I recently returned from the Global Engineering Education Leadership Conference in China. The theme of the conference was “Engineering Education for Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” and it brought together engineering deans from across the globe. Returning home, it struck me that all of my peers, no matter where they were from, were dealing with some of the same issues we do.
We are all trying to provide entrepreneurial experiences for our students, nurture innovation on our campuses, and incorporate improved methods in teaching engineering. Talking with other deans about these issues makes the world a little smaller and a lot more cohesive. We could all rally around a unifying theme with a common purpose.
Active learning was a large part of the discussion. It is gratifying to know that Georgia Tech is a leader in active learning, with such initiatives as CREATE-X, VIP, and our maker spaces. When you find that what we do does influences others, you know you are doing something right.
We were the first engineering college to adopt problem-based learning in our curriculum. It was interesting to discover that the Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia now has a Cooperative Problem Based Learning component, which also adds elements to develop groups into functional learning teams.
While CREATE-X has been one of the hallmarks of our entrepreneurial experiences for undergraduates, the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University in Toronto just opened its Bergeron Centre for Engineering Excellence in April 2016. The Centre’s mission is to serve as a hub for entrepreneurship, collaboration and creativity. Something we have been doing, and doing it very well, for a number of years.
How we teach and the way students want to learn are changing. I’m proud of the progress we’re making. One thing is for sure: Georgia Tech’s embrace of active learning bodes well for all our students. We are equipping them with the skills and experiences they need to succeed in 2017, and other universities around the world are taking notice.