OSPE - The Voice - June 2018 - 36

STUDENTS

Evolving the Engineering
Profession to Compete in
Today's Market
How the University of Windsor is
diversifying the engineering curriculum and
preparing students for the working world.

T

he landscape of the Canadian job market has changed and engineers
like Jennifer Côté are preparing themselves for today's competitive
work environment.
"The next wave of engineers is going to have to figure out how to be
entrepreneurial - not just as in a start-up but how to be entrepreneurial
within a company," said Dr. Beth-Anne Schuelke-Leech, P.Eng., an
assistant professor of engineering management and entrepreneurship at
the University of Windsor. "If you are not providing or demonstrating
value, companies will not keep you around like they used to."
It's why in 2016, the University of Windsor's Faculty of Engineering
and Odette School of Business partnered to launch Ontario's first
weekend Master of Engineering Management (MEM) degree. The twoyear program allows working professionals to enhance their technical
expertise with business and managerial skills without interrupting their
careers.
For Côté, a senior manager of corporate planning at ValiantTMS in
Windsor and mother of three, it was an ideal fit. Côté, a student in the
university's inaugural class, said each MEM course is tailored to real-life
working situations that arise in the workplace.
"The students are all working professionals with backgrounds in
engineering, which simulates real working conditions and allows for
more dynamic learning through group discussion and brainstorming,"
says Côté. "Working with engineers from different disciplines and
backgrounds allows for alternate perspectives on the topics being
discussed. Because many of us come from diverse industries, we see
similar and different issues arising in real-life situations - it makes for a
great learning experience."
As a professional engineer who has co-founded three technologybased businesses, Schuelke-Leech is guiding the university's MEM
students through the innovation process and helping them to establish
a link between industry, academia and policymakers. She believes the
program will help students navigate the insecure work environment of
today's world.
Schuelke-Leech moved to Windsor in 2016 to teach in the MEM
program. The former Ohio State University professor said she was
36

THE VOICE

June 2018

Jennifer Côté, pictured in the Ed Lumley Centre for
Engineering Innovation, says the skills she's acquiring
in the University of Windsor's weekend Master of
Engineering Management program are quickly
transferable and beneficial to the daily situations of her
professional career.

attracted to UWindsor's MEM program after
speaking to faculty members who were commited
to diversifying the engineering curriculum and
preparing students for the working world.
"That's a very different approach to engineering
and I found that very appealing," she said.
The MEM program has attracted students from
a variety of engineering disciplines, including
mechanical, industrial, computer, electrical, civil,
aerospace and even a kinesiology graduate who
works as a human-factors engineer. Professionals
from out of town are taking advantage of the
curriculum offered every second weekend on Friday
evenings, 6 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30
p.m.
"We can tell this is a much-needed program,"
said MEM program coordinator and professor
Ali AbdulHussein. "This is what today's market
demands. You're not just sitting behind a computer
and designing a product or programming software;
you need to understand the human factor of the
project that you're running. You also need to be
able to communicate with engineers of different
backgrounds and people in the sales and marketing
department."
AbdulHussein says most of the courses in the
MEM program are group focused and centred
around presentation and communication skills.
"We want our students to focus on understanding
the economic and business aspects of open



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