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Dr. Marcia Friesen standing, smiling and posting for the camera in front of the E I T C - S P C sky walk. On the silver skywalk in black letters it reads "Price Faculty of Engineering. Marcia is wearing a blue dress. She is outside on a sunny day with a full bike rack in the background.

An eagerly awaited welcome

September 6, 2022 — 

 

Friends, students, and colleagues,

As I write this, I am eagerly awaiting September 6, 2022. On that morning, hundreds of students will find their way to the main level atrium in the Price Faculty of Engineering’s facilities to take part in EngO, an orientation planned by our student society UMES and supported by our faculty & staff.  After several ‘false starts’ for in-person orientations that were derailed by new Covid-19 waves in Fall 2021 and Winter 2022, we are much more confident of this upcoming event and indeed, of the Fall term ahead. 

The Price Faculty of Engineering returned to largely in-person classes, tutorials, and labs as of February 28, 2022. UMES jumped in whole-heartedly, facilitating everything from lunch-hour samosa sales to a triple-cohort grad dinner & dance last Spring.  In early Summer, our extra-curricular design competition teams returned to many in-person competitions, getting the squeak out of the wheels (sometimes literally) of this important part of the student experience.

But this September feels like the real thing.  Across the UM campus, in-person teaching & learning is going ahead and we’re looking forward to some combination of “back to normal” and “new normal”. That is to say, I’ve seen all corners of our Price Faculty of Engineering planning and preparing for Fall term while feeling more prepared with the contingency plans we have honed over the past 2-1/2 years.

We’re paying special attention to those cohorts who have not been on campus in any substantial way during the pandemic.  These are second- and third-year students whom we want to support in everything from finding your way around the building and finding the people whom you’ve only seen online so far. So much of an engineering degree is the company you keep to get through the late night study sessions and exam crams, and of course the social events.  Our students and staff are planning the opportunities to build these connections. 

We have also seen strong support for our Co-op/Internship Program as in-person work is returning. Co-op and internships connect the classroom to the workplace, clarify career intentions, and build networks for our students, and we’re very grateful to our practice community for these critical experiences you provide to students.  The Co-op/Internship Program also plans weekly Monday Night H.I.R.E.D. (networking & recruitment) events and a Reverse Career Fair. Contact us for more information on how to get involved! 

It’s an exciting time in the Price Faculty of Engineering. Some spaces are being refreshed including an update to the furniture in our engineering library. We’re embarking on an undergraduate enrolment increase, and with that, re-envisioning recruitment and outreach. Five new faculty members started with us over the summer months, and four searches are underway including a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation. In the coming year, we’ve partnered with two other Faculties in an Entrepreneurial Thinking elective for undergraduate students, and we are developing our own Engineering Leadership micro-credential. We’re finding new ways to highlight our innovative researchers. We’re expanding Indigenous Knowledge in our programs through the thoughtful efforts of faculty members and Indigenous partners, and we’re re-imagining how our IEEQ Program can support newcomers to Canada in professional integration.

Our students are at the forefront. They drive us toward equity, inclusion, new ideas, and new ways to think of engineering and an engineering education. They are creative, curious, and driven. They remind us of our mission to offer excellent programs, generate impactful research, and build deep partnerships with our community for Canada to grow and thrive in an ever-changing world.  To learn more and engage with us, please reach me at Dean [dot] PriceEng [at] UManitoba [dot] ca.  I look forward to the year ahead! 

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