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Empowering Engineering Students In The Educational Process

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

International CIase Studies: Collabs, Exchanges & Interactions

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.487.1 - 13.487.15



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Paper Authors


Daniel Borrelli McMaster University

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Daniel is a fourth year student in the Mechanical Engineering & Management Program at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON. He is also the McMaster Engineering Society Public Relations Chair, a former Vice-President (Education), and has worked with students from engineering societies across Canada. He has served on numerous
committees in the Faculty of Engineering and the University, including the ENG1 Operating Committee and Undergraduate Council. Daniel has also been a Teaching Assistant in the Eng1 Program for the last 3

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Susan Masten McMaster University

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Susan Masten is the Director of the First Year Engineering program in the Faculty of Engineering at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON. Her responsibilities include supervising staff and instructors in the ENG1 Program, curriculum development, and planning and implementing programs to enhance retention. She is also a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and is a registered professional engineer in the State of Michigan. She has her Ph.D. in environmental engineering from Harvard University and is co-author of the textbook, Principles of Environmental Engineering and Science (McGraw-Hill).

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Empowering Engineering Students in the Educational Process


The educational system in Canada empowers students to become actively involved in the educational process. We will provide numerous examples from our experience at McMaster University, a research-intensive university, located in Hamilton, Ontario. The practices discussed herein are typical of those used at many Canadian universities.

Undergraduate students are actively involved in teaching assistantships, where they accept the responsibility of teaching a tutorial and become intimately involved in the educational process. Students will give up their spare time to help students in need, sometimes voluntarily. Undergrads regularly serve on Faculty committees and provide feedback to administrators, which are always taken seriously and mostly implemented.

Undergraduate engineering schools in Canada are accompanied by successful student- government organizations. These societies provide a wide variety of services to students, through the collection of mandatory membership fees. Student-run executive teams manage million- dollar budgets and maintain financial transparency and accountability through regular meetings and documentation. Business ventures, such as stores, pubs, or coffee houses are popular means of generating additional income to support numerous activities, including engineering design teams, a full-day student-lead design competition, and scholarships for study abroad. In addition, the student-led groups run week-long activities for September orientation. Faculty members take on a collaborative role rather than one of supervisor-subordinate.

Giving students responsibility in and out of the classroom has led to significant participation in the educational process, as well as innovative, responsible, and well-rounded students ready to accept challenges and overcome adversity.


McMaster University is a comprehensive research-intensive university located in Hamilton, Ontario. It prides itself on being student-centered and focused on both undergraduate and graduate education. The Faculty of Engineering was founded 50 years ago and has an enrollment of approximately 2,900 undergraduate students and almost 800 graduate students in over 20 programs.

The Educational Model for Engineering 1 Program

The first year engineering program at McMaster University is common for all students. In this year, students are expected to complete 13 courses: Calculus 1 and 2, Linear Algebra, Physics 1 and 2, Engineering Computing, Engineering Graphics, Chemistry 1, Introductory Materials Science, Engineering Professionalism and Ethics, and two complementary study electives.

Borrelli, D., & Masten, S. (2008, June), Empowering Engineering Students In The Educational Process Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4480

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