Message from the dean

Peter Wild, Acting Dean, UVic Faculty of Engineering

It’s both reassuring and inspiring that our faculty continues to bustle with activity during this challenging time.

Although the physical campus is quiet, our Engineering and Computer Science students, faculty and staff – along with many partners in the wider community – are continuing to carry out core activities related to education, innovation and research in inventive and effective ways.

As you may know, in mid-March, all face-to-face classes were swiftly moved to digital platforms for the balance of the Spring term. The decision was also taken to move Summer session classes, which started May 4, to remote delivery. This has been a challenging transition but, thanks to the tremendous efforts of our staff, faculty and students, we are now in full online delivery mode.

While most research labs have closed, a number of our faculty members have received special permission to remain open because their work relates specifically to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, our Biomedical Engineering program has been at the forefront of an initiative to deliver up to 8,000 face shields to Island Health, local doctors and others on the Island, while one of our Civil Engineering faculty members is working with the Chemistry Department to produce hundreds of litres of hand sanitizer for use by frontline health workers.

As you’ll learn from stories in this newsletter, our outstanding students are also rising to the challenge, through co-op terms, team activities and their ongoing commitment to education.

There’s a great deal to be proud of in this faculty, where engineering and computer science are being applied in practical, innovative ways to create high-impact solutions to global challenges – right now and over the longer term.

I realize there are also difficulties and disappointments being experienced within our faculty – graduating students who must forgo or defer celebrations; teams that have missed annual competitions; researchers whose work has been curtailed; and all of us who miss seeing each other in person and working side by side on campus.

Some of our students, who had hoped to have co-op work this summer, have had to make other plans given the current job market. UVic is temporarily adjusting some co-op policies to help students and employers continue to participate in co-op. In addition, funding and flexible work options have been made available to encourage employers to hire students.

Through this period, we want to stay in touch with you – our alumni, partners and larger community. For that reason, we plan to provide shorter but more frequent e-newsletters in the months ahead, as we navigate our way through these challenging times and work to create a strong, sustainable and healthy future.