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Message to applicants from Dean Puri regarding the fallMay 27, 2020

A message to applicants from Dean Ishwar K. Puri regarding the fall semester.

Hello McMaster Engineering Class of 2024/2025;

Congratulations on your offer of admission to McMaster Engineering at one of Canada’s top universities!

At McMaster Engineering, we call ourselves the Fireball Family. It exemplifies our close-knit community, which supports each other through a spirit of collaboration and comraderie

This week, McMaster announced that classes for the entire fall term will be moved online. The health of our students and staff is our top priority and the university wanted to provide as much clarity and certainty as possible for students even in these uncertain and changing times.

For first year students, this means no lectures or labs will be offered in person.

But I can say with confidence that McMaster Engineering will be ready for the fall. We are a faculty that is resilient, quick to adapt and ready to meet the challenges ahead.

To achieve this, we have already taken several steps to ensure our students and faculty members receive the support and guidance they need both this summer and into the fall:

  • We are committed to offering high quality online content. Our professors and instructors are working with experts in teaching and learning at McMaster’s MacPherson Institute to ensure we offer the best virtual lectures possible this fall. While we have a history of teaching innovation and success, we will continue to offer workshops on the latest online skills to faculty.
  • Our new first year engineering program, which is project-based, was designed from the start to have an option to teach students through virtual labs. We are working closely with an educational company, Quanser to offer a high-fidelity interactive lab experience, the latest innovation in engineering labs. For each project, you'll work remotely with your team to create solutions to a challenge in autonomous vehicles, renewable technology, healthcare, sustainability and more, from brainstorming a design to creating prototypes using robotics.
  • We have created a new virtual course for incoming students: EMBER. To be launched in August, the free Engineering Mentorship & Bridging Education Program (non-credit) will be offered to students entering their first year of Engineering, Bachelor of Technology, Computer Science and Integrated Biomedical Engineering and Health Sciences programs to help set them up for academic (math, physics, chemistry) and social success. Registration opens on June 8.
  • Our academic advising team will continue to offer virtual support and guidance to our students throughout this transition to full-time online learning. We are steadfast in upholding our first-year student success rates which have consistently been the highest in Canada. You will also be assigned a mentor, through the University’s Archway program, who will guide and support you through your first year.
  • Our co-op team will also be offering virtual support to students in seeking their flexible work terms, and to offer professional skills development, including an online pre-co-op prep course (non-credit) for all students in their first year of studies. We will continue to offer a range of events with employers and career building-focused sessions throughout the fall.
  • We are working with our clubs and teams to launch virtual experiences this fall. We’re partnering with the McMaster Engineering Society to develop new ways to engage students.
  • We understand that students must continue to learn by doing. In June, we are running a virtual MacChangers change-a-thon, which is open to all current and incoming students to address COVID-19 challenges. As well, we have moved our undergraduate summer research program online, providing opportunities to our students to gain skills of inquiry. We are dedicated to supporting those of you who have received Engineering Research Experience Awards for 2021.
  • An engineering-based task force is developing a plan for how best to open labs and other spaces when the time comes, keeping student safety paramount. 

Our focus is on making the fall 2020 term an amazing experience.  It would be premature to try to make decisions about the Winter 2021 term.  This will be determined this fall and we are committed to continue communicating with you so you are well-informed and aware of any developments.

We know you probably have some questions and we hope to address all of these in the coming weeks. We are collecting answers here.

While COVID-19 poses challenges, it also presents opportunities for resiliency and innovation. I am proud of the research our faculty and student-researchers have done and continue to do to address and help overcome the pandemic.

McMaster Engineering has a history of teaching and learning innovation from the classroom to cyberspace, from creating free open-source courses to using virtual reality to explain complex problems to students.

We are one Fireball Family united in this. We will come together as a community, as we always do, to meet this challenge.

Your MacEng journey begins now. I look forward to welcoming you this Fall.

 Warmest Regards,

Ishwar K. Puri, Dean of Engineering