We are a novel interdisciplinary academic centre seeking to hire a postdoctoral researcher to work with Dr. Govind Gopakumar on his SSHRC (Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council) funded research project, Assembling Infrastructure Decongestion: a pilot investigation of the topology of urban infrastructure transformation. This project will try to comprehend the dynamics of contemporary efforts to decongest clogged and choked infrastructures in Bengaluru, India.
This one-year position (with the possibility of renewal for another year) beginning in September 2012 will be hosted in the Centre for Engineering in Society in the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada. The project will provide the researcher with at least four opportunities to strengthen their research expertise. First, the researcher will develop the capacity to draw upon recent developments in fields such as technology studies, geography, sociology, planning and public policy to conceptualize this project. Second, the researcher will assist in developing a methodologically sound strategy to study processes of decongesting infrastructures. Third, the researcher will implement the methodology through an extended period of fieldwork in India (especially in Bengaluru). Finally, the researcher will co-author conference papers and journal articles to document research findings.
To meet these goals, we seek a candidate who has recently completed (or will complete by August 2012) their Ph.D. in science and technology studies, geography, sociology, planning or public policy with a demonstrated research experience in the social and political aspects of contemporary transformation in urban infrastructures in India. Those interested are encouraged to send a letter of introduction, a statement of research, three letters of recommendation (by email), two writing samples (including a dissertation chapter), and a recently updated resume to Govind Gopakumar (email@example.com) by 10th July 2012. Only electronic applications will be considered. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed. To facilitate seamless relocation, preference will be given to candidates from Canadian universities who are citizens or permanent residents.
Dr. Ketra Schmitt, Assistant Professor in the Centre for Engineering in Society, was recently featured in an in-depth article in the Concordia Journal - the official newspaper of Concordia University. The article, which can be read here, features an in-depth look at Schmitt's fascinating research into factors that contribute to the safety and environmental impact of drinking water.
On April 1, after over six years of service helping to provide engineering, engineering mathematics, and computer science courses common to multiple departments within the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, the General Studies Unit made way for the Centre for Engineering in Society, or CES. CES will have an expanded mission; beyond providing the same services as the General Studies Unit, CES will focus on complementary engineering studies, rhetoric and global engineering. Learn more about CES in these new webpages.
Dr. Ketra Schmitt has been selected to receive an Outstanding Contribution to Student Life Award from the Concordia Council on Student Life. As an Assistant Professor with the Centre for Engineering in Society (formerly the General Studies Unit), she teaches courses on the impacts of technology on society, risk analysis and engineering economics.
Dr. Schmitt says she is honoured to be selected for the award, and she explains that teaching is a reward in and of itself: "for me, the best part of teaching is getting to know so many smart, engaged students, and to expand their field of view to think about the broader applications of their skills."
Operating on the principle that the University is a dynamic, evolving community, the Concordia Council on Student Life is the highest non-academic advisor committee in the University. The Council's Outstanding Contribution Awards are given to Concordia students, staff and faculty who have made an exceptional contribution to student life or services at the university.
The award was presented to Dr. Schmitt during a ceremony held on Thursday, April 7 at 5 pm in the Loyola Chapel.
a talk by Dr. Matthew Harsh
Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes
Arizona State University
Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 2 p.m.
In the face of growing food insecurity, countries in sub-Saharan Africa are increasingly using advanced biotechnologies and genetic modification to develop new crops. Innovation surrounding new and emerging biotechnologies is complicated not only because of technical capacities, but also because of the diversity of organizations and institutions involved with different priorities and strategies. Using a systems of innovation approach, this presentation analyzes several agricultural biotechnology projects in Kenya. It demonstrates that while these projects have facilitated new connections between organizations and new knowledge pathways critical to innovation, the projects result in innovation for its own sake - valuing the process of innovation over the intended benefits, in this case improved livelihoods of farmers. New policy processes and new types of entrepreneurship are needed to incorporate needs and values of farmers into decision making about biotechnology.
