Collaborative engineering minor coming to Brock

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

Photo Credit: Zoe Archambault

On December 11 2019, the 675th Senate meeting took place at Sankey Chambers, where the department of physics proposed to introduce a minor in engineering science for Brock students. Earlier in 2019, the Senate received an elaborate presentation over the possibility of an engineering department at Brock.

Senate chose to move the engineering minor forward, despite concerns being raised by some members.

“While the content seemed well thought out at the most recent presentation, the assumptions that the presenter made around student demographics, particularly in relation to gender and sexual diversity, was appalling and offensive. Hopefully these concerns are carried forward and addressed at the programmatic level before implementation,” said Christopher Yendt, a Graduate student senator.

The Chair of Brock Senate, Don Cyr, submitted his report to University’s Secretariat with a brief overview of his concern around lack of engineering education at Brock.

“President Fearon and I have both noted that one possible differentiating factor in terms of Brock, compared to the other comprehensive universities, is the lack of an engineering program. Indeed of the 15 comprehensive universities [in Ontario], only two do not have an engineering school – Brock and Wilfrid Laurier,” Cyr mentioned in his report.

The chair emphasized that the Senate has a proposal for a minor in engineering science in front of them that has enormous potential for expansion in the future. Senate has approved the addition of a collaborative minor in engineering science in the department of physics to the 2019-2020 undergraduate calendar.

The department of physics wants to introduce the concept of ‘integrated engineering’ with the new collaborative minor and is taking a holistic approach by amalgamating all other academic areas such as business, education and arts within a ‘humanist engineering’ curriculum. The proposal further explained that courses for the minor will be selected from the existing academic circles at Brock and all courses will be conformed to four principal themes; feeding the world, shaping the future, connecting the world and creating healthy communities.

“The expectation outlined in both Brock’s strategic plan, as well as the currently in negotiation Strategic Mandate Agreement (SMA) is a three phase approach. This will begin with a program of course offerings to allow Brock to offer a minor in engineering, which has limited restrictions in terms of requirements,” said Yendt. “From there the plan is to move toward program offerings at the graduate level, as again they do not have the same restrictions to satisfy external accreditation and then finally launch a bachelor of engineering degree, once the first two stages are completed and operational.”

The key course addition for the minor program will be ENGS 1P01, The Humanist Engineer. The course will deal with essential etiquette required in the professional field of engineering, ethical challenges and problem solving from multi-faceted modern problems that exist in the contemporary world. The department also shared the goal of expanding this minor program eventually into BEng and MEng degree programs. The programs will entertain the local needs of Niagara Region as well as enhance the current educational offering of Brock University.

“Should this go forward and continue through all the stages of expansion and be successful, it will conceivably strengthen Brock’s research enterprise by allowing for increased NSERC submissions along with an array of private public partnerships,” said Yendt.

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