San Francisco, California, USA
London, United Kingdom
Dr. Roger Hadgraft
BE(Hons), MEngSc, DipCompSc, PhD
There is a pressing need to graduate new kinds of engineers. These engineers must be competent across four domains – the traditional technical domain of engineering as well as the economic, the environmental and the social/political.
So, you might say, what's changed? Engineers have been dealing with the technical and the economic for the last 5,000 years. However, it wasn't until the 70s and 80s that the environmental domain became an issue. We solved that problem by educating 'environmental engineers', so most branches of engineering simply pretended that it wasn't their problem. In the 21st century, the social dimension is transforming engineering. Will we create 'social engineers' or will we wait for other professions to define the problem for us so that we can bring our technical skills to bear? Will engineering move beyond the technical/economic?
We need different kinds of curricula that allow students to integrate their understanding across the four domains. Teaching these skills in isolation leads to isolated thinking. We already have quite a lot of experience in introducing students to complex problem solving in first year through the Engineers Without Borders Challenge in Australia, and now in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. However, years 2 and 3 are often given over to technical matters and many, perhaps most, students complete final year almost entirely focussed on technical skills. This does not graduate engineers ready for work in the 21st century.
Curricula need to combine the complexity of practice with the fundamentals of the supporting sciences in every year and every semester. This engages students through experiential learning where they see the role of theory in helping them act as better problem solvers. These complex problems will naturally include the four domains discussed above – not necessarily every problem but at least half of them. Students need to learn that engineering is about dealing with complexity and much of the complexity emerges from the social domain.
Dr. Roger Hadgraft is Innovation Professor in Engineering Education in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering at RMIT University. He is a civil engineer with 20 years involvement in leading change in engineering education, with a particular focus on problem/project-based learning (PBL), at RMIT, Monash and Melbourne Universities. Roger is an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Discipline Scholar in Engineering and ICT, having co-developed the draft national academic standards for the discipline. He is currently Program Director for the Bachelor of Sustainable Systems Engineering and also works on curriculum issues across the College of Science, Engineering and Health at RMIT. He is a passionate advocate of national and international cooperation in engineering education, particularly the sharing of best-practice learning materials.
FREE TO ATTEND
Dinner after the lecture with the speaker and committee (optional & at own cost).
When & Where
Royal Aeronautical Society - Melbourne Branch
The world's only professional body dedicated to the entire aerospace community. Established in 1866 to further the art, science and engineering of aeronautics, the Society has been at the forefront of aerospace ever since.