Matthew Harsh has a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. As a Marshall Scholar he completed a MS and PhD in Science and Technology Studies at the University of Edinburgh. He is currently a Postdoctoral Associate at the Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes and the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University and the Mentorship Coordinator for the Society for Social Studies of Science. He also co-ordinates a science policy immersion program for graduate students in Washington, DC. Much of his research is about how new and emerging technologies can improve livelihoods in Africa. His current research topics include: civil society involvement in policy making for genetically-modified crops in Kenya; equity implications of nanotechnology applications for water, energy and agri-food in South Africa; engineering education and social entrepreneurship in developing countries; and the effects of political unrest on research and education in Kenya. He is Senior Producer of a documentary about political unrest after the 2007 Kenyan election. His work can be found in Journal of International Development, Science and Public Policy, and Development and Change.
Thursday, March 3,
11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
As part of the Engineering Week Lunch and Learn series, the GSU presented a talk on Innovative Pathways in Global Engineering Education.Engineering education that attempts to engage closely with different dimensions of a globalizing society with features such as complex risk-benefit trade-offs, water quality issues, and international responses to conflict. This session provided students with a snapshot of some innovative and interdisciplinary research conducted by graduate and undergraduate students in the General Studies Unit.
Thursday, February 17
1 - 2 p.m.
Abstract In many of their foundation courses our students solve well- and pre-defined problems. Unfortunately, problems such as these rarely occur in professional practice. Our graduates may also find themselves stereotyped, either as fungible commodities or as engineers disconnected from the social systems they both inhabit and design. To be successful, our future graduates must bring a unique, individual, and socially aware perspective to their identification, framing, and solution of complex problems.
Cities, especially those with a rich multicultural history, provide an ideal environment in which students can learn about, and practice, engineering design. Such cities are simultaneously easily accessible and almost infinitely complex, house a varied and continually evolving mix of stakeholders, and cannot be understood without integrating multiple disciplines and perspectives.
This talk will discuss how a city-based, student-driven design project has prompted first year students to explore their beliefs about the nature and practice of engineering design. The project has provided students the opportunity to share their visions with a broad audience including their professors, city representatives, and the media, all while challenging the students' and their instructors' understanding of what it means to be a citizen and a unique engineer.
Biosketch Jason Foster is the Senior Lecturer in Engineering Design Education in the Division of Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. His formal training was in Systems Design Engineering, and he has worked as a professional software developer and corporate software trainer. Jason returned to the academy to focus on understanding and improving undergraduate engineering design education. His teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of systems, design, and education. In the classroom, Jason focuses on helping his students (re)define their own beliefs about, and approaches to, the practice of engineering design. Key to Jason's pedagogical approach is making students responsible for finding and framing the engineering problems that they will then solve. He further requires that the problems they identify come from a focused, critical, and multi-perspective exploration of their surroundings.
Jason's work has been presented at conferences include the American Society for Engineering Education and Engineering Education for Sustainable Development, and he has enjoyed bridging the engineering design and liberal studies communities at those gatherings and at his home institution.
Dr. Robert Danisch
Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science
Centre for Technology, Innovation, and Society (GSU)
Monday, November 29, 2010
This talk explored the contours of engineering ethics, offering both a historical explanation of engineering ethics, and an argument for a new way to think about the link between ethics and engineering. It answered the historical question, "In what ways has a concern for ethics been incorporated into the development of the profession of engineering in the past?" as well as the prospective question, "What might the future of the relationship be-tween ethics and engineering look like? The historical account involves the development of professional guilds at the beginning of the twentieth century, the articulation of a code meant to insure working engineers were acting virtuously, and a century riddled with ex-amples of destruction, danger, and death aided and abetted by technological advance. The argument advanced assumes that ethics can be taught to engineers as a matter of de-liberation and communication, and that instruction in these practices improves the moral character of the student. The code of ethics, which was intended to guide engineers practice in earlier decades, is no longer enough to guide engineering practice in the twenty-first century.
Download the slides associated with this talk.
Dr. Brian Frank
Director of Program Development, Faculty of Engineering & Applied Science
Friday February 4
10 - 11 a.m.
Room EV 001.162
Significant forces are impacting engineering education due to globalization, pressure within the engineering profession, and in higher education. Recommendations from engineering bodies, international groups, and the learning sciences are pushing engineering programs to offer a greater variety of learning experiences. This talk discussed these forces and approaches taken to implement these ideas within undergraduate engineering programs.
Brian Frank is an associate professor in electrical engineering, and the DuPont Canada Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development. He is coordinating the Engineering Graduate Attribute Development Project sponsored by the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science. His educational interests are in complex problem solving, assessment, and educational technology.
Download the slides associated with this talk.