Themes & Sub-themes

Thematic Area: Disruptive Engineering Education

The full swing of the coronavirus disrupted every detail within higher education. Until now, every student would physically attend university for 1) accessibility to resources; 2) networking; and 3) to be active in a physical lab space. The state of affairs forced universities and colleges to shift to an online learning sphere, where the reasons to attend higher education are becoming less applicable by the day. Resources are found online, students participate in classes from their homes, and some labs have been able to function online.

Amidst navigating the changing world, the adaptive modeling in engineering education has now led to severe financial strain and overall lower quality in education. Additionally, the pressure of the current crisis requires action today. Higher education simply cannot wait four years for a student before they actively contribute to the solution.

Amidst navigating the changing world, the adaptive modeling in engineering education has now led to severe financial strain and overall lower quality in education. Additionally, the pressure of the current crisis requires action today. Higher education simply cannot wait four years for a student before they actively contribute to the solution.

The 2020 WEEF Conference serves as an environment to share experiences of what has and has not worked. To explore the disruption we must listen to the voices of our future, the success stories throughout the pandemic, and the actors of higher education to cooperate in sustainably re-engineering, engineering education.

Sub-theme 1: New Age Competencies for students and practitioners: e.g. the arts and intercultural competence in Engineering

Chair: Rachel Lau , United States
Co-Chair: Aniek van Kersen , Netherlands

Today, our engineering students expect to achieve a certain level of competence within different disciplines by their date of graduation. With a rapid change in new age education, degrees alone become obsolete as workplaces diversify to scope areas outside of engineering curricula. Although a challenge before the pandemic, COVID-19 has not only exposed a need for socio-politically and culturally competent engineers that can work with fellow engineers, scientists, politicians, and the general public, but has also exposed a fundamental lack of proactive pedagogy that exists within current engineering curricula. The past decades show engineering in a surge of development and specialization. This heavy specialization has left a gap in competencies between industry and academia. More than this, heavy specialization has left engineers technically capable with minimal intentional social education on the technologies they develop. By this, we increase the long-term contingency of unintended consequences in engineering.

By creating multi-disciplinary tracks and providing proactive and relevant socio-economic-political tools for engineers to apply within engineering curricula, students benefit from intercultural competence and ways of thinking from liberal arts and sciences. Students will be able to enter an era up to date with social needs and inspired to innovate for a sustainable future. The rise of circular design requires students to fully understand circular engineering’s depth next to social issues, not separate from them.

This sub-theme aims to provide students and faculty with an opportunity to interact with industry and change makers to scope the education students see their future needs and takeaways on implementing these changes in the classroom.

Topics of discussion:
am 1. Intersectional awareness, learning, and implementation.
am 2. Financial benefits/incentives of intercultural competencies for the student, the university, and the workforce (and how to implement it).

Sub-theme 2: New Careers and Opportunities

Chair: Sanket Dhadke, India

Employment has taken a toll nearly everywhere in the world. Most professionals have lost their jobs and fresh candidates are in search for new opportunities in the market. With the entire world affected by a cash crunch, has also led to financial losses to companies and individuals due to lack of improper planning and not being prepared for contingencies. The next word that comes to an individual’s mind is, about their future and their security related to job and daily livelihood. With this in place, individuals have started to seek and explore the field in which they can use their knowledge in and see the aftereffect of not being well prepared to certain conditions that can make them fall abruptly.

As a primary step towards this, one can explore the fields of their interest and start preparing towards the same or they can also refine their skills into the existing field they are associated with. To recover from such huge losses or backlash it takes years. As most pockets are empty and circulation of things is at a standstill. For industries to resume and the work to come back to normal will be a challenging task and must be a planned and skilled activity. As engineers, we can explore various methods of working environments and ways that will keep us safe and provide nearly the same output as it was before the pandemic. One can also learn from the inconveniences that are caused due to unpreparedness for such a thing and try to find solutions to problems, which we faced in the first place.

There are going to be tremendous opportunities in the all fields and mainly in technology related activities as it will be a good hope for all.

Copyright © 2020