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SCHOOL CONNECTION

Freshman year off to good start

By Nick Candiotto
Toronto Sun


In the language of its students, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology is first-year. "Our newness is definitely an advantage," says Marc Rosen, dean of the School of Manufacturing Engineering. "It allows us to put resources into what we choose, meaning we are not bound by traditions of the past -- we are focused on new technology."

That focus is evident in the faculty's program additions for the 2004-05 academic year -- a unique combination of academic instruction, leading-edge research and hands-on skills.

The mechanical engineering program will now have three pathways: traditional, energy engineering and a mechatronics option. As the name would suggest, the traditional program is the mechanical engineering course offered at many other universities. The other two program options have been added to meet industry demands.

"A perfect example of the need for the energy engineering stream is the summer's electricity crisis and blackout," Rosen says. "But it continues with issues like the deregulation of electricity and the numerous environmental concerns."

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology's third mechanical engineering program -- the mechatronics program -- will be the first of its kind in Ontario.

"Simply put, the program will examine the integration of mechanical systems with electronics and the use of an intelligent controller to activate the entire thing," Rosen explains.

Examples of mechatronic technology include airbag systems and anti-lock brakes. In both cases, a computer is the continuous monitor that deploys the mechanical device when it becomes necessary. The more traditional mechatronic example is robotics.

The university also addresses the needs of industries beyond the scope of traditional engineering. A hybrid program offered in conjunction with the School of Business and Information Technology, the Bachelor of Engineering and Management program extends the school's four-year programs in mechanical and manufacturing engineering to five-year programs offering business management courses.

"The program is the school's response to the dire need for engineers who aren't just technological wizards," Rosen says. "It produces engineers who are also suited to managerial roles."

In 2004, the school will also add an energy systems engineering program -- the first of its kind in Ontario.

"More than half of our programs are unique," Rosen adds. "That is by design. As a career-oriented, market-driven school, our mandate is to offer unique programs that still meet market needs."

Unique extends to the fully networked campus accessed via laptop. In fact, the school is just the second laptop university in Canada.

"All our students get a school laptop loaded with the software they need," Rosen notes. "Students bring the computer in each year to be refreshed with new software and the computers themselves are replaced every second year."

As a career-oriented school, the University of Ontario Institute of Technology also offers an engineering internship program -- a 12-16 month work option. Students entering the program are not only paid prevailing wages, they can also put up to one year of the work experience towards their licensing requirements. But the program is not just beneficial for students.

"Any time we speak to a company about the program, they are very excited about the prospect of having a pre-engineer working with them," Rosen says. "I know they'll be hiring our graduates."

For more information, including complete program listings, visit the school on the Web at www.uoit.ca or call them toll-free at 1-866-844-8468 or 905-721-3190.



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