What’s Been Happening with WatPD Engineering?

Eric Cousineau - VP Education
Posted on: September 29, 2010

SUC (Senate Undergraduate Council)

This is a council consisting of student and administrative representatives from each faculty, as well as upper-level administration of the university. We approved the implementation plan for WatPD Engineering, which will go to a final vote in the October Senate Meeting. Once this is approved engineering students will have the following options depending on their situation:

1)      For Students that have credit for PDEng 15 and PDEng 25 as of January 2011. Students who have passed both PDEng 15 and PDEng 25 will be able to select the other three courses in their professional development program from: PDEng 35, 45, 55 and PD 3 to 7, depending on their availability.

2)      Students who have passed PDEng 15 but not PDEng 25 as of January 2011 may select one of the following two paths:

  1. PDEng 25, followed by three courses from the courses listed in 1.
  2. PD 20, PD 21 and then two courses from the PD elective suite.

3)      Students who have not passed any PDEng courses as of January 2011 will be able to select one of two paths:

  1. PDEng 15, PDEng 25 followed by three courses as listed in 1, or
  2. PD 20, PD 21 followed by three courses as listed in 1.

PDEng courses will not be available after the end of the Winter Term in 2012. Furthermore, PDEng 15 to 55 will only be offered in a term if sufficient interest is shown. If your situation doesn’t fit into the above chart, it will have to be considered on a case by case basis. The reason that PDEng can’t be immediately removed is that the academic calendars for all classes 2014 and older contain the option for PDEng, so it is required that the option is available to them if they so wish to use it.

WatPD CC (WatPD Engineering Curriculum Committee)

Since May 2010, WatPD Engineering has been progressing at lightning speed and many things have been accomplished. I’m going to do my best to briefly inform you of what has occurred to date.  Keep in mind that this is only a summary and not at all exhaustive.

This curriculum committee was formed in early May with representation from each faculty, as well as student representation. The role of this committee is to manage and facilitate the transition from PDEng to WatPD Engineering. The learning goals of the first course were defined to be: Communication, Critical Thinking, and Drawing Reasoned Conclusions. These skills are used to interpret engineering data, and present analytical conclusions clearly and concisely. This is a very common practice in Engineering, and one that many students can improve on. And RFP was formulated and development teams submitted proposals. A proposal was received from the philosophy department, featuring Dr. Greg Andres and Dr. Tim Kenyon as the main developers.

These individuals are very experienced professors with years of experience teaching communication and critical thinking to engineering students taking their courses as electives. Their proposal was chosen because of the following features: tight focus, strong integration of critical thinking, and good integration with engineering context. The way that they integrate the course with engineering context is with their innovative use of multimedia. Each module begins with a video lecture from an experienced professional engineer talking about his or her experience related to that module, and the effects of that skill or concept.

Since the proposal was chosen, the curriculum committee has been working with the philosophy team to incorporate all of the desired course elements. A design review meeting was held on September 8th, and the committee felt that the course was well on track. This is very exciting for students because it brings a unique approach to teaching professional skills that promises to be more engaging and exciting than the approach used in the past. As a student, I look forward to seeing the finished product, and I have confidence that their experience teaching these concepts in philosophy courses will translate well to professional development courses in our faculty.

Since the design review meeting on September 8th, the committee has been working to put out an RFP for PD 21. The learning goal of this course involves: defining problems, developing solution plans, and creating technical and non-technical presentations of plans. These skills would allow a student to take a problem and develop a plan to solve it, as well as communicate their plan to others. Our goal is to release the RFP before the end of September. I will keep you updated as things develop for PD 21.

In other news Gord Stubley, the Academic Director of WatPD Engineering, is organizing a forum meeting to communicate and discuss the progress of WatPD thus far. The meeting is currently scheduled for 7:30 – 9:00 on Thursday, October 7th in DC 1351. More information will be released about this as the date approaches.

Thank you for reading my article. I encourage you to send any questions you have to asoc_vpedu@engmail.uwaterloo.ca