By John E Mitchell, on 29 March 2012
Engineers have always driven change and will continue to do so, making life better by advancing transport, healthcare, communications, impacting on all spheres of life. But what tools and skills will current Engineer students need so that they will be changing the world in 20 or 50 years time? Are our current programmes providing the best possible education to enable these world changers? These are big questions which are not easy to answer.
We know that the world’s big problems don’t respect disciplinary boundaries, we’ve been saying it for a long time. We talk about cross-disciplinary this, interdisciplinary that and trans-disciplinary the other, but how should we equip our graduates to operate in this multi-disciplinary world?
Although we offer highly regarded, rigorous programmes that are performing well against all the usual metrics, make more connections at a faculty level in the provision of teaching and learning could enhance the student experience and better equip our graduates for their broad range of future roles. Currently, we are reviewing how this can best be achieved. We have a foundation of excellent teaching but from this we want to develop a framework where common elements, discipline mobility and interdisciplinary working are part of the experience.
It’s clear that any changes must:
- Provide added value to the graduates produced by the faculty
- Result in no loss of rigour in the Engineering Science of the degrees offered
- Improve the student experience
- Produce a distinctive, UCL educational package
- Produce graduate Engineering leaders capable of looking at complex engineering problems across multiple disciplines but with a deep rooted understanding of a specialist discipline
- Be clearly aligned with the areas of research excellence of UCL Engineering
- Meet the requirements of all appropriate accrediting bodies
Not much to ask then. But then if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.