To meet the ever-evolving demand for skills, Ontario Tech University is gearing up for some exciting changes in its Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Today’s engineering schools are constantly evolving to keep pace with rapidly shifting industry needs — and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) at Ontario Tech University is no exception. As the Oshawa, Ontario-based university resumes in-person learning following the pandemic, FEAS is preparing its students with the necessary skills to meet the needs of the modern workforce by expanding its programs, upgrading its facilities, and adding more opportunities for students to gain experiential, hands-on learning.
New graduate degree plus two new undergraduate programs
In addition to offering a new graduate degree (Master of Applied Science/Master of Engineering in Software Engineering), FEAS will add two new undergraduate engineering programs for 2023–2024 — Energy Engineering and Industrial Engineering.
These new interdisciplinary programs are anchored on problem solving approaches and critical design techniques to ensure graduates meet the evolving demands of the engineering profession. Experiential learning and innovative teaching methods are at the core of engineering programs at Ontario Tech providing a strong learning environment for students.
The Energy Engineering program incorporates a variety of engineering fields — including electrical, mechanical, and nuclear — and is designed to support the transition to a sustainable energy future. “There’s a real demand for skilled graduates in this field right now, but there are currently very few programs that specialize in energy engineering,” says Dr. Hossam Kishawy, Professor and Dean at Ontario Tech’s FEAS. Students in this program will learn different aspects of energy systems, including hydrogen, electrical, nuclear, renewable, and energy storage.
The Industrial Engineering program addresses the growing need for engineers with the skills to solve complex industrial engineering challenges related to automotive/transportation systems, consumer products, power generation, information/telecommunications, and healthcare systems. Integrating several branches of engineering, the program addresses rapid industrial evolution and the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve real-world problems.
Enhanced experiential learning opportunities
Experiential learning has been always an integral component to Ontario Tech’s engineering programs. In addition to receiving theoretical and hands-on training through their courses, students in FEAS gain real-world experience in their field of study through paid internships and co-op placements. This opportunity of learning-by-doing offers students many benefits, such as a better understanding of course materials, enhancing their skills, and building their professional experience.
This year, FEAS is giving the experiential learning component an added boost by introducing a new co-op stream embedded in the degree itself. The co-op designation certifies that students have work experience in a specific area of engineering upon graduation, thereby enhancing their employability in the marketplace.
Since our inception, we have placed an emphasis on engineering design in all our programs to encourage thinking outside the box and promoting the problem-solving skills that students need to solve real-world engineering problems.
State-of-the-art facilities for students to test design ideas
The on-campus experiential learning spaces are state-of-the-art and support FEAS’ student design teams and individual students with their projects. The Engineering Innovation Hub combines the newly revamped Machine Shop, Design Studio, as well as the Student Concept Lab, where teams can access materials, tools, and equipment to assemble prototypes for national and international engineering design competitions. Additionally, the Jeffrey S. Boyce Engineering Innovation and Design Studio offers students more opportunities to receive design direction, mentorship, and compete for awards.
Being part of a student design team is strongly encouraged by FEAS, as it helps students not only with honing and applying their engineering knowledge, but also in acquiring an array of valuable soft and hard skills, such as business management, leadership, and fundraising.
FEAS’s student design teams have already scored some significant triumphs. The Ontario Tech Racing Team recently participated in its first-ever competition, the 2022 Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) competition in Michigan, placing a respectful 33 out of 80 registered competitors. Last June, Ontario Tech’s Ridgebots Design Team made it to the first round of 3v3 playoffs of the RoboMaster University League (RMUL) annual competition at Texas A&M University. The Ontario Tech Rocketry Team plans to compete at the end of the 2022–2023 academic year with about 30 students (both graduate and undergraduate) from all engineering programs participating in its inaugural year. As more student design teams are created, FEAS will continue offering support with mentorship, guidance, logistics, and funding.
Dr. Hossam Kishawy
Professor and Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science
What do you believe is required to educate and prepare future engineers?
Future engineers need relevant hands-on experience, teamwork and communication skills, and our job is to provide an environment where students can acquire these. While future engineers must do well in their studies, it is equally important that they be involved in extracurricular activities like design competitions, clubs, and racing teams, because it’s through these activities that they really get to develop and sharpen their skills and competencies, allowing them to better compete in the job market.
What sets Ontario Tech University’s engineering programs apart from other universities?
Since our inception, we have placed an emphasis on engineering design in all our programs to encourage thinking outside the box and promoting the problem-solving skills that students need to solve real-world engineering problems. Another feature is our focus on unique programs, such as Automotive Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, and Manufacturing Engineering, and having specializations built into our other programs. Finally, we give our undergraduate students the opportunity to pursue either a Bachelor of Engineering or a Bachelor of Engineering and Management degree. The latter option allows them to acquire relevant business education while pursuing their undergraduate degree.
Recently, the co-op option has become part of the program. What impact does this have on your students?
The co-op program has always been an option for students, but now students can have the co-op designation appear on their graduation diploma and resume. This assures future employers that our graduates have the necessary experience, knowledge and skillset in their area of study when they graduate, greatly enhancing their employability.