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Challenges and Opportunities Observed in the Implementation of a New Architectural Engineering Undergraduate Academic Program

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Architectural Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Divisions

Architectural Engineering and Construction Engineering

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Paper Authors


Scott Walbridge P.E. University of Waterloo

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Scott Walbridge has been a professor in the University of Waterloo's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering since 2006. Prior to that, he completed his doctoral studies at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), and his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of Alberta. Between his master's and doctoral studies, he worked as a structural engineering consultant for 2.5 years in Edmonton, Canada. His current research focuses on the design of steel and aluminum structures, with a focus on connection behaviour. He is currently serving as an Associate Editor for the ASCE Journal of Bridge Engineering. He also serves on a number of CSA design code committees, including those for the design of bridges, design of aluminum structures, and design of structural welds. He currently serves as Director for the University of Waterloo's new Architectural Engineering program.

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Rania Al-Hammoud P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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Dr. Al-Hammoud is a Faculty lecturer (Graduate Attributes) in the department of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Al-Hammoud has a passion for teaching where she continuously seeks new technologies to involve students in their learning process. She is actively involved in the Ideas Clinic, a major experiential learning initiative at the University of Waterloo. She is also responsible for developing a process and assessing graduate attributes at the department to target areas for improvement in the curriculum. This resulted in several publications in this educational research areas.
Dr. Al-Hammoud won the "Ameet and Meena Chakma award for exceptional teaching by a student” in 2014 and the "Engineering Society Teaching Award" in 2016 and the "Outstanding Performance Award" in 2018 from University of Waterloo. Her students regard her as an innovative teacher who continuously introduces new ideas to the classroom that increases their engagement.

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In the fall of 2018, a new, first-of-its-kind in Canada architectural engineering undergraduate program was launched. The program features 24 months of compulsory / inclusive coop work experience, along with a series of core studio courses in each of the eight academic terms. Each of these courses will involve the planning and execution of a series of design projects that integrate and put into practice concepts covered in the other courses the students will be taking. For the entire third year of the program, the students will study at an off campus architecture school, where they will work on building design projects alongside architecture students. The curriculum for this new program has an emphasis on “communication, collaboration, and design”. This paper presents an overview of the program curriculum and discusses challenges encountered and lessons learned in the program development and implementation to date. Highlights of the challenges faced include issues such as: attracting students to a new program where there are relatively few current examples to point to (in Canada) of well-established career paths, marketing lower year students of this new program to prospective coop employers, and developing and implementing an academic program that will meet the Canadian professional engineering accreditation requirements while at the same time exposing the students in a sufficient depth to related fields not classically considered to be engineering. While there is limited information available to quantify the success of the program to date, the paper does discuss a promising qualitative assessment of the abilities of the students in this program to be successful in teamwork oriented projects and to deal in creative ways with challenging, open-ended problems. Future plans to address the need to obtain quantifiable measures of success in terms of achieving the desired program outcomes will also be outlined.

Walbridge, S., & Al-Hammoud, R. (2020, June), Challenges and Opportunities Observed in the Implementation of a New Architectural Engineering Undergraduate Academic Program Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34267

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