEC, then continued with an update on their standing for this year’s event involving sponsorship and other competition details. The event is scheduled to take place on the first weekend in February. The meeting concluded on a note that the number of bids received to hold the OEC in the future has been decreasing year by year. The upcoming goal is to increase this number by raising awareness to students and staff of Ontario Universities about the valuable experience gained from hosting such an event.
November 2-4 2012, University of Ottawa
Goal of the Conference
The Professional Engineers of Ontario Student Conference (PEOSC) is one of the largest student-run conferences in Ontario. The goal of this conference is to educate students on what lies beyond graduation. Every year it is planned and executed through the hard work of dedicated student volunteers. Industry partnership is vital to the success of the conference.
Our Theme - Bridging The Gap: From Theory to Practice
Like any major project, the education of the next generation of engineers requires the input and influence of an entire team. University professors outline the theories that provide the foundation of our knowledge. Industry professionals take on young graduates and show them how to apply this knowledge. Regulators ensure that the standards and expectations of the discipline are met. By bringing these groups together, we ensure that the new generation not only possesses an understanding of the world, but the tools to create a new
one. This year we have a variety of speakers ranging from industry representatives to distinguished professors. They will be presenting on topics like design thinking, policy and academic routes.
Last weekend over 50 executives from Engineering Societies all over Ontario gathered to learn from each other and share best practices. Great discussions were had on the topics of corporate sponsorship, succession planning, unique services, and social media. From this conference it was also determined that a committee be formed to look at the high school math and science curriculum and how it affects the transition into engineering. Anyone interested in being a part of that initiative can look at the blog post below for more information. All of the ideas and discussions that occurred at the conference will be put up on the ESSCO wiki shortly so keep your eyes open for that!
On September 16, 2012, ESSCO members voted to further research student opinion on the high school-to-University transition with regards to math and science curriculum. The research, and follow-up documentation, falls under an ESSCO initiative called the Lobbying Issues and Action Committee (LIAC) under the direction of ESSCO President, Michael Seliske. I, Mike Kovacs, have been asked to chair the committee.
The issue that initiated this LIAC research topic is student concern regarding coursework in their first year of an Engineering program. Much of the content covered in the first year of an accredited Canadian Engineering program, is meant to review high school material, and to build on those basic concepts, ultimately leading to the field-specific technical material related to each stream of engineering. Consequently, when students feel uncomfortable with this basic material, senior-year courses also suffer, as students are uncomfortable with the basic material and can no longer do the work to the capacity that others might.
From experience and discussion with various generations of high school graduates, I believe the Ontario math (and perhaps science) curriculum has lowered standards and removed important content in the past 5-10 years, which was crucial to a more fluid transition into math-dependent post-secondary programs.
My goal through this LIAC committee would be to coordinate a short, but valuable survey for all engineering undergraduate students, to gather data that may be analyzed to determine the undergraduate engineering opinion on this high school-to-University transition. The LIAC committee would review a set of survey questions (3-5 questions total), and assist in the distribution of the survey with the goal of achieving a tremendous response. It would then analyze the data, and hopefully with some citation from official documentation, create a short and concise report to be submitted to media outlets, and the government if the findings are deemed significant.
You have been provided a means of applying for the LIAC committee, through ESSCO. If you are interested, please respond by September 26th at 6pm, so that we may finalize a committee and begin working on the survey.
Interested applicants may possess the following traits/interests:
• Investigative research interest, in order to provide more content to a final report of survey findings. This would include researching the revisions of the Ontario education curriculum, to find references to the content removal which may be causing this issue.
• Data analysis. Depending on the complexity of the system we decide to analyze (we will likely design for simplicity), we may benefit from someone with some statistical analysis experience.
Interested applicants should apply here
Any questions can be directed to Mike Kovacs at email@example.com
ESSCO is currently looking for individuals for the role of Event Director for both National Engineering Month and Wonderland Math and Physics Day. These are two of the larger outreach services ESSCO facilitates as we are committed to promoting Engineering as a profession, especially to highschool and elementary school students. An ESSCO directorship is an excellent opportunity to develop your skills in project management as you will be maintaining a budget, facilitating volunteer recruitment, and conducting large scale event planning. If you have leadership experience and enjoy taking part in outreach activities these are great positions for you!
NEM (National Engineering Month) Director:
As Director you will lead a team composed of representatives from each of the participating Ontario Engineering schools in a project that showcases Engineering in our society. Your role will involve the large scale logistics of the event, gaining publicity, and liasing with OSPE, while your Coordinators will manage the creative implementation. The final event will occur in March 2013.
Last year’s project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Wonderland Math and Physics Day Director:
As Director you will facilitate a day in May 2013, at Wonderland where students from grades 5-12 will learn about the science, mathematics and physics concepts involved in amusement park attractions. You will liase with Engineering schools across Ontario to organize a team of volunteers to assist in the event day as well as work with staff at Wonderland to plan the event. This event has been a great success in past years and you could continue this!
Wonderland Math and Physics Day Director: As Director you will facilitate a day in May 2013, at Wonderland where students from grades 5-12 will learn about the science, mathematics and physics concepts involved in amusement park attractions. You will liase with Engineering schools across Ontario to organize a team of volunteers to assist in the event day as well as work with staff at Wonderland to plan the event. This event has been a great success in past years and you could continue this!
google.com/a/essco.ca/ spreadsheet/viewform?formkey= dHpuMU44MTQ1NWRxdG5OekJ1eEZWYX c6MQ
APPLICATIONS DUE: September 26th at noon.
If you have any questions regarding these positions please contact Emily Bot at firstname.lastname@example.org.