An ever-changing world needs ever-evolving engineers – and Smith Engineering continues to amplify its ability to train students to tackle complex global challenges.

Some faculty members are putting that philosophy into action, with educators visiting key sites around the globe to see how other engineering schools are encouraging critical thought and cross-disciplinary approaches to their educational offerings.

One such visit, led by Mechanical and Materials Engineering head Keith Pilkey and Dupont Canada Chair in Engineering Education Research and Development Brian Frank, took some professors to Denmark and Aalborg University on September 21.

Like Queen’s, Aalborg University this year is in the worldwide top ten of the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings, which assess how universities are advancing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals locally. Aalborg University is ranked 11th on the Best Global Universities by U.S. News and renowned globally for educational program quality. Already well known for using problem-based learning to develop outstanding graduates, the engineering school at Aalborg has developed LeadENG, interdisciplinary problem-based experiences where students work in a team in their own program with other teams containing students from other years and other programs.

“By working on the project, you gain a special understanding of your own discipline seen in the context of related areas,” says the university. “This ability is in demand when the industry delivers sustainable and interdisciplinary solutions to society's major challenges, across disciplines and industries.”

“The faculty wide emphasis on problem-based learning palpably brings the world into the classroom,” says Brian Frank. “They have a great connection to alumni, who provide industrially relevant problems embedded throughout their program. These problems provide realistic contexts and are great motivation for students. Aalborg is continuing to evolve delivery, expanding emphasis on the UN SDGs and multidisciplinary experiences.”

“It was exciting to visit a school with such a passion for excellence in education and sustainable development. Queen's is already known for its experiential offerings, including a world-class internship program and an incredibly broad range of internationally competing design teams,” says Dean Kevin Deluzio, part of the group visiting Aalborg. “It’s gratifying to see other top-ranked universities around the world with similar goals, and to continue to reciprocally improve what we offer by collaborating with some of the world’s best schools.”




This article is relevant to the following Strategic Actions as defined in the Strategic Plan: