Golden years of civil and structural engineering
2017 marks 50 years of teaching civil and structural engineering at UTS (originally the NSW Institute of Technology) – and a milestone anniversary is always a key moment for celebration and reflection!!
Alan Brady, an alum from that first Engineering cohort, collaborated with the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering to bring together alumni, previous and current staff, HDR and PhD students.
A host of alumni returned to UTS – some for the first time to Building 11 – to celebrate, commemorate, catch up and chat about study, work and how some things change (a lot) and others stay the same!
“Many of our UTS/NSWIT alumni are leaders in their field – real captains of industry! They have had an impact on our environment, on major building projects throughout Australia, and overseas.” said Alan.
“Recognition of their achievements is both local and international, from regular appearances on Engineers Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers to public honours.”
Greg McTaggart (Bachelor of Civil Engineering, 1981) is the latest to be recognised, awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2017 Australia Day Honours for outstanding contribution to maintenance and conservation of the Sydney Opera House. He attended the 50th anniversary event with his son Stuart – also a UTS engineering graduate!
Learning and teaching changes
From the ‘chalk and talk’ model familiar up to the late 1980s to more collaborative and innovative ‘flipped’ learning and even remote access to laboratories for real-time experiments, models of teaching and learning reflect change in both pedagogics and technology.
Some on-site teaching facilities are relocating as the original purpose-built underground labs in building 2 have made way for a new 16 storey hub for cross-faculty research, and will be replaced by a new testing facility to be opened later this year.
Research focus growth
From the early days of NSWIT/ UTS, the majority of staff were highly experienced and qualified practitioners, though few had higher degrees.
“Our practice-based focus was ideal for the evolution of our strong research culture. Many key appointments of outstanding researchers over the years have ensured the Faculty’s place in driving UTS research success,” said Professor Ian Burnett, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and IT.
“As a leading engineering research institution, we are continually expanding our already extensive research networks with individuals, universities and research institutions around the world. Fox example, in December we signed an agreement with Shanghai University to establish a new Joint Engineering and Innovation Institute, based in Shanghai, focusing on engineering and innovation research, teaching and engagement.”
The student cohort of 2017 is quite different to 1967!
“Back then, most students were cadets or sponsored by their employers,” says Alan.
There are now a lot more of them and more study full-time; they come from many places, and the gender balance in engineering is addressed through programs and activities led by UTS’ pioneering Women in Engineering and IT (WiEIT).
In 1967, the first student intake was capped at 90 per year, compared to 400 today, and while the first international student came in 1980, since the course changed in 1998 there has been a significant increase in students from across the globe. And domestic students have more opportunities for international study, with 55 from FEIT on global exchange last year.
How we recruit is changing too: our new animation video takes a prospective student through all she might do with UTS engineering experience…
Somethings haven’t changed however! UTS has always enjoyed strong industry links, and now has 1000+ connections giving our students access to industry leaders and innovators.
“What began being recorded by entries on A4 pages in a work record book has expanded to practical hands-on learning with two six-month internships leading to a Diploma in Professional Engineering Practice. UTS graduates are highly sought after in a competitive market, and many continue with their placement companies while they finish their degrees, and begin their professional careers,” said Alan.
To get started in a career in engineering at any level: