Message from the Dean

Peter Wild, Acting Dean, 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. Read more

Face shields for frontline health workers

UVic Photo Services

A UVic engineering lab has become the hub of a community effort to help protect frontline workers at Island Health. Inside the lab, stacks of medical-grade face shields are being prepared for delivery to the health authority – just one example of how researchers are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

“We all know that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of disposable face masks,” said Stephanie Willerth, who leads the initiative and is director of UVic’s Biomedical Engineering Program. “So being able to use resources and production capacity from within the local community to produce face shields for our healthcare workers is really important.”

As of early May, Willerth’s team, with help from many community partners, had delivered almost 2,000 face shields. The initiative is expected to provide a total of up to 8,000 shields at no cost to Island Health, local doctors and others on the Island.​ Read more

The journey from apprehensive new student to distinguished alumna

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Kirsten Peck left her small hometown with some trepidation to pursue a degree in engineering at the University of Victoria. She didn’t have a lot of money, held a diploma from a high school that hadn’t offered certain key courses, and had never met an engineer.

Yet UVic’s supportive campus, strong academic program and integrated paid co-ops, along with her own talent and hard work, meant she had everything she needed to flourish.

“As a small-town Vernon girl, who didn’t come in with the same education as everyone else, UVic set up a foundation that allowed me to grow into who I was capable of being,” Peck said at the Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony in February.

Not only has Peck excelled in her career since leaving UVic, she has also made a point of staying connected with the campus. Read more

CompSci student plunges into pandemic-related software solution


For Yichun Zhao, helping develop a computer system that ensures people entering BC from outside the country are managing self-isolation was a “wild ride.”

On April 13, the BC Government launched its new internal system, which it developed in collaboration with AOT Technologies, where Zhao has been working on co-op since January. Service BC, which provides frontline support for many provincial services, needed a system that would streamline and track the complicated calling process involved for people returning to BC during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We heard about the project on Wednesday and Service BC needed its new system to go live the following Monday,” said Zhao, who is majoring in Computer Science and Health Information Science. “We didn’t sleep for two or three nights and had 4 a.m. meetings to make sure everything was working properly. It was non-stop.” Read more

Engineering student contributes to national ventilator project

Photo credit: Vladimir Valastiak

When Darian Langeler started his co-op at StarFish Medical in January, he could never have imagined he’d end up working on a crucial, nation-wide project that could benefit thousands of Canadians.

In March, the federal government announced that StarFish, along with other Canadian companies, had been contracted to quickly design, develop and produce 30,000 reliable, cost-effective ventilators in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was totally unexpected – overnight the ventilator project picked up and everyone began devoting a lot of time to it,” said Langeler, a third-year Electrical Engineering student. “They needed extra hands, so I ended up taking on a larger role.” Read more

Newest student team stands strong in San Diego


Though their end-of-year celebration had to be held online, there was no mistaking the passion of students who represented UVic at a recent competition focused on seismic building design.

UVic Seismic – established just six months ago – travelled to San Diego in early March to face off against 45 other undergraduate teams from around the world. The student competition is hosted annually by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) and involves constructing model timber structures designed to withstand vigorous shaking that simulates a major earthquake.

The team of seven Civil Engineering students returned from California shortly before COVID-19 travel restrictions were introduced, likely making them the only UVic Engineering club able to participate in an international competition this year. Read more

Faculty’s expansion plan responds to growing demand


The tremendous growth in our faculty’s enrolment over the past decade and its expected continuation in the years ahead highlight the importance of ensuring that our teaching and research spaces also grow.

UVic’s expansion plans for the faculty, outlined on the Campus Planning website, include a six-storey extension to the existing Engineering and Computer Science building. Prominently located on Ring Road, it will be the first building encountered when one enters campus from the south.

An adjacent two-storey, high-bay structures lab will accommodate the unique work of civil engineers. Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2021 and be completed by 2023. Read more