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A few words from the Dean

January 7, 2014 — 

This issue of What’s News in Engineering highlights the increasing participation of women in engineering programs.

Just a generation ago, when I was an undergraduate student, a female student in an engineering class was a rare sight, but today at the University of Manitoba 19% of engineering students are female. This is real progress, but there is so much further to go. The vision for the Faculty of Engineering is a student body more reflective of societal diversity especially with respect to gender balance, First Nations, Métis and Inuit participation. The Faculty of Engineering has established the Engineering Access Program to assist First Nations, Métis and Inuit Canadians with the transition to engineering studies, and the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Kid-Netic Energy program takes engineering directly to school rooms and communities throughout Manitoba reaching more than 20,000 youth each year. These programs and other activities, such as Engineering IS For Girls, give the Faculty of Engineering a leadership position in attracting underrepresented groups to engineering and more is planned. Attracting a diversity of students is obviously good for the individuals that benefit from the opportunity to study engineering, but it is good for all students as it helps bring new perspectives to all students and new ideas as to how to solve problems. As the engineering profession contributes to solving the big issues faced by our society by using our engineering knowledge for the benefit of society and to create new wealth, the diversity of ideas created by a diversity of perspectives of everyone in the profession will be needed.

Driving toward greater diversity within the Faculty of Engineering is just one of the strategic goals that will help the Faculty fulfil its overall vision of providing engineering programs equal to best available anywhere globally; we are transitioning from offering first-class engineering programs to best-in-class engineering programs.

Jonathan Beddoes, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Dean of Engineering

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