A new book commissioned by UNESCO and edited by RMIT academics is set to drive strategic change in engineering education.
Engineering Education: Transformation and Innovation is edited by former RMIT Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Beanland AO, and Professor Roger Hadgraft, formerly of the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering.
The publication is a pioneering study of the ways universities can equip students with the right skills for the future.
Speaking at its launch, Professor Beanland said the book took a systematic look at the current state of engineering education globally and described the changes that it needed to make.
“The position we take is progressive educationally; it is transformational, it is challenging, but it is positive about what can be achieved with a committed professional engineering organisation, committed employers, and a committed university with committed engineering faculty members,” he said.
“I trust that this book clearly highlights what needs to be done and what can be done to transform engineering education, while giving guidance and assistance to university engineering academic staff and management on how it can be done.”
He also tabled a document describing the authors’ vision for engineering education in the future.
As an extensive study of current trends and activities in engineering education, the publication also features 15 invited papers from outstanding contributors in this field.
It examines the importance of student-focused learning and emphasises the importance of the less tangible soft skills, which are essential for graduates to succeed in today’s industry.
Project-based learning and work integrated learning are also highlighted as significant areas that must be capitalised upon through the establishment of strong connections with industry.
Also speaking at the launch was RMIT Chancellor, Dr Ziggy Switkowski AO, who said the University had made a significant mark on the engineering profession.
“RMIT engineering has a long and important heritage in engineering education with a significant impact on industry and community,” he said.
“Around half of all undergraduate engineering education students currently studying in Victoria across higher education and vocational education are enrolled at RMIT.”
Professor Aleksandar Subic, Dean of Engineering at RMIT, said the new publication reflected many strategies and approaches currently being implemented at the University.
“It is quite appropriate for this book to be both published by RMIT and launched at RMIT, due to our strong heritage in engineering education grounded in work integrated learning and project-based learning engaged with industry,” he said.
“We have transformed the engineering curriculum at RMIT to focus on these education paradigms, as the key approaches to developing work-ready graduates that are globally relevant and employable.
“RMIT engineering has truly a global footprint.”
Professor Beanland's significant role as a founder and driver in the establishment of RMIT University Vietnam was recently recognised with the renaming of a building in his honour at the South Saigon campus.
The Beanland Building has been the home of the Master of Engineering, a program recently replaced with a four-year Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronics) degree.