University of Toronto

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

Academic Plan –Year One: Progress and Achievements

Academic Plan Report 2012 image

In 2011, following a collaborative and intense two-year planning exercise, the Faculty approved the Academic Plan; a living document which guides our strategic activities for the five-year period ending in 2016.

The planning process commenced with the creation of the 2009 Self-Study, a reflective and critical self-assessment of the Faculty’s academic and administrative performance over the preceding five years. The Self-Study served as the primary resource document for a team of distinguished external reviewers who assessed the overall quality of the Faculty in May 2010. In addition to reaffirming the high quality of our educational, research and administrative activities, the External Review report made recommendations to address current and future challenges, and identified opportunities to advance our academic excellence.

To provide leadership and guidance to the planning exercise, an Academic Plan Steering Committee was formed, and actively consulted with Faculty stakeholders to identify emerging strategic themes and cross-Faculty synergies. The culmination of the Self-Study, the External Review, and the work of the Steering Committee converged on seven key themes:
  1. Culture of Excellence
  2. Positioning
  3. Educating Future Engineers1
  4. Student Experience
  5. Research Foci
  6. Outreach, Collaboration and Influence
  7. Resource Allocation
These themes form the central goals of the Academic Plan. Assigned within each theme area are specific actions which support our ambitious, yet achievable goals. We actively monitor these actions to ensure progress is measured, setbacks are addressed and opportunities are seized. As we move into the second year of the Academic Plan, it is important to acknowledge our collective progress and achievements, and also to reiterate the goals set for the coming years.

Download the Academic Plan –Year One: Progress and Achievements.

1 Due to the symbiotic nature of Educating Future Engineers (3) and Student Experience (4), we have combined these themes.

Culture of Excellence

Download the full progress report on Culture of Excellence.

Fostering a culture of excellence at all levels of the Faculty is fundamental to our success. When we are recognized for leading and achieving excellence in our teaching, scholarly and administrative work, we raise the visibility of the Faculty and inspire the pursuit of excellence in our students, colleagues and peers. The 2012 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) ranked us at number 13, six places higher than last year, and we continue to be the leading Canadian Engineering School in all major international rankings. Our strong international reputation influences our ability to recruit diverse and talented students and educators. International undergraduate and graduate students account for 20 per cent of our total enrolment and the number of women entering our first year undergraduate programs continues to rise. In the 2012-13 academic year, we will welcome four excellent women faculty members, raising our percentage of tenured and tenure-stream women from 15.1 per cent to 16.4 per cent – the highest it has been in the history of the Faculty. 


Download the full progress report on Positioning.

The profound impact of our research and teaching extends beyond the laboratory and classroom. By generating the knowledge and innovation to help solve complex global problems, we contribute to the intellectual, social and economic status of Canada. The ability to effectively communicate our achievements to many diverse audiences is essential if we are to maintain our prominent reputation and grow our influence. At both the Faculty and departmental level we actively promote stories about our educational and research mission as we seek not only to inform but to build and foster partnerships with industry, government and peer institutions.

Educating Future Engineers and Student Experience

Download the full progress report on Educating Future Engineers and Student Experience.

Delivering the highest quality education and experience to our students is a central part of our mission. Our goal is to provide students with broad exposure to advanced engineering concepts in addition to the practical experience that will prepare them to become successful global engineers. The Faculty has established a set of global objectives and learning goals that feature the key competencies our graduating students will need in order to pursue rewarding and meaningful careers.  These objectives and goals will also inform our decisions on changes to our curriculum. We have created new minors, certificates, and a multidisciplinary capstone course, and have facilitated an increased number of opportunities for undergraduate research, summer internships, international placements, and studying abroad. Enrolment in our graduate programs is at an all-time high. Our MEng students have doubled in size over the past six years, and we now have a total enrolment of 1,952 graduate students, with a goal of 2,000 by 2015. In an effort to improve the access to and delivery of our MEng program, we created MEng-specific courses, and are offering some on evenings, weekends and online to accommodate the large number of working professionals seeking to enrich their education.

Research Foci

Download the full progress report on Research Foci.

As a school recognized as a leader in advanced engineering research, we aspire to expand our global reach and impact. To support multidisciplinary and collaborative initiatives that align with our strategic research themes, we established three new Extra-Departmental Units (EDUs) to serve as the homes for these significant undertakings. This year we also established the new Research Leader Award, which recognizes and rewards leadership in major interdisciplinary research projects, industrial partnerships and multiple investigator initiatives. We increased our number of Canada Research Chairs and Industrial Research Chairs, and our research funding remains very strong, up by 24 per cent from the previous year. We also created a new position, Director of Corporate Partnerships, whose mandate is to proactively engage our industry partners, and identify opportunities for building new relationships in support of our research and advancement goals.

Outreach, Collaboration and Influence

Download the full progress report on Outreach, Collaboration and Influence.

Our outreach, collaboration and influence activities enable us to strengthen our ability to recruit outstanding faculty and students; cultivate and sustain relationships with alumni, donors and volunteers; and ultimately enhance the reputation of the Faculty. Our goals include assessing pre-university activities, and developing and solidifying partnerships with other U of T Faculties, industry, alumni, and peer institutions in Canada and around the world. This year, we established the Master of Engineering in Cities Engineering and Management, a collaborative initiative across U of T. It includes an internship component which will allow students to work with industry, government agencies, or academia in addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems as they relate to urban environments.

Resource Allocation

Download the full progress report on Resource Allocation.

A pressing resource issue for the Faculty is the shortage of quality space for our wide-ranging activities.  This year, we have been successful in adding more than 2,000 NASMs of new space in addition to improving existing areas within our Engineering buildings through renovation and facilities upgrades. We are also thrilled to have been allocated the parking lot between Simcoe Hall and St George Street on which to build our new Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CEIE). We launched a $200 million fundraising campaign, and have already raised over $80 million towards this goal. Through our collective efforts, the Boundless campaign will have a broad impact across the Faculty by generating funds towards endowed chairs and professorships, graduate fellowships, undergraduate student aid, our new building, other capital projects and research support.

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35 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario • M5S 1A4 • Canada
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