for Collaborative Engineering Design Education

Transforming the way engineering design is taught at UNB while helping companies and local governments in Atlantic Canada obtain innovative design solutions is what Michel Couturier, the Chair for Collaborative Engineering Design Education, aims to do.  Teaching engineering design has typically not been the primary focus of engineering education in Canada.  During the past 40 years, it was largely left to companies to provide this training; however, an increasing number of companies are seeking engineering graduates who are ‘job-ready’. For this reason, accreditation bodies, scientific councils and the business community are calling for deep changes in engineering education.  According to these groups, engineering curricula must continue to provide strong scientific training but must also emphasize the development of business, design, communication and teamwork skills. 

The specific objectives of the chair are to produce engineering graduates who are recognized by employers for their design abilities; to provide students with the opportunity to work under the guidance of practicing design engineers; to be an engine for the local economy by working on industry-sponsored projects; and to disseminate the design work of our students to the greater community by organizing an annual design conference.

Since joining UNB in 1984 as a chemical engineering professor, Dr. Couturier has taught several design courses, has worked with many companies on a wide range of design projects and has held several leadership positions in which he has been a strong advocate for design education.  While Chair of the Chemical Engineering Department (1995-00), Associate Dean (2000-08, 2009-10) and Acting Dean of the Faculty of Engineering (2008-09), he has convincingly argued the need for change in design education and successfully guided curriculum reforms.

The Chair will contribute to innovation at UNB by guiding the implementation of a stronger design curriculum in our nine engineering programs, by working collaboratively with the Chair in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship to develop the business and project management skills of the students, and by providing the opportunity for all faculty to receive indirect training in best design practices. The Chair’s activities will also contribute to the economy through collaboration and outreach, by having outside clients involved with all senior design projects and by having all design projects co-mentored by a practicing design engineer.


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