UNSW academic Dr Carl Reidsema has received a $220,000 grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council to investigate possible reforms of the way engineering is taught in the nation's universities.
Australian engineering faculties face numerous challenges: a new generation of students less willing to accept traditional lecture-based education; large numbers of "baby boomer" engineering educators nearing retirement; and increasing demand from industry for work-ready graduates.
Dr Reidsema, from UNSW's School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, is leading research involving UNSW, the University of Melbourne, Queensland University of Technology and the University of Sydney, aimed at identifying how to change Australia's engineering education to meet the needs of industry and students.
Dr Reidsema said the traditional model of engineering education in Australia "requires renewal" - with a move away from theory-heavy lectures towards teaching fundamentals and professional competencies through design-centred projects. Dr Reidsema led the creation of the UNSW Faculty of Engineering's first year Design and Innovation subject - a course introduced in response to industry feedback.
"We've got to rethink how we educate students," he said.
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