Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Heads of Schools Meeting

Today from 10am to 3pm,  John Power (DG),  Denis McGrath (Registrar) and myself hosted a meeting to which all heads of engineering schools nationwide,  both from Universities and Institutes of Technology,  were invited to discuss deeper co-ordination and co-operation between us all.

Despite the poor travelling conditions,  and a national public sector strike,  we had representatives from the Institutes of Technology of Carlow, Sligo and Tallaght; and from Dublin City University,  NUI Maynooth,  University College Dublin, University College Cork, and the University of Limerick.

After introductions,  John Power and I took the opportunity to brief the meeting on changes to our membership rules,  including for level 7,  cognate degrees and the requirement from 2013 for Masters level achievement as the normal route to Chartered Engineer;  also on the rising profile of the profession in the media and amongst policies makers;  revisions to our code of ethics;  and finally on work on regulation and licensing of the profession.

We then had an extensive - an intensive - discussion on a range of topics.   These included promotion of the profession to students,  parents and career counsellors;  the challenges of leaving certificate mathematics,  including the "project maths" initiative;  the role of volunteering in teaching,  both at third but also second level;  the opportunities for co-operation on structured PhD programmes;  the implications to the third level sector of the membership rule changes for Engineers Ireland;  support from Engineers Ireland in access to practising Engineers as role models;  presentation opportunities by Officers from Engineers Ireland at graduation ceremonies;  the Young Engineers Society within the third level institutes,  and the role of "champions";  continued professional development for academic engineering staff;  the role of Chartered Engineering status amongst academic engineering staff;  and the influence of Engineers Ireland on third level policy decisions.

A number of specific suggestions and actions arose,  which will be circulated to those attending in due course.

Further meetings are planned,  at approximately six month intervals.

Overall,  the meeting provided a wonderful opportunity for greater co-operation amongst the engineering schools themselves,  with Engineers Ireland,  and the engineering profession.

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